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! 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