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!
Blog #3 – My first NRS win…
… and I couldn’t be more ecstatic to be able to share the win of the inaugural Amy’s Otway Classic with my teammate Ruth Corset.
The day began with a rude awakening at 4.30am for an early race start of 7.30am. As we packed the car in the dark, the atmosphere was a little dreary – the team was still half asleep and struggling from a lack of sleep the night before. This had to change ASAP. As Team DJ/ Social Coordinator, I have taken on the responsibility to ensure everyone is “geed” and ready to go before the race begins. I urgently put on some beats and the mood began to rise.
As we drove to Lorne along the Great Ocean Road, the sun started to rise over the clear pristine water- it was truly picturesque. Conditions couldn’t of been more perfect. And if my beats weren’t motivating enough… than the scenery on the way to Lorne definitely was.
For the first 40km of the race our aim was to keep the bunch together before the 10km climb. Serene and Jo ensured nothing got away and as we turned onto Skenes Creek Road the peleton remained together as we began to climb. I waited until the gradient became steeper to launch my attack. Bam! I attacked the peleton but everone had followed. Fail. I questioned myself, “Where is this inner sprinter!?”. Could be helpful right now.
After recovering for a minute or so I decided on attack number 2. But I still didn’t get away. Now I was thinking, “I really need to work on this sprinting stuff”. I took another minute to recover and said to myself, “Ok. One last time to get away”. I kicked out of an early switchback and finally managed to create a decent gap. After working fairly hard for a couple of minutes I turned around to see Ruth bridging across to join me. I slowed up to try to recuperate and mentally prepare myself to realllllly hurt. And yes it did.
By the time Ruth and I reached the top of the climb we had a time gap of 2 minutes. The course remained undulating for the next 20km or so and we were able to extend our lead to 3 minutes. We found ourselves maintaining a good steady rhythm and kept pushing on, increasing our lead to 5 minutes. With a few minutes up our sleeves Ruth and I were able to enjoy the last kilometre and share the win – hand in hand. I was also really happy to take QOM and Sprinters Jersey.
Ruth worked extremely hard for me and I definitely couldn’t of done it without her. I have always admired Ruth’s tenacious style of racing and I have learnt a profound amount of knowledge from her. Another quick “Thank You!” to the Teamies for giving there all for me.. It was without doubt a team effort and a team win.
Next up on the NRS calendar is National Capital Tour on the 19th to 21st of September… So keep an eye out for my next update. I’m pretty GEED!
Blog #2 – The Comeback
It was a long and steady process getting back into the routine of training and once again life became a balancing act of – uni, work, training. What.Is.Life. Brew time slowly turned into K’s time. And before I knew it – I was a month out from Tour of Murray and I couldn’t of been keener (That’s a word yeah?).
After having missed the first half of the racing year, I was itching to get started… And first on the National Road Series (NRS) calendar for me was Tour of Murray River. This was my comeback race. I wasn’t sure how I was going to achieve this considering it was a ‘sprinters tour’ but I was going to find my ‘inner sprinter’ and bring it!
It was a solid weekend of racing with the first stage presenting very strong winds. Suddenly trying not to get blown off my bike became a serious concern. After about 60km there was a lull in the main peloton and I took the opportunity to bridge across to the break, which consisted of Kendelle Hodges (VIS) and Alex Nicholls (Suzuki- Brumbies). Unfortunately I did not find my ‘inner sprinter’ this day but ended up with Second and Most Aggressive. For my first race back I was very happy to take Second Overall on GC and the Young Riders Classification.
This gave me the confidence I needed coming into the next round of NRS, which was Sam Miranda Tour of King Valley – or otherwise known as the land of wine. The nature of these races suited me a bit better and I was particularly keen to perform on the 6km dirt climb otherwise known as the “Strade Nero”. I was successful in being aggressive and helping my teammate, Ruth Corset, maintain Overall Third Position on GC and come away with the Young Riders Classification for myself.
I am very eager to keep the ball rolling and finish the season strong… Sooo you may be thinking – “What’s Next?” … Next up for the Holden Women’s Cycling Team is the next round of NRS- Amy’s Otway which will consist of Jemma, Ruth, Serene, Jo and Myself and following this will be National Capital Tour in Canberra.
Also if anyone has a short but effective motto I can put on my handlebars – I’m all ears! I’m currently searching for one for Amy’s Otway. And FYM is soooo last tour.
The Ride of my Life…
I would like to start off by saying a quick “Thank You!” for checking out my blog. This blog will be based on life, my sporting journey and anything out of the ordinary that may come up along the way. If this sounds somewhat interesting then please read on and stay tuned into the ride of my life… 🙂
After a difficult 2013 of racing competitively, with continual setbacks due to my deteriorating health … The beginning of 2014 did not present a much brighter future. After countless doctors appointments I discovered I had ‘Post Viral Fatigue’ and was advised to take time off the bike and racing. My body had given up on me and I was ready to give up my dream of racing. I couldn’t bare the thought of going through another year of persistent illness. So after resigning myself to the fact that I would have to slow my dreams down, visualizing my year ahead was proving a difficult task … A lack of direction left me feeling slightly lost – what do I do now?
After taking a much-needed holiday overseas, I reassessed my options and through the support of my parents and my coach Marcel (MB Coaching) decided to give it ‘another shot’. However, in order to move forward I had to go backwards, which began with missing the Australian National Championships (This almost felt like the end of the world … Almost).
After returning from holidays I was again left with space and spare time in my life. With encouragement from my mum I decided to focus on university and started a Bachelor Degree in Exercise & Sport Science. Along with study my priorities also included getting on top of my health and doing normal human-being kind of stuff like – have a social life! With my health starting to return, it was at this time I was given the opportunity to be sponsored by the Women’s Holden Cycling Team. The future felt promising and I was motivated more than ever to start racing again.
A couple of months of just enjoying life and riding without pressure had left me starting to feel like my old self … Actually I started to feel better than my old self. I felt great. I had more energy, and as training increased, I felt like I was coping. My passion and love of riding began to return. Being sick for so long had made me appreciate what was taken away from me … It brought back that desire, and with it a clear direction of what I wanted once again. I craved to get back into racing competitively and I was out to prove to myself I could do it.