It was a clean sweep for the Holden Women’s Cycling Team at the National Capital Tour. We had a strong team leading into the tour with Jenelle back after her accident O/S, Jess Pratt (guest rider from QLD), Jo and Ruth. We were privileged to come away with Teams Classification, Sprinters / QOM Jersey, Young Riders Classification and the Yellow Jersey. But it was anything but easy!
The First Stage presented to us was a 17km Time Trial around Canberra’s spectacular lake Burley Griffin. I had been working hard on my time trialing and was hoping for a better result than last year where I got lost on the course. (A quick thanks to Margie for lending me her Cervelo TT bike… But let’s just say I would have gone faster on a Specialized.)
Before I knew it stage one was over and I had made some friends from ASADA. This was my first time being drug-tested and I was quickly whisked away to meet some people from ASADA and was informed of the relatively quick/ straight-forward process… Unless your name is Ellen Skerritt and your bladder decides to instantly shut down. Two bottles of water and a few laps of the bathroom later – an hour had passed and I had finally done it. I was told for next time I should create a ‘Waterfall Soundtrack’ (I am open to all suggestions). During this time I had no idea what the results were until I saw a text from mum saying, ‘OMG you won the TT!’ I was just as surprised!
Coming into Stage Two I had a nice lead and with the ‘wowza’ hill (8km Climb) finishing off a 120km stage I was pretty confident I could make up more time. So I played the waiting game and focused on staying fresh and my nutrition to ensure I had the legs. The team worked very hard to keep the bunch together and when it came to punch Ruth had better legs and took the win. I was very happy to take second and maintain the Yellow Jersey.
Stage three was an 80km Kermesse that consisted of a fast 20km-circuit. This was probably my favourite stage because my teammates kept the race under full-control by setting the pace high and covering attacks. Which made my job easy: Sit in and stay fresh for the afternoon stage and eat a bucket-load of muesli bars!
The final stage was a 40lap criterium in front of Parliament House. It was a technical course and definitely a race of positioning. It was on from the gun and I found myself in a working break of three from the initial lap. This was so not the plan. By the time we reached the 20th lap our break diminished down to just Allison Rice (Suzuki/ Brumbies) and I. Slowly we were getting reeled back by the main peloton until Ruth bridged across in a huge effort and gave us the extra power we needed to stay away and nearly lap the field! With my legs feeling good I attacked with a lap to go and won the final stage solo.
I am very grateful to take the National Capital Tour as my first NRS tour win but it was only achieved through the hard work of the entire Holden team – Jo, Jenelle, Jess and Ruth. We all backed each other 1000% to place Holden and Ruth at the top of the NRS GC standings. Mwah!
To finish off a quick thanks to my support network that helped me take the next step up in NRS and move into 2nd on overall standings! A big thank you to Jules (our team manager) for another well-organized tour… Can’t wait for the next one! Specialized, Seight Custom Clothing, Ride Mechanic, Premax, MB Coaching and Revive Ashgrove for their ongoing support.
Keep an eye out for the next update!