Tuesday, 30 December 2008


Well, I'm alive. I made the drive to Bendigo on a single stop to empty my bladder, fill up the car and check that my un-insured vehicle was still in one piece :) The following afternoon I drove across to Maryborough for the second day of the Victorian Christmas Track Carnivals, setting up camp with the remnants of 'team love' (pictured r-l) in Livia, Apryl and a new addition, Chloe McConville. With men and women recieving the same number of races and exact same prize money (for all bar handicaps) through the five day series, it was a week of racing I felt obliged to support. I began to regret my decision after three hours seated in such a dust bowl, enduring soaring temperatures, waiting for the ambulance to be moved from the track after a nasty crash, when I had raced a mere 'one-lap dash'...

I stuck it out to race two 12-lap points scores comprising 4 sprints each, with the first one part of the Godfrey Family Omnium series. After rolling through for second in the first sprint, I went on the attack taking Shannon McCurley with me. Chloe bridged after the second sprint and Jess Griffiths made contact after I had claimed maximum points in the third. By now the chasing bunch had been blown to pieces and many had pulled out altogether, proof that 9 laps can cause a bit of damage! I took the win on 14 points, Shan second on 11 and Jess claimed third after taking a flyer in the final sprint. The two races were almost held in succession, permitting the second to be a sprint-recover match. My endurance held up for another win with Jess and Shannon reversing earlier positions.

I woke up with good legs the following morning, suffering a severe case of dehydration and sports-bra sunburn for another long day in Maryborough. First up were qualifying heats for a 2 lap sprint derby that saw me finish second to Annette (Nettie) Edmondson (SASI) in the final. Next was an 8 lap scratch race that would normally favour the sprinters, but minimal rest between events allowed me to roll Nettie in the home straight for another win in the Godfrey Family Omnium series. When the all important handicap finally arrived only two back markers remained...Shan and I. It had been a massive task in the heats to qualify, resulting in the loss of all scratch markers and a never ending chase in the final. After finishing second to Sam Wood (WAIS) in another scratch race, I was out to make amends in the Madison (video).

Last year in the women's madison hang-slings were not permitted, a simple touch on the back indicated a change. This year, after spending the morning in practice, all 14 participants went to Laurie Norris with the confidence that we could in fact perform a decent and safe madison change...and slings were allowed :) I was partnered with a very nervous Chloe (pictured above in HP-Teschner kit), who was surprisingly calmed by my 20 minutes of life madison experience. We practiced some changes pre-race and discussed our tactics...to lap the field. Although Shan/Jess stole the first attack of the race, we can lay claim to taking the first lap. It didn't take long for the race to split and become a time trial for all involved, and as if one lap wasn't enough, we went on to lap the remnants on the field four times, and the minor podium places twice! Quite a debut performance :)

Results: Central Goldfields Track Carnival, Day 1
Results: Central Goldfields Track Carnival, Day 2

Saturday, 27 December 2008


After pre-Christmas celebrations in Bendigo on Sunday, I was on a 6am train back to Traralgon to receive my first Christmas present…from me :) I missed my train, settled for the second which was running late, and as a result missed my transfer in Melbourne. By the time I made it home I was over an hour late to my driving lesson, which would in turn proceed to my driving test in an attempt to get my licence, albeit 2 years overdue… My Buzz Box Driving School instructor is coincidentally an avid cyclist, which certainly helped when it came to disposing of my bike for two hours. I was nervous to the point of sweating when I began my test, knowing what impatient mothers of four are like in their 4WD’s three days before Christmas. I spoke choice words during the deeds of attempting to drive while in park…and speeding in a 60km/hr zone, but these faults seemingly went unnoticed on my final test result of 100%! Which now means I have my licence!

Although my best present this year came from myself :P (its hard to beat the freedom of driving), I’d go as far to say that I had the best Christmas ever! But I’m pretty sure I say that every year. I was spoilt from my parents as per usual, and after spoiling oneself with presents I went on to spoil my Christmas lunch at Nan & Pop’s with pancakes for breakfast, pre-treats on arrival in Maffra, and followed up with after-treats before returning home. Five minutes of cricket (pictured) did little to burn off the calories I consumed! Then continuing on with the spoiling theme, I took full advantage of 8hours of boxing day sales! So, I now have my licence, a car (bought from my parents this morning), and Christmas Track Carnival racing to attend to in Western Victoria…so alas, I am about to depart for my first solo driving experience…on highways, through Melbourne, totalling 4hours in duration during the silly season. Let’s pray my parents aren’t purchasing ‘touched by the road toll’ stickers in the morning…

Sunday, 21 December 2008


After the cancellation of Scotty’s Track Race, I was grateful that the fourth edition of the Revolution Track Series was to be run indoors at Hisense Arena. Although not a full house, the ambience was, as always, electric inside the track with the big names of cycling fronting to race. I rode alongside HP-Teschner team-mates Rochelle and Tiff (pictured) in the impressive women‘s field, with the aim of being aggressive through the night. A fast paced scratch race made attacks difficult and despite having surprisingly good legs following efforts the day prior, I still seem to be lacking that top end speed, resulting in 6th in a bunch sprint. Our 30 lap points score was pure madness, with a sprint every 5 laps! I competed in four of the sprints, claiming the minor points in each to give me 3rd in the final tally for what was an extremely anaerobic workout. It was unbelievably torturous but fun all the same.

A late night rolled into an early morning and I found myself at the media launch of the Jayco Bay Classic Criterium Series in Williamstown. I woke up to rain, and realised that my attire of white pants and a thin top perhaps wasn’t the best choice I’ve ever made. After a small introduction and interview session I noticed how much of an underdog I was at these proceedings. With the likes of Robbie McEwen, Graeme Brown, Baden Cooke and Simon Gerrans I certainly felt out of place. For entertainment purposes, race organiser John Trevorrow had prearranged for paddle boat races to take place at the docks, for what turned out to be a very competitive and all-contact sport! I was partnered with my favourite professional cyclist Matt Wilson, and was determined not to let him down. A methodical approach to the race saw us run away paddle boat champions! My greatest victory to date :)

After defeating Simon Gerrans and Graeme Brown on the water, it was time to hit up the 52km Bendigo Christmas Road Handicap today. I started as a middle marker in a group of 10, which quickly dwindled as some struggled with the pace, and another dropped off the back when hit by a kangaroo! By the end of the first of two laps I was following the lead car, swapping off with 6 guys in a bunch of 20. The group splintered over the final climb and was headed by a break of 9 when the scratch mark chasers finally came into view. With 300m to go the catch was made and in similar fashion to the Bendigo Club Madison, I finished 2nd to Jarrod Moroni. Pizza and drinks during presentations were a prelude to ‘a drink or 50’ at the Bendigo Christmas get-together this afternoon. Christmas will be spent at home this year…breakfast in Traralgon, lunch with the family in Maffra, and an early date with my bed that night.

Results: Revolution Cycling Series, Race 4, Vodaphone Arena, Melbourne

* Image 1 courtesy of Dan Peters Photography
* Image 2 courtesy of Fyxomatosis Photography

Monday, 15 December 2008


After waking up feeling sore and sorry following my crash in the madison, and doubting the weather would hold up, I chose not to venture to Shepparton for Scotty’s Ride with the Stars. But even multiple downpours of rain couldn’t dampen the spirits of the many who did show to honour the memory of Big Sexy. I had expected to be in Shepparton that afternoon, but rain managed to flood the local velodrome resulting in a cancellation of the much anticipated Scotty’s Track Night. So it was a day trip to the annual Scotty People’s race the following morning and as if Scotty was looking down on us, the heavens opened to provide us with howling wind and sunshine. If I didn’t know any better I’d say Scotty had prayed for those conditions himself…he loved it hard and he would be laughing at my subsequent tan lines.

Even if I had broken my arm in my madison crash…not starting still wasn't an option, even then Scotty would have told me to harden up! So I ignored my small insignificant injuries and fronted on the line. As soon as the neutral flag was dropped, the attacks were thrown down and the race was very deeply in the gutter. Being a female, I was caught in conversation at the back of the bunch and would presume that it was a long way to the front. Unfortunately I never made it that far, so I can't verify that statement, with the field of 200 being split into 7 groups before the 20 minute mark. I made fourth bunch and would have fallen further back if not for the help of Matt Jensen and fellow CCCC member Craig Porter. As the only female in my bunch, I was able to savour my victory and as you’d presume, think of Big Sexy. Zak Dempster took the men’s title in aggressive fashion, a result and race that Scotty would have loved to have been a part of.

For a second I thought that I had made it through the day without crying until I saw Scotty's mother Wendy after presentations. Conversation didn’t last long before the tears started to flow and all of a sudden I realised that nothing really needs to be said about Scotty, we all know how special he was and still is to those who were fortunate enough to meet him. So with my arms around such a strong minded woman I reflected on his infectious laughter in silence. I loved and respected that boy, and respect held for Scotty was obvious when the entire men’s podium donated their winning cheques straight back to the developing Scotty People’s Foundation. Although it doesn’t help to bring him back, he would be at ease to know that after his passing, he was still making a difference in this world.

Results: Scotty People’s Memorial Race, Shepparton, 120kms

Friday, 12 December 2008


As summer approaches, the weather turns foul and the solitary training begins. Solitary training means time at home, and time at home means social outings. In the past week I’ve celebrated Cathy’s massage graduation, Sammy’s going away (for two weeks to QLD) and the Traralgon races. But celebrations are aside now and it’s time for me to don my helmet (to cover my ‘top deck’ look after putting some colour through my hair) and get back into racing. After three weeks away from the track bike, my coach Scott McGrory had no trouble convincing me to trek to Bendigo for their local track racing, doubling as their club madison championships. My legs felt great during the night, giving me 2nd in the B grade scratch race and 3rd in the Men’s handicap. Clearly I suffered when given the task of a standing start, finishing where I had started in the women’s handicap…last! lol

It was then on to the madison and Scott had come down from the hospital (despite the birth of his newborn Leilani) to give me a few pointers prior to race start. I was partnered with Peter Ladd in a pink jersey, and nervous as hell about my ability to perform a correct hand sling despite pre-race practice with Kess Jelbart. I missed my first change, and came in wayyy too slow on my initial attempt. Had it not been for the guys continuously reminding me to stay above the wheel and keep both eyes open, I would have crashed earlier than 10 minutes in! I wasn’t thinking ahead and found myself caught under the wheel, behind a change. As predicted, I ran up the arse of Tim Decker and bought myself down :( Following a quick recovery I don’t remember much of the race. Jarrod Moroni towed sprint specialist Damien Keirl through the race for a convincing win, and I lost second on a count back to Mark O’Brien and partner. I even won sprint points…which came as a surprise considering I never even heard the bell ring!

Tuesday, 25 November 2008


My first World Cup experience will definitely not be my last, because there is no way that I am leaving my track return on such a disappointing note. With a huge contingent of women competing in the Melbourne World Cup (video), I was forced to race out qualifying heats for both my scratch race and points score debuts, where entrants are split into two races, with 12 of 20 girls proceeding through to the finals from each heat. I was nervous leading into my two scheduled qualifying races, never for a second underestimating the difficulty of qualifying for a World Cup final on such little training and experience. I failed miserably, finishing 16th in the scratch and 14th in the points. After having had my first taste of European track racing, I am hungry for another bite in Beijing come January.

But prior to Beijing, in fact the day after World Cup racing, I was focused on the Victorian Omnium Championships (video). It is a points based system comprising five events, where the competitor with the lowest accumulative tally at the conclusion of racing is titled the winner. With no offence to my competitors, it was a step down in standards from World Cup and allowed me to enjoy and experiment with racing. I rode high pressures and the same gear all day, afraid of what might happen to my newly manicured nails had I attempted to play with tools! First up, the 200m flying (pictured above) and a third place, an event where I sprint as hard as I can and still feel like I haven't done anything when the effort is over. This was followed by a relatively slow 5km Scratch Race and another third placing.

My first win came in the 2km Individual Pursuit. Not riding to a schedule or having a coach track-side were two new things for me, but coming from a pursuit background allowed me to cruise to victory. With two events remaining, I had now taken over from early leader Hannah Bush and Chloe McConville by a single point, feeling better as the day wore on. Perhaps my best ride of the championships came in the 10km Points Score, after a rough initial sprint that became a little heated aggravated me enough to go on the attack and take a lap with Hannah and Chloe in tow. In the process, I took out the three remaining sprints, forgetting to keep some in reserve for the final event. Luckily a fourth place in the 500m Time Trial was enough to guarantee me victory (11) over Hannah (14) and Chloe (17) (pictured above).

After a long day at the track, it was time to frock up for the Australian Cyclist of the Year Awards (recipients), and it wouldn't be my life without a story behind the night so here goes! My Mum forgot my dress, so I searched Melbourne frantically for a friend with a fancy wardrobe (god hail Chloe). I missed my hair and make-up appointment, opting for straight hair that I then knotted up with a trial hair-spray (making it look like I hadn’t taken the time to brush it). I broke the strap on my heel, and after using my teeth eventually got it into satisfactory walking condition (hobbling). I arrived at the awards night one hour late (pictured above with Rochelle), missed entrĂ©e, inhaled my steak, stole Anna Meares’ dessert and spent a lot of time consuming free wine that was passing straight through me. My excuse? I celebrate every win :)

Results: World Cup, 5km Scratch Race, Qualifying Heat
Results: World Cup, 10km Scratch Race, Final
Results: World Cup, 10km Points Score, Qualifying Heat
Results: World Cup, 20km Points Score, Final
Results: Victorian Omnium Championships

Wednesday, 19 November 2008


So the track season has begun for me and I must admit it was in a less than desirable way. Despite very much looking the part for the week of the 2009 Oceania Track Championships, the results didn’t come in quite the fashion I had hoped for the team. After being stung $100 excess (thanks to Virgin) at Melbourne airport, I landed in Adelaide to be greeted by team-mates Rochelle Gilmore, Tiffany Cromwell and staff member Michael Hardy, who had put his life on hold to be at our beck and call during the championships. After heading to Glenelg and sitting through hair and make up (courtesy of Colour Cosmetica), we sported our new HP-Teschner kit for a photo shoot with Dan Peters Photography. A heat wave had hit Adelaide for the day, so after a few poses we relished a short dip in the water (pictured below with Rochelle, bottom with Tiff) before being reminded that we were cyclists…here to race.

I’m not used to pedalling continuously and I’m not used to pedalling fast. Combine these factors with a new Teschner bike (HOT) and lack of preparation and it’s no surprise that I started the week on struggle street. Rochelle had returned home from Europe only a few days prior, and Tiff hadn‘t touched a track bike since early 2006, so our tactic was simply to find our race legs. Thursday night saw us line up for the 20km Points Score final, where I became totally lost in the first sprint and found myself struggling with the speed. Rochelle managed to claim points in the second sprint, and moved into 4th after I led out the third sprint. As the race became aggressive, we became stronger, and after winning the fifth sprint we were warned for collusion. Rochelle took out the sixth sprint and would have taken the lead, but was instead disqualified for detouring onto the blue band! I was soo angry and almost pulled out in protest, instead I rolled in for 11th.

The following day saw us complete the 10km Scratch Race. I tried to be active and even found myself off the front for a few laps, but still I felt lost on the track. With six laps to go seven NZL’ers took the lead, but that didn’t stop Laura McCaughey (TIS) from taking a flyer and as a result, the win. Rochelle found herself boxed in with five laps to go finishing 7th, while I rolled in for 9th and Tiff 12th. My final race of the championships was the Omnium, consisting of five events in the one day and based on an accumulative points system. Despite being warned for collusion during the week, I was out to help Rochelle (who withdrew from the final event feeling fatigued) and get some extra racing in. My best result was, not surprisingly, 2nd in the 2km Individual Pursuit (above), which helped me to finish 6th overall from 13 starters. Racing is no doubt faster and more exciting than I remember, bringing an aspect of fun to competition.

When the session had concluded on Saturday night, I didn’t have the energy to eat dinner, let alone a meet and greet with track friends I hadn’t seen in years. Instead, I packed my bags and on Sunday morning, flew back to Melbourne to prepare for another week of suitcase living, accommodated in the Mecure hotel on Swanston Street. On arrival in Melbourne Rochelle and I met up with my Mum for an evening outing to the Rocky Horror Show. What better way to clear the head than to watch men…dressed as women, running around in heels doing the ‘time-warp’? It’s safe to say I loved the performance! But now, after a forced week of rest and recovery, I look ahead to my first ever Track World Cup. A scratch race and a point’s score later it will all be over. As a road rider, it’s hard to conceive how so much time and energy can go into something that lasts a whole of 7 minutes!

Results: 20km Points Score
Results: 10km Scratch Race
Results: 5-event Omnium

Tuesday, 4 November 2008


For those of you that don't read cyclingnews (team launch: scroll to last item), and for those I am yet to catch up with since my return to Australia...newsflash...I am back on the track! It has been a long time coming since the disappointment of claiming third at the Junior World Track Championships in 2006, and two years of hesitation finally sees me making that step forward. I will be riding as a member of the newly formed UCI Track Team HP-Teschner, and am scheduled to race events ranging from the Revolution Series to World Cup races. Dicker Data takes on the role as our main sponsor, while Teschner Technologies Group (TTG) are on board as our principal equipment partner. With the assistance of High 5 Nutrition and Oakley eyewear, there is no doubt I have the means to a way of success this season!

Last week I had my first track session in over two years, and as I expected, it hurt! I am in LOVE with my new full-carbon monocoque 'Teschner Track Pro' bike, and can't wait to ride their new carbon wheel sets in two weeks, where I will be competing in the Oceania Track Cycling Championships in Adelaide. From here, I will fly back to Melbourne to race the boards with the best of them in the second round of the World Cup. It will be a tough ask to be back in peak racing form for these races, but I will do my best to help out fellow Australian team-mate Rochelle Gilmore. I had lost all love for the track, but I believe that with the help of Scott McGrory as head VIS track coach, I can find that love again and rip up the boards this season! :) For those headed to the Melbourne Cup today (pictured above at Traralgon Ladies day with Sharmayne, Angie and Skye), I hope you pick a winner!

Monday, 20 October 2008


It took me a solid week to recover from University Games, proof that my introduction back into racing had hurt more than anticipated. I spent my recovery week wisely, working with Vic Roads on their helmet safety initiative program for October bike safety month. I visited 10 local schools and spoke to over 2000 kids, convincing them on the importance of wearing a helmet. If gory videos didn't get through to them, my spiel on Amy Gillett and her 5 injured team-mates surely did. You only need to save one child's life to make it worthwhile =) Coincidentally, the Amy Gillett Cup was to be run the following week. Comprised of three races and held in conjunction with the Jayco Herald Sun Tour, it commemorates the death of Amy Gillett who passed in 2005 in a serious road accident. I recently participated in the TWC Calendar, who's profits will go toward the Amy Gillett Foundation.

Sunday presented 20 female starters with a challenging 2.1km circuit around Traralgon which included the dreaded Kay Street climb. As if 20 hill repeats wasn't enough, strong winds and temperatures in the 30's certainly were, making the conditions well suited to early pace setter Sarah Kent (Team Plan B). Four laps in however, it was Chloe McConville (CCCC Elite) who took the reins after a series of attacks and split the field. A break of four comprising Kendelle Hodges (UNO), Sinead Noonan (SASI), McConville and I resulted, but it took the likes of youngster Jess Griffiths (NSWIS) to bridge across for our 10 second gap to push out past the minute barrier. After Noonan lost contact we suffered as a team to stay away, until given the 2 to go when I chose to tackle the race solo. No reaction from the chasers saw me ride to victory in front of a home town crowd! (Pictured above and below with my Mum). Griffiths claimed a strong second with McConville third.

From here I found myself on tour with the Jayco Herald Sun crew as a marshal, aka a 'muppet'. Initially, standing on a corner in a fluro vest, wearing orange arm warmers all day and having to skip lunch didn't appeal to me, but I grew to love the muppets (pictured below atop Mount Buller) and reminded myself that my volunteer work accounted for outcomes in my fitness course at Swinburne =) I roomed with the only other female marshal Sam Jelbart (pictured bottom on tour), who kept my head screwed on for me when I headed into race 2 of the Amy Gillett Cup well underdone. Aside from a bout of football and cricket, while staying at a Christian camp with the muppets, I had done very little to prepare for the 16km ascent up Mount Buller on the Thursday. So to say I was nervous is an understatement.

The race from Mansfield to Buller, at a distance of 47kms, was tackled by 25 women. It was a unanimous decision for the pace to be sedated until we hit the base of the climb where I represented in a break of 7. While Katherine Riddoch (Albury/Wodonga) rode the front, Lisa Jacobs (CCCC) waited for an opportunity to attack. After 12kms of climbing she finally did just that, with only Sarah Kent (Team Plan B), Rebecca Locke (Coburg CC) and Myfanny Galloway (Canberra CC) able to follow. As the gradient stepped up in the final 2kms, Locke and Galloway were fighting out what looked like a tight battle until Galloway cruised to victory in the final 500mtrs. Less than a minute separated the top 5 with Kent holding on for third, Jacobs fourth and myself fifth. As members of the initial break, Tory Thomas (VIS) and Kath O'Shea (MTBA) finished 6th and 7th respectively.

I was leading the Amy Gillett Cup going into the final day of racing at Lygon Street, sceptical about retaining it against an impressive field of 35, in front of hundreds of spectators lining the 2km circuit for what would be the finale to the Jayco Herald Sun Tour. I was looking for a breakaway to succeed, and after relentless attacks into a strong headwind and again down a technical back straight, the elastic band finally snapped. Chloe McConville (CCCC Elite) was responsible for the initiation, with Lisa Jacobs (CCCC) Kath O'Shea (MTBA), race favourite Belinda Goss (TIS) and I jumping on board. A break of five was driven by the work of three, as Jacobs and O'Shea chose to sit in for the win. As karma has it, Goss easily claimed the sprint victory with Chloe second and myself third. I worked hard, felt strong, and am pleased with my current form. I return to Traralgon as home town hero and Amy Gillett Cup winner =) Watch home video footage here!

Results: Amy Gillett Cup Race 1, Traralgon Criterium, 30min +3laps
Results: Amy Gillett Cup Race 2, Mansfield - Mt Buller, 47kms
Results: Amy Gillett Cup Race 3, Lygon Street Criterium, 40min + 3laps

Photo 1 courtesy of PixWeb Cycling

Sunday, 5 October 2008


I love family. I love friends. I love food. I’m aussie. So what better way to spend a Saturday afternoon than celebrating the 2008 AFL Grand Final?! (Pictured below with my younger sister Kerry). I wasn’t aware of what teams were playing until the opening bounce, and I’ll be honest…I didn’t actually see much of the game, but I had a great time and it was good to get my head away from cycling and out of the books. It may come as a surprise to some, but when I’m at home, I actually study full-time at Swinburne University. I am completing a Certificate IV in Fitness to complement my Certificate IV in Massage, and thanks to the VIS, I am able to study via correspondence and complete my course while travelling with the AIS in Europe. I'm postponing off-season celebrations until the year is done and assignments are in!

I am yet to miss the regularity of donning lycra in the morning and racing every weekend, which means that my time-off was much needed, and has now been cut short. After 19 days away from the sport, small bouts of cross-training and many consecutive days of being unable to walk, it was time to get back on the bike (pictured below). I ventured to bikesports in Melbourne where I picked up my new T-Cube Bianchi on Friday, had it built up on Saturday, and gave it a test run on Sunday. The sudden urgency in getting back into training was prompted by none other than the University Games, to be staged over 5 days in Melbourne. As the sole representative from Swinburne University, I felt obliged to participate in recognition of the support that Gavin Mooney has given me through the year.

It was an epic journey to Lancefield on Monday to kick off the cycling program with a scheduled 90km road race. After discussions with Laurie Norris (being bribed below by Livia), the race was cut to two laps of an undulating 30km circuit, with the first attack of the day 10kms in belonging to Jacinta Collier (Vic Uni). A counter by Clare McKechnie (La Trobe Uni) saw a break of 6 quickly form. For the 40kms to come, Angeline Papajcsik (Griffith Uni QLD) would be the aggressor, yet unable to shake the trio from Melbourne Uni in Lisa Friend, Chloe McConville and Madeleine Oldfield. As the race wore on, my whole body pain became greater and a final attack with 10kms remaining saw Chloe off the front, soloing her way to victory. I was in no state to chase, happily finishing third behind interstater Angeline.

After suffering through the road race, it was hard to find motivation to front for the Time Trial on Thursday. I hate them at the best of times, so when I ran away with the win by 1 minute it was more than a surprise! Gold for Swinburne Uni! :) Friday signified the final day of racing, and I had woken with stuffed sinuses, sore legs, and regret for having confidence in form that clearly wasn't there. The crit course incorporated a short climb, an early break, and an even shorter sprint. I led into the final corner and was overhauled by both girls before the line, Angeline taking her first win for the Games. This gave me second in the overall classification, and a bit of form to take into my next few races. What better way to cap off my week than a hit out at Glenvale? As if Uni Games wasn't enough...

Results: University Games Road Race, Lancefield, 60kms
Results: University Games Individual Time Trial, Kew Blvd, 24kms
Results: University Games Criterium, Yarra Bend, 30mins + 3laps
Results: University Games Overall Classification

Tuesday, 23 September 2008


I weighed my 33.8kg bag in at Milan airport at 5:30am on September 12th. I boarded a bus, that took me to a plane, that flew me to Rome at 1:40pm. Upon landing, I skipped past the transfer’s desk to retrieve my bag, that never arrived, only to discover it had been checked through to Melbourne. This meant that I had to check in again! I originally lined up behind 50 Asians heading to China, then found my line to Kuala Lumpur, and headed off to duty free to occupy my 5 hour stopover. My first flight was without hiccup, maybe due to the lady sitting to my left and her continuous prayers about the fate of our plane. For my second flight, I was seated next to two little blonde girls with the most infectious smiles, wishing I was already home so as to sport one of my own :)

I missed home. I missed my family. I missed work and believe it or not...study. I missed being greeted in English, opposed to one of the many foreign languages in Europe. I missed radio and talkback, in comparison to reading subtitles on Italian TV. I missed having a whole cupboard of clothing to choose from, rather than a suitcase full of lycra (after all I am a girl). I missed falling asleep to the tic-toc of my wall clock instead of the sound of Italian horns outside my bedroom window. And what I missed the most? The colour and comfort of my own room, decorated with photos and memories of my life so far. And after returning from Europe, it seems I have almost run out of wall space for such memories! (Old memories: Twin & I above. Me, Lisa & Angie below)

It has taken me a week to get used to home. I no longer have to cook every meal for myself, and when I do, I have to remind myself that I can use more than one element at a time without the power cutting out (as is the case in Castronno). Washing was off bounds for a few days, until I had collected three baskets full of dirty clothes, forcing my Mum to tackle the problem. And I had to back away from our rubbish bins, because I was getting angry at the sight of paper and plastic in the same bin, only to realise it was the recyclables (we have 5 categorised bins in Italy where paper and plastic are seperate). So as my Mum takes on domestic duties, my Dad adopts a new project in recognition of my inconsistent blogging techniques. To keep up to date with results before the official blog is posted, visit my website.

Monday, 8 September 2008


When I wrote my last blog I was quite a happy girl, because I thought that in my final week I would be thinking of three things: shopping, home and a small one day race in Switzerland. When Carlee and I went shopping in Milan (pictured), we bought nothing. When I thought of home, it only made me miss it more. And when I found out that our 'small' one-dayer had turned into a category 1.1, racing our Teschner's on carbon wheels, with Shayne Bannon (AIS head coach) directing...I felt sick. After feeling sick, I actually became sick, suffering a head cold that would see me placed in quarantine for the remainder of my stay. Quarantine, according to Wikipedia, is the voluntary or compulsory isolation of something considered dangerous that requires containment. So I headed into my final European race labeled a 'disease', but that was the least of my weekend wars.

I woke up in a classy hotel :) on a fold out couch :( in Switzerland :) to the sound of rain on the window pane :(. I had an upset stomach, it was that 'time of month' and I couldn't breath out of my left nostril. After attending a buffet breakfast followed by a buffet lunch, the skies cleared and the decision was made to ride the 4kms to the race. As soon as we departed the hotel (pictured), it began pissing with rain and we arrived at race start, with 1.5 hours to spare, absolutely soaked. To warm the muscles, I decided on a pre-race leg massage, where I finally realised that I had forgotten to shave my legs. To warm us up, a combination of goanna oil and deep heat were combined, and within minutes my legs started to freeze! I thought the feeling would pass, but goosebumps turned into pins in needles, which turned into a stabbing pain while riding. I was FREEZING!

Alcohol wipes didn't ease the pain, and toweling off the excess oil made no difference. So after pinning my numbers on my long sleeve, I fronted on the start line sporting a short sleeve jersey, a long sleeve and a wind vest...and I was still cold! With teeth chattering, we rolled off the start line, and then the sun came out. In between covering attacks, I was folding the wind vest into the back pocket and rolling up my long sleeve jersey. Not all hope was lost...as soon as we hit the first categorised climb I was able to discard some clothing to Shayne, while I fought my way through the convoy :( I suffered through one lap doing what I could for the team (which was extremely little), and left the hard work up to Carlee, Tiff and Nikki Egyed. Turns out I didn't require the race food I had conveniently forgotten to put in my jersey pockets, because I ended with a DNF.

Clearly my head wasn't in it today, because when I returned to the start area to shower... communally...I did so in the mens showers. I didn't realise this until later, which proves that my German is poor...and the fact that nobody walked in on me was my only stroke of luck for the day! Then karma kicked in... Note to self: Never ever, ever again, towel deep heat off your legs prior to a race, and proceed to wipe yourself down with the same towel post race! My face, and entire body for that fact, was burning for multiple hours after the incident...some mistakes you'll never make twice. The girls rode well. We missed the lead break of five that saw Bronzini run away with yet another win, but had Nikki bridge to the chase bunch of seven and finish eighth on the day. Carlee had her first communal shower experience, while Leonie boycotted her drug testing (hard to perform considering shes in a different country!).

I have finished my race season! Well, technically I didn't actually 'finish' it, but you all get the gist. I will be back home in 4 days, 8 hours and 3 minutes...1 week and 4 days if this is my boss reading :) Carlee (pictured above with Bridie and I) and Tiff depart on Wednesday; Carlee to Australia and Tiff to one of her multiple holiday destinations (which include Italy, Portugal, Columbia and Singapore). As I look ahead to a few weeks off the bike and many hours of study, nine girls look ahead to the Road World Championships here in Italy, after the team was officially announced early last week. Rochelle and Emma are recovering from a crash suffered at the recent Holland Ladies Tour, while Vicki and Bridie are reviewing performances from the Italian Time Trial they competed in yesterday. It goes without saying that I wish upon the girls (and boys) huge success through the Championships and many special memories!

Results: Zuri Metzgete, Zurich, 100.2kms

Sunday, 31 August 2008


Once again, it was a day I had looked forward to as it signalled the end of the tour. But a day that I was dredding, because it would be our final race as a team. From here, Leonie and Rochelle head to the Holland Ladies Tour, with Rochelle making a final visit to Varese to say her goodbyes before I fly home. It also marked John's last day in Europe, with his departure scheduled for late afternoon. There was much laughter on day five of Trophee D’Or…at Carlee…and the fact that she had only just realised that the Irish speak English, and that she CAN in fact check her Optus email address while in Europe?! This closely compares to the time she went to wash her hands in the mens urinal, and believed the capital of Japan to be Bangkok! Luckily her profession is in bikes!

The race went quickly, with a few moments of aggression on the road passing, before MANY moments of aggression faced us on the 5x5km finishing circuits. The attacks came thick and fast with stage victory up for grabs, and we covered what we could, which didn’t include Eneritz Echevarria’s (Safi) solo attack in the final kilometers. It seems that bike racing is a numbers game that we just couldn't win!..with Rochelle running third on the stage for yet another podium. So the tour saw us with four podiums, Rochelle second in the point’s classification, Carlee (pictured below) as the third young rider, Vicki our highest placed on GC and Tiff, Leonie and I well...we played our part! :P It was a good note to finish my season on, and once again more memories to add to the blog.

It's now 1am here in Castronno and we have just endured an 8 hour drive from France; an entertaining one at that. Nitis drove with the windscreen wipers on for 6 hours, Beth, Carlee and I found ourselves singing Madonna's 'holiday', and we had a car full of slightly older men writing their names and numbers on cardboard pieces held to their window! We woke Bridie O’Donnell on our return to the house, and she informs me that the weather in Melbourne is starting to fine up, initiating my countdown to Australia…12 days now! I have a one day race in Switzerland this weekend, and then five days to reminisce on my overseas racing experience. No doubt I'll miss everybody here at the house, but I can't wait to get home to my family. So my friends, if you don't hear from me before September 12th, it’s because I'm on a flight back down under! YAY!

Results: Unofficial Blog Page: Trophee D'Or, Stage 6, Saint-Germain-du-Puy – Saint-Amand-Montrond, 100.8kms

Friday, 29 August 2008


Today was a pretty standard race day. Wake up; on top bunk. Take off compression tights; ‘2XU’. Shower; in push button 30sec showers. Eat breakfast; in a large, loud dining hall. Pack for race; remembering socks (pictured: as Leonie didn’t, having to borrow John’s ACTAS). Team meeting; to plan race tactics. Pre-race meal; generally pasta. Car transfer to stage start; 150kms away. Get lost; despite having the ‘tom-tom’ in the race car. Arrive; park in shady area and find signage to festy squatter toilet. Kit up; by means of a towel. Warm up; the five minute ride to sign-on and then the start line. Radio check; test radios and discover who got dodgy number 4. Neutral zone; where we loop around town and arrive in the same place we had been previously. Race; very very hard.

I knew we had driven 1.5 hours for more than just the sake of it. We had driven this far because we had gone to find the hills! It was to be, and was conclusively, the deciding stage of the tour for general classification purposes. Rochelle was second when the day began, and we still had three in contention for the young rider jersey. It was 10 minutes prior to start when an old man came up to us asking (in French) what our smallest gear was. After he informed me that there would be 2km climbs at 20%, I quickly convinced Leonie to hand over her 27, and Carlee asked Nitis to change over from her 23! When we hit the first hill, Rochelle went into recovery mode, and Leonie was secretly swearing at me as she grinded her way up the climb beside Rochelle.

I drifted off the back, later regaining contact to discover that the hardest and steepest three climbs were to be run in succession over 20kms! We had missed a break of four, but their 1 minute advantage had dwindled to nothing by the time we started climbing again. After the first climb, as a girl rode beside me crying, I was past hurting, losing 4 minutes prior to finishing. After the second climb, the pace increased and Tiff lost contact. And after the third, only Vicki and Carlee remained in a group of 10, chasing back what would be the winning break of 5 (originally containing Bronzini who unfortunately punctured). Emma Johansson (AA Drink) took the victory, with Vicki finishing 8th. Only one day remains, and hopefully it‘s Rochelle’s turn to be the bride!

Results: Unofficial Blog Page: Trophee D'Or, Stage 5, Cosne-sur-Loire – Cosne-sur-Loire, 92.2kms

Thursday, 28 August 2008


A double stage means an early start for Vicki, Carlee and I to venture the 1km to the breakfast room, while the others sleep in and opt for a bowl of cereal in bed. It’s now day three, with stage 3 presenting improved presents on the sign-on podium. My tin full of shortbread biscuits was donated to the race car today, but seeing as Vicki is wheat intolerant, and I am her only room-mate, I know where her biscuits will end up when we return to the AIS base in Italy! It was a short hard stage this morning, with a GPM in the first 10kms seeing Vicki run second. Despite her tally of points we decided to give up the chase for the climber’s jersey and focus on stage victory. The final 20kms would see us complete a 5km circuit, four times, that comprised a 1km climb. (Pictured below: Nitis our mechanic)

It was the third lap that saw a decent bunch of 20 lose contact, and as Leonie relented to save herself for the days to come, Vicki found herself up the road. Tiff was covering EVERY move, I was keeping a close eye on Rochelle, and Carlee was positioning herself in preparation for attacks on the climb. Then the coin flipped when Vicki’s break was termed unsuccessful, and the pressure was back on Rochelle to pull off a stage victory. I suffered over the last climb, saw Vicki perform lead-out duties, and watched on as Bronzini took yet another stage win… Rochelle finishing as brides maid for the third time! It would take a half hour kip, some ‘Powerbar’ protein, and a visit to some awful smelling public squatters to prepare me for the afternoon’s stage.

Rochelle would be starting stage 4 in the green points jersey, and was disappointed as it would be covering the ‘Teschner’ on her jersey! Team sign-on was similar to days gone by, but this time, after receiving an umbrella each, a single ‘team’ rose was given out. Carlee thinks she was given the privilege because she is the youngest, but I stick by the pity vote, as she was still struggling to open her umbrella when team photos were being taken! We made small talk prior to the start, contemplating as to whether we should call ourselves by our middle names to disguise talk on the radio, or by code name, but figured it would confuse us just as much as it would opposing teams! (Pictured below: Beth our soigneur)

We completed four laps of a circuit that was in desperate need of some road re-surfacing, and after 83 continuous days in the saddle, it’s double stages like this that your ‘behind’ prays for a break! Despite team Bigla’s relentless attacks, we approached the day’s end all together. With a climb 4kms from the finish the race would be hard for us to control. It was here that three girls rode clear (including stage favourite Bronzini), leaving us with a decent amount of chasing to do. Vicki dragged Rochelle over the climb and I bought back the break…it was now 1km to go. With a lack of team mates in the finishing straight, Rochelle was left to fight the wind, rolling in for seventh. But…not every stage turns out how you had planned.

Results: Trophee D'Or, Stage 3, Orval – Saint-Amand-Montrond, 56.4kms

Results: Trophee D'Or, Stage 4, Sancoins – Orval, 73.6kms

Wednesday, 27 August 2008


It was a flat day, with two laps of a 56km circuit. There were two climbs categorised the first time around, and then uncategorized the second time…go figure! Despite Carlee’s lead-out efforts, Vicki was out of the points on both occasions, and we have now given up on the climber’s jersey for the remainder of the tour. It was time for more presents atop the podium; a rose, a silver pen and a card holder case, the latter of which I have become quite the fan of. I rode forward all day, accidentally stole GPM points from Vicki, and enjoyed the many money primes occurring ever 5kms! After a time bonus prime at half way, Rochelle decided she wasn’t feeling that great, and John made the call with 20kms to go that we counter until we can counter no more!

Leonie found herself in the most promising break with 10kms remaining, until I bridged in a small group and it neutralised. Tiff was then solo at 3kms, and Leonie lining it out to the finish. Rochelle had changed her mind on how her legs felt as soon as the adrenaline kicked in, so it was just our luck that Vicki and I had counted on her coming good, saving ourselves for the required lead-out. Another awesome sprint rewarded us with another podium…second…giving us second on GC. From the race, I headed straight back to school to do my hand washing, receive my massage and analyse my SRM data to see if I had won the competition for lowest watts on the day. Score is Peta 1, Rochelle 1. But of course, Rochelle is ruthlessly lean, so I’ll always win the power:weight!

Results: Trophee D'Or, Stage 2, Avord – Avord, 112kms

Tuesday, 26 August 2008


So we have arrived in St Amand-Montrond at our school based accommodation (pictured with Tiff and Rochelle). Just as I suspected, we are on the top floor and as far toward the end of the corridor as humanly possible (pictured Leonie and Tiff struggling up the stairs). With two bunk beds, I opted to sleep up top, taking one for the team as I had spent the night in the double in Plouay…and a lot of good that did me results wise! Carlee thought it funny as I climbed the stairs, not as funny as it was when I jumped on her at 2am to go to the toilet though! Our meals are served cafeteria style, with salad, carbs, meat, random looking sauces, yoghurt and dessert for choice. Unfortunately, they’re at ANOTHER school, about 1km away…which is termed driving distance while on tour :)

The first stage has been run and won, but sadly not by us. With a 4:30pm start, it was difficult to stay awake, lettle own motivated. At sign-on we were given a rose each (of which Nitis pawned off to good looking woman) and a tour t-shirt (sized from L-XL). Our 76.9km journey from our homely town through to Mehun-sur-Yevre faced us with flat terrain, two GPM’s, and after a combination of lead-out duties from Tiff, Rochelle and I, we had Vicki on equal points for the spotted jersey. The afternoon would have been a nice time to nap in the follow car, until we hit the 3.8km finishing circuit of which we were to complete four times. It was a matter of positioning in the closing stages, which caught Carlee and Leonie off guard, leaving a heavy workload for those of us at the front.

Despite numerous attacks, the race didn’t take shape until bell lap. Noemi Cantele (Bigla), Diana Zilute (Safi) and Tiff forced a break with 4kms to go but all three were riding solo. After chasing down the back straight, the top straight, and again on the home straight, my legs couldn’t take Rochelle any further than 300m to go. An uphill sprint over cobbles had her run second to Gioriga Bronzini (Safi), but elated with the result…Bronzini is a beast of a sprinter! I lost 11 seconds in 300m, which you don’t believe is possible until you’ve actually done it, with Carlee trying not to pass me at the end because she felt guilty that she hadn’t contributed! I should be able to grovel over the rolling hills for the majority of the week, discounting Friday maybe?

Results: Trophee D'Or, Stage 1, St Amand-Montrond – Mehun-sur-Yevre, France, 76.9kms

Sunday, 24 August 2008


Road tripping ‘used’ to be a hobby of mine. When I was young, my family of seven would load into our Tarago van every weekend, with picnic basket and sandwiches in tow, to a getaway destination out bush. But, after another 15 hour drive on the way to France, I decided that I’m changing my hobby when I get home…to something called flying! It’s up to the staff to do the driving, and it wouldn’t be an AIS excursion without another change in organization. Our team was joined again by Beth Duryea, a new mechanic in James Nitis, and for the last time this year, John Forrest as DS. Our accommodation was cute, satisfactory, and busy with cyclists as ‘Milram’ and ‘Euskaltel’ were sharing with us, preparing for their race on Monday.

In the week gone by there have been some nerves around the house about the World Cup. People have passed up gelati and done extras in training in an attempt to improve their chances of success. I tried to remind Carlee that the race wasn’t the be all and end all, and that a little bit of fun never hurt anybody (having ‘fun’ pictured below). So when the morning of the race so often talked about dawned, I was surprised I wasn’t nervous. In retrospect, the course was too difficult for my current climbing form and the field boasted many champions. I was HOPING to finish the race, maybe in something like second or third bunch, but EXPECTED to be arsed as soon as the crunch came. And there’s nothing like living up to expectations!

On August 24th at 2:28pm (26 degrees)…89 girls were eagerly awaiting the start of the Plouay World Cup. It seems that 52 of these girls were also eagerly awaiting the finish!...it was to be a popular day for DNF’s. The first of six 19.2km circuits were sedated, the second saw Columbia initiate an aggressive race, and on the third, a break of 8 went clear, from which Fabiana Luperini (Menikini) and Luise Keller (Columbia) stayed away to take stage victory. It was the third lap that saw a large group of girls lose contact, including Tiff, Leonie, Rochelle and I. As soon as the elastic broke, I looked ahead to our 5-day tour in Trophee D’Or, starting in two days time…nice excuse hey :)

Tiff rode on solo for 55kms to finish outside of time cut, while the rest of us enjoyed two laps of conversation before watching the race finish on the big screen. Vicki and Carlee had made the lead bunch of 30, and after watching Vicki (pictured) suffer through the early stages of the race, I was amazed to see her push through to finish 15th! Carlee held on until the final climb, finishing 1 minute in arrears. It was a nice thought at dinner tonight that we move ahead to a flat tour in central France. We are told that our accommodation is school based, in bunk beds, with 30 second shower buttons, and cafeteria style meals. But prior to this, we have another 6 hour drive ahead. This is like driving from Traralgon to Canberra, and the scary thing is that it feels short!

Results: GP de Plouay World Cup, France, 114.6kms

Monday, 18 August 2008


It is now one week after Holland Hills, and one week before the Plouay World Cup, which means that the majority of my training block has passed, and the tapering is about to begin for my final road trip with the AIS this year. My training has been somewhat skewed by the track cycling at the Olympics however, and I find myself doing a few hours on the road in the morning, before completing efforts on the rollers in front of a miniature laptop screen. There was one case where I started training at 8am and didn’t finish until 4pm, because I had to have all of my energy focused on Cammy Meyer for his points score debut at the Olympics! Not only was it an awesome race, but he ran 4th. Despite our results, the Games make me that little bit more patriotic…and proud as punch to be an Aussie =)

After breakfast and lunch had revolved around the laptop screen for a solid week, we decided that dinner was an occasion for eating out. We joined the boys for dinner at Pietro’s (an Italian friend of the AIS) one night, and then claimed an all girls dinner in Varese to bid farewell to Josie (pictured above), who departed for home in Perth today in early preparation for the 2009 track season. We miss her already…although my gelati consumption will no doubt decrease from here on in. This coming weekend, Vicki, Tiff, Carlee, Leonie Burford and I will join forces with Rochelle Gilmore to tackle the French World Cup. Not only is it considered difficult terrain with 18 decent climbs over 120kms, but our competition couldn’t have better form post Olympic Games and pre-World Championships in September. Cross your fingers, legs and ears that I survive it!

Monday, 11 August 2008


Despite the positive vibes in the house due to the Olympics, I wasn’t all that excited on Saturday morning about an 18-hour return trip to racing in Holland. Another 5am departure meant that we would miss the viewing of the Men’s Olympic Road Race and would have to survive on ‘live’ updates from Josie via text message, who had already arrived at race accommodation after 5 days in Spain. That was until the prospect of a podium saw us stop off at the next possible servo. After running inside in the hope of finding a TV, to then discover there was only 3kms to race, I ran back out to get the crew, bowling over a 2-year old on my way. Turns out those 7 extra Aussie viewers didn’t help Mick Rogers on his way to a medal, but sixth in the world is still impressive!

I was rooming with Carlee, and once again, throat infected Josie. The accommodation exceeded expectation, with breakfast a buffet that I could have spent hours discovering, and a large television with four Olympic channels hard to pull away from. So when we woke to rain on Sunday morning, breakfast in bed in front of the big screen, cheering on the Aussie girls during the Olympic Road Race, started to sound like a pleasant option. Instead, upon Olympic race finish, we departed for our own race start. After some problems with the GPS, and a few thoughts that we were overdue for a shopping spree this year, Josie, Rochelle and I lined up on a narrow street, behind 150 motivated girls… and let’s just say it was a VERY long way to the front!

Aside from a neutral section before kilometer zero, the race was fast. Positioning was paramount through muddy single track laneways, which led me to believe that I had chosen a bad day for a serious case of CBF! It was lined out over the first of 14 steep, sharp, climbs, and it wasn’t long before Tiff was up the road in an early break of six. As the terrain got tougher, two girls succumbed, and she managed to finish a credible fourth. Rochelle and Josie abandoned, and after chasing 11 times, I certainly thought about it! The bunch remained together until the final 20kms, where it then split into 3 groups, which split again on the hill top finish. I was in the third bunch and for the record…extremely proud of my effort! So as Josie, Tiff and I (pictured top prior to race start) were passing by the chocolate machine, I didn’t feel guilty in buying a Kit Kat and shaking the machine to score extra free chocolates! =)

Results: Holland Hills Classic, Valkenburg, Netherlands, 100kms

Saturday, 9 August 2008


On Monday, at 1am, we arrived home from Germany and Carlee couldn’t unlock her door. She went to turn on the hallway light and accidentally rang the doorbell, waking Olympic mountain biker Dallas Star! So Carlee decided to sleep over in my room…and from then on we have been inseparable, she has become the little voice in my head. We eat every meal together, synchronising our cooking so as to dine at the same time. We train together everyday, sometimes with the bunch, and other times just the two of us side-by-side, for up to 5 hours, in which time we become quite eccentric. We sit and wait out siesta (when all shops are closed) from 1-3pm, and then venture out on our 20kg townies to the shops. With 10psi in both tyres and poor seat height (pictured), we collect our weekly groceries in the front baskets!

We sit at our laptops, viewing our houses from the new ‘google streets’ so as we don’t forget what home looks like, then we sun bake, ice-bath and sun bake again, discussing our adventures we have planned on our return to Australia =) When I’m not daydreaming, I’m thinking about the pain in my knee from my crash in Germany. I took two days off this week in an attempt to speed up the healing process, and so far so good. When the weather is cool, my knee is no problem, so only the patches are depressing me. Showering is difficult, and in the heat of the day I have a serious need to itch it! But as of tomorrow, when we depart for Holland, I will start on the dry healing process and hope that the heat rash that has developed under these patches will fade…ewww…

Monday, 4 August 2008


I know I’m in Germany when every second town ends in ‘..farht’ and the only word I recognise is ‘Danke sehr’ (thank you). Surprisingly, it was the only word of German required as the staff in our relatively fancy hotel all spoke quite fluent English. This time around, a 10 hour drive took us through to Bochum in Germany, where we endured a Saturday night criterium, a Sunday morning road race, and another 10 hour drive home on Sunday afternoon! The team consisted of 8, with Vicki, Tiff, Carlee, Josie Tomic and I travelling together; to be joined on arrival by additional members Leonie Burford, Emma Rickards and Rochelle Gilmore. We came across more Aussie’s at dinner that night, catching up with the Men’s Drapac Porsche Team who were in town for the men’s equivalent of racing.

Our first stroke of bad luck in regards to the race came before we even departed for Germany. Josie was diagnosed with a throat infection and was still contemplating whether or not she would be able to front on the start line. Her infection was directly proportional to her asthma, and on top of this, she was suffering a head cold! It was a combination of confidence in my immune system, and the fact that I had been sleeping in her room in Italy, that led to us being room-mates in Bochum. I kept her awake with my sleep talking while she kept me awake with her snoring (due to blocked sinuses), but I think she contributed equally to waking herself as often as waking me! Coincidentally, it was Carlee and Vicki, sleeping up the hall, who felt a little nasal as the weekend progressed.

Our second stroke of bad luck came in the form of my first European crash! When riding behind 8 people, who would expect a 30x5cm metal plank to go unnoticed? (Pictured with Mark O'Brien) But after it weaved it’s way through a Drapac rider’s wheel I hit the tarmac, developing some dirty road rash on my right calf, nasty bruising to my right knee (pictured top), and a few scratches on my Teschner! What was more disheartening than the pain in my knee, and the blow to my pride, was racing with my leg all patched up looking like a cripple :( I skipped on the bandaging for the criterium on Saturday, and was regretting even starting when 10 minutes in, my knee started to heat and swell. We were easily the most dominant team, represented two fold in every break with the ability to control the race for a resultant bunch sprint.

This time, in contrast to our experiences in Cento, we were quickly running out of girls in our lead-out after having used up Carlee and Josie in the final laps. It was Vicki's job to set the pace up to 2km to go, and in succession Ruth and Emma took the front, before it was my time in the wind at 600m. I led into the final tight right hander at 200m, died on my arse, and saw Rochelle kick off my wheel and cruise to an easy victory! (pictured) I managed 5th. The celebrations couldn't last long as we had an early start the following morning. Sunday's Road Race looped six times around a 13km circuit to total a short 87kms. Josie was feeding road side after her sickness had overcome her, and was shortly joined by Leonie after a small crash put her out of the race on lap two. Unfortunately, after practicing her feeding skills all morning, Josie didn’t get the chance to hand out a bidon!

I suffered early, contemplating withdrawal on numerous occasions due to the pain and throbbing in my knee! The two categorized climbs were played out into a strong head wind, which made it difficult to break up the field. Small groups made little lead-way off the front, which meant a bunch kick would prevail, and all the leading teams seemed content with this. The final few kilometers saw one crash, a lot of bodily contact, and a few nerves that I wouldn’t make it through the mess. But like deja vu, I was on the front at 600m with Rochelle following closely. This time, after leading into the final corner, it was Suzanne de Goede (Nurnberger) who led up the home straight, proving too powerful for Rochelle (pictured after podium) who rode through to second, and I to 7th. Two podiums, two days, two crash casualties and three sick girls…time to recover back in Italy!

Results: Sparkassen Giro, Bochum, Germany, 78kms