Wednesday, 30 January 2008


Sometimes you have good days and sometimes you have bad days. Good day; a sleep in followed by hills and lunch with my boss. By the time you return home he tells you not to worry about work =) Bad day; venturing to the local water hole to find that it’s been closed for over a year due to fires and floods but you haven’t had a social outing since then! With Australia Day to celebrate and not much longer in town, Matt Jensen (pictured) came to stay for the weekend and I was on a mission to find him some form. Good day; riding to the view of Thompson’s dam and hurting him on the way home. Bad day; getting excited about a hard day out after a 20minute drive before realising that Matt Jensen forgot his shoes! Good day; riding with the old men who treat you to juice, hot chocolate, muffins, toast, fruit and wedges for free! Bad day; VO2Max testing in Melbourne and slow moving traffic on the way home. Good day; everytime that I see little Leila and am able to consume a smartie cookie!

What does testing consist of you ask? It’s 12:30pm, 23deg, 45% humidity. You have a large mask strapped so tight to your head that you immediately have a headache, but don’t mind this, when alternate pain kicks in you won’t be thinking about it. A nosepiece compress’ your nostrils and a snorkel like guard is inserted in your mouth. By this time you can’t talk, laugh or swallow, it even takes a while to master breathing. Blood extracts from the ear lobe measure your lactate, a HR monitor observes your HR and the ergo reads your power output. You’re to concentrate on one thing through the test; your cadence, but you can’t help but concentrate on the lactate building in your legs as well. You ride to exhaustion and tell yourself 5 minutes later that you could have lasted longer, but your legs disagree. Drowning the thoughts of the test were the results of my skinfolds taken on arrival, now reading 80! For the regular readers here is something to ponder... Do I talk about food more than is socially acceptable??

To add to the 6hrs of driving I’ve managed in the last 4 years I drove through to Frankston. I legally passed 16 cars but who’s counting right... Things to avoid in future? Our garden bed, the neighbour’s rubbish bins, and parking in general. Good day; my brother’s BBQ with friends I hadn’t seen in 3 years who now have children! Bad day; saying farewell to Pippa as she leaves for the year with 7 pairs of shoes and a toe separator. Pancakes at a cafe called the next morning, and if I left any maple syrup for Kurt, Annie and Matt Jensen, then I didn’t mean to! It was our luck while walking the beach on this fabulous afternoon that a sandcastle exhibition was taking place (pictured). Well at least that’s what we figured it would have looked like had we actually stopped. Then came wind and recognisable rain at Sandown. The inspiration to get myself a fluoro pink band came from Max and Maurine Reed who had come to watch me flog Jensen! To save him embarrassment I opted for B grade =P I must lastly apologise to those who viewed my photo in last night’s report courtesy of Mal Sawford. The threats “I’ll sue you if that goes on the website” clearly didn’t influence him...

Monday, 21 January 2008


In less than two weeks I will find myself venturing to Canberra to spend 17 days undergoing an AIS ‘survival’ camp. I call it ‘survival’ as it is based in Canberra, and anybody who returns from the state without a hammer and hook in hand to hang up the bike, has truly mastered some serious mental strength. I am wanting to go into the camp with some form, so although I came off Nationals to a recovery week, I still found myself out on my 3km nightly walk to burn off the extras I really shouldn’t have consumed at dinner. While out with my twin Angie we got a little excited and she alleged “let’s run...”. We broke into a slight jog for a whole of 3 steps before simultaneously shouting “let’s not!” Our intentions were good. A recovery week included a new hair colour (that's right...I've gone dark!), breakfast with Phil & Shan, a night out with Kristy, coffee with Jenny & Flem (my high school Math’s teacher) and the utilised day off for a blood test. Somehow I can’t bring myself to don lycra without something in the stomach, so I managed to skip on breakfast and juice one morning this year and venture to the testing centre.

The heavens didn’t assist with my lack of motivation over the weekend. On very little sleep I spent 3 hours too many riding in the rain on Saturday morning and 2 hours too many driving in it on Sunday on route to Glenvale. Had it not been for the ridiculous amount of food I had consumed at Phil’s BBQ the night before (some of which I burned with Shan at the park doing ab holds on the play equipment...before returning to further devour 3 desserts) then I would have skipped on feeling guilty and headed straight to the Victorian Track titles to support the Jayco VIS crew. Instead, feeling slightly overweight, I fronted on the start line at Glenvale to race just 7 other competitors who had shown for B grade. Don’t laugh; be envious that I got such a solid work out over the hour of racing! At least it was dry. My parents had made the journey to Lakes Entrance for the annual fun run (sneak peek of my childhood expeditions in Lakes here) and they weren't so lucky! My Dad and brother were sweep for the 10kms while my Mum walked away with the 'Mullens family handicap trophy'. I claimed the title in 2002-03 =) and in my opinion have been handicapped out of it ever since! No need to ask my family's opinion...

Saturday, 12 January 2008


Everybody claims that Ballarat is the coldest town in Victoria. So why is it that every time I venture there its 40 degrees? And why is it that the famous Lake Wendouree is the furtherest thing from a lake I’ve ever seen?? I wasn’t worried as I had my air conditioned room to return to, that was until my power cut out due to the bushfires. My biggest worry was not being able to blow-dry my hair! So when a girl has no television, no laptop, low battery phone and no hair dryer what is she to do but paint her nails! It had been a lonely few days for me. Anna had left after the conclusion of the Men’s time trial on the Thursday, and I had passed time relaxing in my accomodation at the Ballarat Lodge. Had it not been for riding and meal times, I would have had nothing to look forward to. I only managed one lap of the race circuit, as I figured that if I was to do all ten laps of Saturday that would more than suffice.

Today was the day. The Australian Open Road Race Championships. Although a long way from my most important race this season, it definitely meant a lot to me as I had spent the last 4 months specifically training for it! Anna had managed to pull together a women’s VIS team, 8 in strength with the defending Australian Road Race champion in Katie Mactier and the current Australian Time Trial champion in Bridie O’Donnell. There were no secrets as to who we were working for - Katie, and it was no mystery whom we needed to shed - Rochelle Gilmore (NSW). She was our main threat if a bunch kick was to prevail and her recent form had me mildly worried. With a massive field we rolled out onto the 10.2km circuit and immediately began on a 3km section of climbing, which on consecutive laps would become the feeding zone. With two sections to the climb, before some false flat leading to the descent, it proves a tough course to make up lost time. And despite race tactics, that is exactly what we found ourselves doing...

10 laps, 90 starters, sweltering heat and some very good form told the story of what was supposed to be a very impressive race on my behalf. Tory Thomas (VIS) kicked off the initial attack on the first hill of the day, and although falling off the pace not long after, set up a 2 minute lead for the likes of Ruth Corset (QLD) and Amanda Spratt (NSW). Our fifth time up the climb saw Lorian Graham softening the legs of many in the bunch, before a re-group at the summit resulted in the field together again. But if at first you don’t succeed, try again, and with those words in mouth Graham splintered the bunch the following time around as I watched 9 girls climb away from me. At first I didn’t realise the bunch had split, too concentrated on my feed to come from coach Liz Taylor, so when I looked up and saw that I was sitting third wheel chasing a 50metre gap, I was devastated. I tried to jump across but my efforts were short lived, a glance over my shoulder to the girls close by giving me hope that it would all come back together again.

By the top of the climb I was in a group of 10, with 3 fellow VIS team-mates, the presence of Katie and the absence of Rochelle. For the remainder of the lap Bridie and I took up the pace making in an attempt to regain contact with the lead bunch. It didn’t take long for me to drop off on the climb the following lap, while Bridie, the machine that she is, yo-yoed on and off the pack doing all that she could for the team. The gap (pictured) dwindled but the join was never made, and as it happens Katie was forced to chase just to finish after a dismount to tighten some very suspicious handlebars. Tory, Jess Berry and Kath O’Shea withdrew from the race after team commitments had been carried out, while Emma Rickards was unfortunate to cramp in the final lap. Helen Kelly and I finished hoop group, as we refused a DNF, but stopped momentarily atop the KOM to hear the radio coverage of the stage finish, Oenone Wood (ACT) taking the win in a two up sprint against visitor Sharon Laws. With racing in Geelong and New Zealand in sight, I am in no way prepared to dwell on what could have been.

Results: Australian Open Road Race Championships, Buninyong, 102kms

* Images courtesy of

Thursday, 10 January 2008


I love 34 degree, disastrously windy, 28 kilometre Individual Time Trials (can you hear the sarcasm?), especially when the best in Australia show up and cane me =( Decked out on a Bianchi Time Trial bike, with Mavic rear disc, front Bora (thanks Spits), radio, and the likes of Liz Taylor and Anna Wilson following me in the car, not only did I have no excuses, but I started to wonder what I had done to deserve such treatment, especially for a time trial! My results may not have shown it, but I did actually try, and rode 4 minutes quicker than last year. It felt like my first ever time on a bike (pictured)! The heat didn’t bother me, nor did the fact that I haven’t done any time trial training, but my legs may have disagreed. I finished 20th overall, 5 minutes off the now current Australian Road Time Trial Champion in Bridie O’Donnell (VIS), and 5th in the U23 behind category leader Amanda Spratt. At first I was informed I was only 40 seconds off a podium, that was until Carlee Taylor was stripped of her bronze medal due to a fault in the results!

Here’s how it went... After 4hours in the car and an inadequate warm up, I can’t say I was looking forward to starting the TT up a hill. I think I can call it a burg, as it was a fair slug in the 21. The radio cut out at the top of the climb and from then on all I could hear was either Anna screaming out the car door, or a Delta Goodrem song that I had stuck on repeat in my head. I felt fit, but lactic, that was until the final 4km downhill stretch where my skinfolds of 69 assisted me in catching the girl I’d been chasing all day. Spirits weren’t low as you would usually expect, instead I’m simply glad it’s all over and I can now concentrate on Saturday’s road race. After a quick clean up, destruction of half the fernery beside our room, and the brutal assault on the VIS van side mirror, is what resulted when putting Anna’s driving skills to the test while she was slowly going hunger flat. Before the day came to an end, Anna and I joined the likes of Liv Gollan, Nat Bates and Amanda Spratt for dinner at the Gillett household to toast to Amy. With today being her 32nd birthday we celebrated with a drink...or two...and shared many laughs in her memory =)

Results: Australian Open Road Time Trial Championships, Buninyong, 28kms

Sunday, 6 January 2008

STAGE 5 JAYCO BAY SERIES: SOLID... new word for the week, and can be obscurely used to describe everything over the past few days. Solid racing, solid competition, solid weather, and even solid lactate in the legs after 5 days at the Jayco Bay Series. Many of you may have read about Megan Dunn, the 16-yr old who took out the overall series. But what you may not have heard, is that it wasn’t easy! She was present in every winning break, covered every threatening attack, and won the hardest of the 5 stages this week...what a talent, please don’t invite her to Glenvale! The Jayco Bay Series, from my perspective, were by far harder and more entertaining than the previous 3 years. With a field of over 70, there were no big names missing from the start list, and with temperatures soaring over 40, there was no other place to recover than air-conditioned corners. On occasion we were forced to leave the room with Kath O’Shea and I setting off the smoke alarm at every opportunity, burning bread that we had stolen from breakfast no doubt.

Day 5 was set in Botanic Gardens. The final day...not that I’ve been counting down or anything! We started the morning with Amy’s Ride, followed by a brew stop, and a second breakfast. With GC so close, there was no way of telling exactly what tactics each team would play. Surprisingly, all 3 contenders, Dunn, Goss and Bates, made an early break of 7. With the added presence of Wood, Carrigan, Amanda Spratt and our own Helen Kelly (VIS), it stuck. I won’t lie, I felt awesome and was extremely disappointed to miss such a break, so when given the instructions from Anna to try and cross, I was the first to jump, four times in fact! But the only riders in the peloton strong enough had no reason to make the effort. So I rolled in off the back of the sprint, while Carrigan rolled in off the front of the break to take stage victory. Dunn became the youngest ever to win yellow, Goss celebrated her birthday one step down on the podium, and I was simply satisfied with 5 stage finishes and a hard week of racing.

Results: Jayco Bay Series, Stage 5, Botanic Gardens, 45minutes + 3 laps

* Images courtesy of

Saturday, 5 January 2008


People tell me girls are soft, and that our racing is like watching grass grow. Warranted, sometimes that is true, but the Jayco Bay Series this year seem to be putting a change to that, particularly when at Ritchie Blvd on Friday night. I sat motionless for a solid 5 minutes after the race. I had goose bumps, despite it being 40 degrees and barely had the energy to lift a can of drink to my lips, despite some serious head spins. But that was nothing, winner Megan Dunn had thrown up on crossing the finish line! The attacks started early, and the further we travelled through the 45 minute race, the harder it got. I had decided, in contrast to Thursday, that I was again keen on the sprint jersey, but was up against some serious talent in Lauren Kitchen who had already claimed a stage win at 17-yrs of age. I buried myself to be up for points and never really recovered. A crash from Wood in the closing laps saw Dunn and Rickards (VIS) get a gap. Dunn came into bell with a slight advantage over the bunch, holding on to take a very impressive win and the yellow jersey...a mere 16-yrs old!

Today was a serious...or should I say solid (my new word) effort. The first bunch kick of the series also saw our first podium, and in a team running low on sprinters, having 2 in the top 5 seemed slightly odd. Finally a simplistic course in the Botanic Gardens, with poor excuses for corners, gave those that wished for it a recovery day. I was suffering something shocking from the night before and was happy to cruise around sitting wheels. Berry and Kath O’Shea (VIS) made themselves present in early breaks before Jess suffered a vicious crash at almost 60km/hr along the back straight. Despite what looked like some critical head injuries, it was her bruised coccyx that caused most of the pain, putting an end to her week. The pace set into the sprint was a slow one but the sprint itself was long. Kate Bates took the win from Rickards (VIS) and Belinda Goss. Regardless of spending the day in the bunch, the legs didn’t enjoy the sprint, finishing in 5th and putting me back to 10th overall.

Results: Jayco Bay Series, Stage 3, Ritchie Boulevard, 45minutes + 3 laps
Results: Jayco Bay Series, Stage 4, Botanic Gardens, 45minutes + 3 laps

* Images courtesy of

Thursday, 3 January 2008


I hate being late. Two years ago I travelled to the Jayco Bay Series with the boys and they told me I had to get out and ride due to traffic jams! That wasn’t possible as my derailleur was bent! A last minute mechanic job and no warm up was how I had started my 2006 experience, never again. So, 3 hours before my due start, my Mum and I arrived in Williamstown. The crowd was impressive, as was my form for the first 30 minutes. I was to go with opportune breaks that arose after sprint primes with the first of two going nowhere. Later in the race a small group broke clear containing Oenone Wood, Sara Carrigan, Alex Rhodes and Lauren Kitchen. It took me a lap to bridge to the leaders, but when I arrived I was rewarded with some sprint points and in turn, the sprinters jersey! Who would have thought! The break came back within a few laps and eventually Rhodes was solo, leaving us to sprint for second. With our sprinter Jess Berry (VIS) still on her track legs it was now up to me. I gave it my best, and despite some awful positioning, managed 7th for the stage.

Day 2 was the standard routine for Bay Series. Wake, eat, train, eat, race a 45 minute intense criterium and eat. Then before you know it, it’s time to do it all again. These particular criterium’s are raced on circuits from 800mtrs-2.3kms, with the women having two sprint primes at 15 minute intervals. I had no real aspirations to claim the sprinter’s jersey today, I simply wanted to finish the Portarlington criterium as I had never conquered it in the past. I had pushed some massive gears the day before, in my morning roll had felt the effects, and was daunted by the hill we were to face on the circuit. These factors combined influenced me to race the day in my small chain ring, a very wise decision in the end. After the relentless work from Helen Kelly (VIS) at the head of the race, a break of 6 went clear after the first prime and with Emma Rickards (VIS) as a representative, we were happy to let it go. The next 20 minutes saw the pace ease, Rhodes ride off the front again, and me sprint home for 4th in what was left of the peloton, 11th on the day.

Results: Jayco Bay Series, Stage 1, Williamstown, 45minutes + 3 laps
Results: Jayco Bay Series, Stage 2, Portarlington, 40minutes + 3 laps

* Images courtesy of

Tuesday, 1 January 2008


I must firstly start on a sad note by mentioning the passing of Ivan ‘Ike' Collings. May our thoughts be with his loving wife Lorraine over the New Year.

I’m not much of a Santa fan, and can only handle Christmas carols on the eve of the day. In the meantime my Mum likes to sport the flashing earrings while my Dad sets up the nativity under our tree or alternatively dresses up as the big man himself (don't let the picture fool you, he only weighs 77kgs). I suppose I’m only in the spirit when it comes to the presents, giving AND receiving. Although I hate surprises, there is nothing better than seeing presents wrapped under the tree and wondering which of them is meant for you. In our house, we never name our gifts, and when we do, you can guarantee that we were lying about who it was for. So this year I have to say I went a little overboard with my Christmas shopping, trying to even the amount spent on each sibling and parent, which in return put me over my limit. But nonetheless, I was very proud of what I gave, and very satisfied with what I was given, a special mention to my new 8GB Ipod Nano from Mum! Very spoilt... =)

But before Christmas day came, I ventured down to Amigo’s restaurant (where my younger sister Kerry works) for a massage class reunion. Originally our class size was close to 20, so when only 3 students showed for dinner we were slightly disappointed. We were moved from our table of 10 to a table of 6...embarrassing…and thanked god V (Veronica, our teacher) had bought her children to entertain us by performing the worm on the restaurant floor later that night. We had a great time reflecting on the memories that I’ll miss next year while studying via correspondence. Christmas Day this year was spent at Nan & Pop’s on my Mum’s side, as it has been in years prior. It was particularly special this year as it was the closest we have come to having the entire family there. To me Christmas has always meant pancakes, presents, lunch, desert, more presents, dinner and more desert, in that order.

So when the opportunity arose, we stole the boys away from their enticing game of cricket, and took some happy snaps. Pictured above from left to right; Rory and Angie (twin sister and partner, little Leila was sleeping), myself and Kerry (the singles) and Laura and Matt (brother and partner). My eldest sister and four children are absent, my Mum hates photos, and my Dad was called into work! So the New Year is here...welcome to 2008! Angie and Rory have headed to Wilson’s Promontory, while Matt and Laura are living it up in Venus Bay. It’s been a while since I’ve celebrated the night, I actually prefer to wake up and set an example for myself for the year to come about the same time that Kerry is returning home! I have just begun making new years resolutions, that task of course followed by writing this blog. But to name a few goals of mine...DRIVE, learn Italian, blog often and win Scotty’s race again! So I start the New Year feeling fit, healthy and very sunburnt. Happy New Year guys! Xx