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