Friday, 25 April 2008


…sleeping in, sunshine, friends, incredible scenery, arduous climbs, good food and no worries in the world… Smyth (Alex Smyth) was late to the airport, by the length of my sketchy flight home; 1hr20min. We were finally on our way to Bright, for what was a relatively ‘secret’ VIS training camp; seven boys and one girl. First up was falls creek. Just 200mtrs into the ride, my tyre blew. It was easily fixed with a $50 note in the lining, but that didn’t prevent the others from suffering a combined three punctures for the day! On the climb to Falls, PJ (Pete Johnstone) found reception and spent some time on his mobile, I cherished the long-awaited return of my SRM, and Howard (Leigh Howard) spent a good 25 mins waiting for us at the top! As Howard heads o/s soon, we allocated him head chef, with female assistance. Our chicken curry risotto was made difficult when he forgot the recipe, compelling us to estimate the quantity of ingredients, which is a dangerous situation when cooking for seven people! To say the least, it was successful.

Wednesday arrived, and while well fed and well clothed for morning departure, we made our way out to Harrietville where Mount Hotham beckoned. After the Meg, the mountain, and the monotonous descent, I hurried back for a warm shower. Shrek (Sean Finning) settled for the ice cold selection, while Langas (James Langendyk) opted to visit the caravan park across the road as we had run out of hot water! The following morning, after loading our bags in preparation for departure, we headed over Tawonga, Rosewhite and Buffalo, before some entertainment finally prevailed on the way back down. Langas hit into a corner too hard, headed for a brick wall, hit a pothole on his way, completed a forward flip and merely bruised his arse! After 7hours of travel, my arse wasn’t in great condition either. Smyth had got us lost on his way into Melbourne, twice, which meant that my head didn’t hit the pillow until after midnight. Sweet dreams overcame tiredness, as I knew I would wake to the sweet aroma of my Mum’s baked Anzac biscuits! And oh how sweet they were… =)

Monday, 21 April 2008


My youngest sister Kerry, 17, has returned home with a dog. She came with no bed, no toy and no food, just a name…Sasha (pictured). She urinated in the kitchen, left her faeces at the base of the stairs, and tried to help me wash my bike, leaving her covered in grease stains. She is a 10-week old golden Labrador retriever, who is SUPPOSED to be gentle and intelligent, and respond well to praise and attention. The latter are obvious, so maybe the former will come eventually? Granted, she is gorgeous and we love her to pieces, but she will grow, and she will bark, and she will tear all of my existing shoes to pieces! So for this reason, when she is naughty, she adopts a middle name, making her our precious Sasha Jane =) Mum walks her, bathes her, and is trying to teach her the words bed, sit and NO! My Dad pampers her, allows her to sleep on the couch, and feeds her KFC! But, unfortunately, 3 days into her stay, I had to say goodbye.

It was a foggy Monday morning, so I wasn’t surprised when my flight to Canberra was delayed by the length of my journey; 1hour. I was impressed however, that the pilot was able to find 19 different ways to describe the weather, before giving us 3 different predictions as to what the sky would look like by lunch. Upon landing, I had 4hours in which to undergo skinfolds, Hb mass, lunch with Laura, gym with Ross, and a catch up with Dr. Dave, before returning to the airport, tired and suffering a severe headache. Two flights to Melbourne had been cancelled, but I managed to score a seat in an emergency aisle. When I stepped out onto the tarmac, approaching a small old plane capable of seating a mere 36, I couldn’t decide whether I was more concerned about the large external propellers, or where they could possibly have stored the light refreshments! I couldn’t sleep for two reasons; I was afraid of crashing, and my head was swelling as the groan of the propellers pierced through my ears…

Sunday, 20 April 2008


Checklist: Clean bike. Compact cranks. Eight bidons, including flat coke. Jelly beans. Honey crackles. Chocolate muffins. I was prepared, but that doesn’t mean that you’re in for a good day at Baw Baw! I arrived early, which proved smart, as the start time for the small women’s field of 7 had been moved forward 25mins. I’ll cut the 4hour story short for you…I won the prime, suffered up Vesper’s, saw to it that I didn’t walk, and finished in third. Carlee Taylor (pictured), U23 Australian Road Champion, broke clear of the bunch 45kms into the race, I lost contact with Lisa Jacobs at 60kms, and from there we all rode solo to the finish. I broke 40minutes for the 6.2km Baw Baw climb, which was 5minutes quicker than when I won the race last year, and a hell of a lot faster than my walking days two years back! As you labour past the spectators, the walkers, and those that resort to resting roadside, you realise that repeat offenders of this race are simply here for the challenge =)

This year, there was no snow. As we descended the mountain however, there was smoke, evidence of the burning off that has been taking place in the local area of late. As Mum and I drove along, joined in company by my brother Matt, and his girlfriend Laura, we discussed the winners (those that finished), and the losers (those of which don't exist at this race). The back roads cut a half hour from our drive, so despite the car sickness that I could feel coming on, we turned to head for home. The smoke grew thicker, and it wasn’t long before small spot fires had us slightly concerned. As we veered right to round a corner, we were faced with a wall of thick smoke, flames engulfing the trunks of trees, and a small white car reversing into us. It wasn’t until we jumped from the car to assist in a u-turn on the narrow roads, that we heard the choppers in the sky, and the sound of fire engines in the distance. It was like suicide, for the second time in one day!

Results: Mount Baw Baw Classic, 97kms

Sunday, 13 April 2008


By the time Sunday morning had come, after consuming the famous Chicken Parmigiana that has led me through every stage in Coleraine, and a restless night’s sleep, I was prepared to take the yellow jersey and back to back titles. I felt strong, was climbing well, but had 20 other girls to worry about. Once again I went head to head with Kathy for QOM bonuses, where she ran me off the road…twice…and after some malicious words, I took out the QOM classification. Christine Foster and Simone Spikers were the aggressors today, but with desperate time bonuses still on offer, a bunch kick was bound to prevail. Nic played the early role in our lead out, before Tess took over her duties. A look left, and a look right down the finishing straight, showed that Kathy was out of contention, so we were able to hand Tess stage victory, obtain critical bonus seconds, and claim the yellow jersey by 2 seconds!

What would prepare me better for a criterium than a beef pastie? Well almost anything would have been more appropriate, but they looked SO good, and must have been made of something special… The opening minutes of our 18km criterium saw Tess trying for a breakaway. Even with a stage win, she needed to escape Kathy by 22seconds to move to second on GC. So after claiming the intermediate sprint, I continued on the attack, taking 6 girls with me, and leaving Kathy to chase. Nic and I worked hard to extend the margin, with the gap at 16seconds with 2kms remaining! We assured Tess the stage win, and waited nervously as the seconds counted down to Kathy’s finish. The verdict? 24 seconds! A successful tour for the team! The VIS claiming three 3 stage wins, the QOM classification and 1-2 in the overall classification! Now I can look ahead to Baw Baw, and merely hope that Frank Cipriano doesn’t beat me, as he’s one up on me after a four second margin separated us in the time trial in Coleraine!!

Results: Tour of Coleraine Stage 1-4, QOM & GC

Saturday, 12 April 2008


Once upon a time, I was cleaning my bike, shoes and helmet for a race. I accidentally used vegetable oil on my helmet, and I won. Maybe I could have done with some oil on Saturday in preparation for the time trial at the 2008 Tour of Coleraine. It had been a long week, a long day, and a very long car trip. On arrival, I knew we were 100% country when we stopped off at a public toilet to be greeted by a long drop, and a sign above the plunge reading ‘Please close lid to compact odour’. I had been eating for about seven hours to keep myself occupied, and more importantly distracted from the weekend of racing ahead. There were huge amounts of pressure to win back to back titles (especially from me), to say the least! I went to check out the dreaded time trial course, only to see three of my competitors removing decked out TT bikes with disc wheels from their cars. Clearly they were motivated, as it had been raining for the past hour, so after studying the course from the safety of my car, I returned to the Hamilton pub to eat some more!

I had told Nicole Whitburn we were sleeping in the ‘foyer’ at the Wannon River Holiday Park. So when she arrived out whoop-whoop, she thought that she would be waking to a receptionist taking bookings at the front desk…thank god I was wrong! We were in fact sleeping in the ‘function centre’, a huge building that seats 85 people, includes a commercial kitchen, bar and cool room, an open fire-place, a switchboard of 32 lights, and a surround sound stereo! They had set up three beds for Nic, my Mum and I, so it became quite the slumber party. For those who booked early at Wannon River, beds were available, but their cabins just didn’t really compare to ours! There were a lot of extra happenings to the tour this year. There are the spoken-of ones, for example my non-optional 5hour wait to presentations, and the not-to-be-spoken-of ones...that are not to be spoken about!

I felt good in the 9.2km time trial, and was pleased to see that my time was competitive with the likes of those on time trial bikes, as I had opted to simply ride my Teschner. Kathy managed to claim the yellow jersey, going into stage 2 with a 21 second buffer that I was desperate to reduce. The afternoon saw us fronted with a 72km road race. With QOM and stage bonuses up for grabs, it was understandable that choice words were spoken when, leading into the first QOM, I dropped my chain with 500m to go! I dismounted; yanked away my SRM reader that had caused my chain to be caught, remounted, and won the hill sprint. It was here were a group of five went clear, including Kathy, Tess, Lisa Friend, Christine Foster and I. When Tess dropped her chain, I towed her back up, and when Nic made contact, she led me out for the final 2kms. Tess caught me off guard, jumping from the final corner, but I managed to chase the gap and take the win (pictured), to move to within 10 seconds of the tour lead! Woo!

Sunday, 6 April 2008


Last Sunday was a bad day in a lot of little ways. I was riding from Anna’s place in Heidelberg, carrying a 10kg back pack, with a text-book sticking into my lower back. I was joined a few kms in by...some guy...with whom I never exchanged names, as I was simply praying he would go on his merry way so that I could concentrate on not getting lost on my way to Glenvale racing. So, when I found myself on Brunswick Street, I knew I had gone too far and parted ways with the random cyclist. My brother Matt, was working as part of the construction crew for ‘Run for the Kids’. Somehow, among the 30 white tents and 30,000 runners, I found the marquee I was looking for, off loaded my bag, and started on my way down St Kilda Road. I had just started what was to be a 30km Time Trial when my brother called me. I dropped my phone, slammed the brakes on to retrieve it, and in the process, sliced my right shin on my pedal before finally salvaging my mobile with a plagued black screen.

I made it to racing on time to bare these hairy legs. The first three laps were difficult, trying to consume my breakfast by means of a chocolate Boost bar I had bought while entering, but from there racing ran smoothly. After warm scones, muffins and hot chocolate in front a cosy fireplace, my brother rings, to inform me that he had forgotten my bag in the city! So, after 3hrs in the car, 5hrs on the bike, and 7hrs in the knicks, I arrived back in Traralgon. In the last few days, I’ve sliced my left shin on a chair, been rained on, our town has lost power, and I listened to my Dad through the phone as he informed us that our second car had broken down roadside! So, while forced indoors due to 100km/hr winds, a lot of country road kill, and with a lot of time on my hands after putting aside everything I’m not keen on resorting to on the ‘things to do’ list, I baked some of Donna’s Ice Boy Brownies (pictured below). So, for two day's, I was stuck indoors with my new PJ’s, lots of food, and large amounts of study…life's unfair.

But the few days to come would prove a lot more productive. I shared the remainder of my brownies with the boys at work and headed down to Melbourne. Saturday saw me out in pitch black on the 'girl's only' VIS motor pace session (Pictured top: Chloe, Nicole and I). After returning from Arthur's seat, and politely informing the 7 males, who had jumped on the back for a quick tow home, that they would have to pull off, I feasted on pancakes and went home and crashed. Daylight's savings isn't an extra hour's sleep as most people insinuate, it's simply an extra hour longer that everybody remains awake for! It was confusing when I got up. I had put my phone clock back an hour, BUT had it done it again overnight? Had the clocks in the house been changed or not? I was on time to Glenvale =) The chill in the morning didn't last long so I left my thermal in Mulgrave to go for a pedal. After 4hours, I remembered that my $400 camera and $300 Ipod where still stuffed behind the portable toilets in the car park! Let's just say it was my lucky day...