Monday, 21 September 2009


Many, some, or maybe only three people, will remember my first MTB race victory at the Bendigo 6hr Enduro back in late May. Not only did this race give me a little boost of confidence, a handy $100 and an excuse to eat double portion sizes for the following week, it also gave me a free race entry into the Australian Marathon MTB Championships, that were coincidentally raced in Bendigo on Sunday. Now for those who aren’t aware, 105kms of MTB’ing is almost a 6hr solo time-trial (easily equivalent to the prestigious Melbourne to Warrnambool) which explains why only 14 girls fronted to brave the challenge, including Australian Cross Country and 24hr Champions (gulp). For me personally, had I braved too much after withdrawing from my last Enduro race just 1hour in?

After 10 metres of racing I was 5 metres behind; I couldn’t clip my foot in. By the time we hit the first corner I was near last; I didn’t want to risk it on loose gravel. And just half an hour into the race I had dismounted three times; to walk of course. At 8kms in, Jo Wall actually dismounted beside me, but for a very different reason, she had broken her pedal and was out of the race. I secretly hoped this would happen to me so as to avoid myself the embarrassment, but the race went on. Tory Thomas forged ahead early through a private swamp land, and after 1hour of racing Jenni King and I were 2 minutes in arrears. After 2hours, I caught sight of Tory on a sealed road and pulled my finger out for 20minutes to regain contact. For the next 3 hours we would remain within 15 seconds of each other, I would miss a feed and go 2hrs without water, and Tory would do everything she could to escape me on the technical sections.

The beauty of MTB’ing for the leader, is that the chaser doesn’t often see more than 5 seconds in front of them. Sometimes I thought I was chasing a massive gap, then we would hit a straight stretch and she would be in view so I would chase harder. But most of the time, out of sight was out of mind. So over the last 10kms while I was physically in ruins, I gave up and accepted my second place podium, not knowing Tory was merely 30 seconds up the track. As I rode my final berms I heard the commentator announce Tory the victor, and I was grateful for the fact because it meant I was almost home. So even though I lost the Australian Championships by just two minutes after 5.5hours of racing, and despite eyeing off Tory’s cheque for twice the amount of mine on the podium ($2000), even discounting the fact that I’m both mentally and physically drained and am consequently suffering the flu, I am happy. For the first time in my life I was able to lose, and still be happy.

So in contrast to my regular speech where I would usually thank the AIS and the VIS etc. I instead thanked Moroni’s bikes for their support, where more specifically I should mention Pete for loaning me a MTB and everything else associated with it, and Mark, who is slowly becoming somewhat of a manger to me! I thanked the participants, as opposed to the competitors because it’s those who do it for the love of it that help to create a truly unique atmosphere. And of course I thanked the volunteer marshals, many who gave up the opportunity to compete so the race would run smoothly…and that it did! I did however forget to thank Jarrod; for getting me on a MTB in the first place, MYER; for giving me a source of income and another challenge in my life, and my parents; who already know that I appreciate their support over the years but maybe don’t hear me say it often enough =)

Women's Race highlights can be viewed here.
Men's Race highlights can be viewed here.

And results here and here.
And speeches.
And photos plus more photos and even more photos!

Photo 1 courtesy of Akuna Photography
Photo 2 courtesy of Russ Baker
Photo 3 courtesy of Leeanne Mullens

Saturday, 20 June 2009


After spending 10 days in Bendigo, I decided it was time to make the 4 hour trek home on Monday, not without the added bonus of peak hour traffic through Melbourne...yay (sarcastic)! The following day I decided to go for a lazy hour, but instead came across local cyclists Sam, then Darren, then Shannon, and after three hours realised that it's just not possible to perform secret training anymore! To relieve myself of the difficulty of completing a recovery ride, I followed up with a massage, and ruined all of that with my favorite pastime...gym...another sarcastic yay! While in town I was adamant to catch up with some friends that were quickly becoming strangers, so Darren, Shaun, Niall and I treated ourselves to a 10 course Italian Siesta feast. I didn't have time to ponder the delicious meal, because once again I was headed back to Bendigo...

I found myself with what I call 'driving legs' on Saturday morning, which simply means dead, lifeless limbs. So I hit the road for 40 minutes, most of which I free-wheeled, in preparation for the Metropolitan Road Championships that afternoon. As I was driving to the host location of Newstead (a small town outside of Castlemaine with a population of less than 500), it started to rain, so immediately I turned the car around and headed back to Bendigo. Less than a kilometer later, having convinced myself that I was weak, I directed myself back to race start. I seemed to be the only one with perhaps a brain?..because I was apprehensive of the weather. As the girls were warming up in spitting rain, I got dressed, fed and oiled up in the back of my car, before rolling to the line for a 1pm start.

The pace was casual enough for conversation for the first ten kilometers, before Chloe McConville asked if I would like to 'mix things up'. Of course, I politely replied 'no thank you', and watched as the first attack of the day was chased immediately. Through the second string of climbs on the circuit gaps began to form. Stephanie McGrath and Chloe found themselves with a small 20m lead, and as the girls were suffering I decided that this was the time to 'go'. I attacked with Jo Hogan on my wheel, picked up our two recruits, and the rest is history. Two laps later, when Steph, Chloe, Jo and I had been rolling through turns for 60kms, I had another change of heart, and decided that it had been WAY too early to 'go'. Despite the distance, it had been a great break-away group with a shared work load helping us to catch the U19 boys who had started 5 minutes in front!

Into the third lap we were given a 3 minute time gap. Jo then lost contact as Steph punished us up the climb, but despite her efforts a three up sprint prevailed. Steph led it out (by mistake) giving Chloe and I a drag race to the line. I had a sudden burst of freshness to take the win (pictured top), with Chloe a close second (above right), Steph third (above left) and Jo holding out for fourth. Nicole Whitburn finished a fabulous fifth after spending the majority of the day solo. When a gossip de-breif during warm down had taken place, I posed for presentations, hand picked a t-shirt from race sponsors A'qto and got the hell out of there! Within the hour I had arrived in Bendigo and am now headed to Melbourne with MTB's in tow. Now no more typing for me, I need to save my energy for the 6hr Solo MTB Enduro that Jarrod and I are racing tomorrow. Idiotic? It's very questionable...

Results: Metropolitan Road Championships, Newstead, 90km Road Race

Photo 1 and 3 courtesy of Arnaud Domange Photography
Photo 2 courtesy of Jarrod Partridge at jxpphotography

Monday, 15 June 2009


After the effects of the Tour had worn off, it was time to get back on the bike. I had decided to spend the week in Bendigo, and as a result, saw myself borrowing Pete Moroni's MTB on Wednesday morning to join Jarrod and the boys for a casual ride. As if I wasn't holding the boys up enough with my lack of bike skill and useless climbing abilities, I was having some serious problems with my road shoes thanks to the downpour of rain overnight. When it was over, I was so unbelievably grateful :) In comparison, my power profile test at the VIS the following day was like a god send! Despite consuming fish and chips for dinner and four(!) bowls of coco-pops for breakfast, my results weren't half bad. My results show that I've retained a great base fitness, but my pure power is very much lacking. Luckily pure power isn't that highly required in a handicap...

As Jarrod and I drove to Creswick it wasn't raining, but that was probably the only thing that went right all day. I rolled off in the 18 minute bunch, turning the first corner of the 44km circuit to face a 4km climb. With three laps to race, it was understandable that I was a tad nervous when our rather large group of 25 dwindled to 16 immediately. Strong cross winds saw us catch the 35 minute limit markers after 60k, so as the second lap came to a close I began to contemplate the possibility that we wouldn't be caught. At that moment, while feeling great, karma kicked in and I suffered a puncture! With CSV races not providing spare wheels, I decided to rim my Bouwmeester to the finish in search of the Moroni's van and a training wheel. When the van was nowhere to be found, I assumed that Jarrod had withdrawn from the race. As the rain started to come down, I jumped in a commissaire car in the hope of finding him somewhere on the road...

Instead, after watching the leaders splinter on the climb, my car was allocated to follow the one and only woman left in the handicap, Radele Berriman. When I arrived at the finish 15 minutes after the race had finished, Jarrod (pictured above) was sleeping in the van, having ridden 4kms, enjoyed lunch in Ballarat and completed a spot of shopping! I was emotional to say the least! When we arrived home, it was straight to the pub to feed my hollow stomach and celebrate Jarrod's newly announced retirement. After many hours of celebration, and very very little sleep, I fronted to the Inglewood Classic Club Race the following morning. To cut a long story short, I was put off 7 minutes, saw nothing but scratch flying past me, and spent the remainder of the day in a hunger flat state...not recommended!

Results: 50th Creswick 'Fred Icke' Road Race, 133km Handicap

Tuesday, 9 June 2009


Recovering from the Bendigo 6hr MTB Race took longer than expected. I spent five days back home in Traralgon and I’d only clocked 40kms on the roadie, which now felt a little odd with it’s rounded handlebars, STI levers and a smooth riding surface. So when I returned to Bendigo on the Friday to start yet another weekend, it wasn’t dirt and grease that needed cleaning off my celeste green Bianchi, but a rag to wipe the cobwebs. I suffered through the local ‘7’s bunch’ on Saturday morning, apprehensively rolling turns before grovelling home on the back, then fronted for my second Bendigo Club Classic on Sunday, from Marong to Wedderburn. There seems to be some sick rumour going around that states I have some form, so the handicappers put me back from 14 minutes to 11 minutes for the 75km adventure. I was racing ‘fresh’, which felt really good for the first 60kms, and not that great for the final 15!

This past week was also spent at home. On Wednesday I went with my sister Kerry to another of her midwife appointments to hear the heartbeat of her baby girl. She is already huge, in a good pregnant way of course (pictured above) and is not due until August! I can’t wait until August is upon us, because it will signal the final of the winter months, something I’m complaining about already and we’re only 9 days in! The weather, aside from cold on Thursday, was pleasant for riding so I ventured up and over Mount Tassie to witness, for the first time since Black Saturday, the devastation caused by the raging bushfires. As I rode past mounds of burnt memories, I recalled the stories of homes and lives lost. We were hit hard in Traralgon South and surrounding bush lands, damaging over 250 homes and ending 11 lives. A bake fest did it’s best to take my mind off it all, with hedgehog, carrot cake, banana and chocolate muffins preparing me for the weekend.

Those that keep an eye on my calendar would assume that I spent half the long weekend just gone in Wagga Wagga, and subsequently, the other half spent driving to and from the border town out whoop whoop. But instead, it’s Tuesday morning and I’ve woken with a small yet evident headache after celebrating the conclusion of the 3 Day ‘Golden Square Hotel’ Tour of Bendigo. It’s not hard to believe that I ended up in Bendigo, as they struggle to keep me away at the best of times. What they couldn’t keep away was the torrential rain. Nevertheless, the tour attracted 90 starters, with 23 in A grade, 26 in B grade and a massive 38 in C grade. It would be a sprinters tour with large time bonuses of 15-12-10 for the 11 intermediate sprints on the road, and finish bonuses of 20-16-12 for the five mass start stages. With prize money only given out for General Classification, it was going to be a case of ‘who finishes-wins money’…

Saturday saw a late 1pm start to Stage 1 out at Newbridge. B Grade were set for two varying size laps toward Dunolly that allowed for two intermediate sprints over 80.3kms. I didn’t contest the first as I feared for my life in the wet, and after contesting the second, concluded that maybe sprint bonuses weren’t going to come my way this tour! It was pissing rain and it was freezing… I was beginning to find winter a little demotivating. A group of five forged a 30 second lead that fell to within 10 by the finish. I rolled in for 12th, leaving me 12th on GC while John Macague (Bendigo CC), stage winner, donned the yellow. In A grade, the stage was won by Tim Decker (Titans) in attacking fashion (pictured below in yellow), with Bendigo Club Champion James Ibrahim becoming one of four victims in a nasty crash just kilometres from the line.

Sunday morning presented all grades with a 72.2km Road Race from Woodstock-Newbridge-Melville Caves, finishing atop a 2km climb. The stage incorporated two sprints along the way that were claimed by those in a two man escape. Their attempts were spoilt when the catch was made on the final climb that saw a Ballarat unknown ride to victory. Nick Moroni would wear yellow (below) after claiming third, while I was quietly satisfied and physically suffering after finishing fourth. The rain held off again for the afternoon stage that saw us race directly back from Melville Caves-Woodstock, totally 44.5kms with a nurturing tailwind. Just the one sprint made for a fast paced 45km/hr session, but somehow a solo escapee, once again from Ballarat, managed to stay away for the win! A grade stages were claimed by Mark O’Brien (Drapac) and Jamie Crass (Titans) in early breaks, with James Mowatt (MTB’er Ballarat) stripping Decker of his leader’s jersey.

Monday bought more cold weather, this time it also bought wind as we raced around the local Emu Creek circuit. Wes Steel (Titans) made use of the tough conditions, spending over 30 of the 69kms solo, taking sprint bonuses while he could. Meanwhile, the bunch were being disciplined by the commissaires…when we slowed for a cow on the road, Darren Strauch (Bendigo CC) attacked and was told to re-join the chasers. When another Bendigonian stole a solo victory, he was relegated for attacking over the white lines in the final 2kms. I was involved in the chasing and even a few attacks today, my legs having finally warmed up after Saturday’s torrential weather. My lack of power however, was still letting me down during the all important sprints. Starting the day in seventh meant that an aggressive criterium was needed if I was keen to win some money!

The final stage was more to my liking, a 60 minute kermesse around Mayfair Park incorporating four sprints and an uphill finish. It was a hard start to the stage, yet it took a whole half hour to involve myself in a five man break. I finished fifth on both the stage and the tour, while the jersey changed hands for the final time to youngster Todd Schintler (Cycle Concepts), a deserving winner! I was happy with my final day but will be seeking some much needed form in the next few weeks. Jamie Crass (Titans) took his second stage win in A grade, while Tim Decker (Titans) bridged the gap to seal the Tour. The only sour note? When Jarrod was fined $100 for mouthing off to the officials in regards to the clearly evident team racing that took place. Where the program states “No teams racing. Riders offending will be penalised” Maybe they meant to write “We utterly and completely encourage the unjust aspect of teams racing”…

Sunday, 24 May 2009


It was only seven weeks ago that I stepped onto my first real mountain bike (opposed to the $150 Kmart model I was given for my 11th birthday). Courtesy of Jarrod, I was perched on a Dual Suspension Ninety-Six Carbon Team-D Merida valued at over $10,000...just to complete a social ride! Since then, I have been on a MTB only once, and that was to race the BMC 100kms, or more accurately 'hunger flat' just 40kms in and grovel home. So today, although I am yet to purchase a mountain bike, MTB shoes, MTB gloves or anything associated with a MTB, I competed in the Bendigo 6hr MTB Race. My application came about due to boredom, and that is why an impulsive click led to a somewhat apprehensive solo entry...

To me, it was more of a 'ride' than a 'race', which still doesn't excuse my poor preparation. Firstly, I slept in. While eating my four weet-bix smothered in honey and a tub of sugar, I placed my still damp kit in the dryer...the thought of 6hrs in a wet chamois didn't really tempt me! I prepared just the one drink bottle filled with water, threw the Merida in the car and took off to the petrol station to purchase chocolate muffins, Mars Bars and Allen's snakes for race food. Amazingly, Jarrod's hand drawn map didn't get me lost on the way to Cavagna's Road, which was timely because registration was closing as I ran to the tent. I was racing under my lucky number 54, hoping that luck was on my side today for 6hrs of racing around a 9km circuit, comprising of a lot more single track than I had anticipated...

The whole MTB scene is new to me. People bought tents and chairs and tables and pre-mixed drinks and food etc. as most competitors were participating as a member of a team. At the conclusion of each lap you must dismount, walk past the timing tent, then you are free to tag your partner, take on food and drink, and in my case fault on re-mounting on every attempt to lift my leg over the rather large Merida frame. I wish three things. First, that I had been prepared with a pump and tube for the 'what if I puncture' situations. Second, that I hadn't found the time to moisturise my arms, legs and face this morning, because despite only crashing on three occasions I was sporting a full body mud mask. Third, that Jarrod hadn't removed the small chain ring from his Merida (this wish came after 4hrs).

I went unscathed in my first two laps, simply enjoying the track for the lovely, rocky, dusty terrain that god had provided me with, and trying to pace myself for the 6hrs of riding that was to come. I went into the third lap with a 21sec advantage over second placed solo woman Jessica Douglas; Australian 24hour MTB Champion, and was sure I had gone out too hard when people started passing me back just one hour in! I became suspicious when I was losing control of the bike of every sandy corner, and even more suspicious when a marshal yelled to me that I had a front wheel puncture. I failed to recognise the dilemma because a flat tyre and suspension feel the same to me...or maybe I didn't want to identify the problem because of the whole 'I don't have a tube or pump and I'm a blonde' remarks that would no doubt follow.

Jess was the first to stop and offer her services, but it was James from Castlemaine who not only stopped and gave me his tube and canister, but changed the puncture for me! Thank you! I went through the next time check 3.46min in arrears and spent the next two laps chasing hard to bring the gap back to 3 seconds as we neared the 3hour mark. I rode the next three laps steady, stopping every lap to refuel on water, coke, mars bars and the occasional oiling of the chain. I was getting used to the course and my legs still felt great, but in the back of my mind I knew my motivation was coming to an end. I had given myself eight laps as a target for the day, but unfortunately that landmark came prior to five hours in the saddle, dammit!

The last hour was a painful one. My hands were cramping, my forearms bruised, I had a blister on the back of my left heel, and I won't even begin to describe the condition of my arse! I spent my time in conversation with passing cyclists, enjoying the ride and taking in the scenery for everything it was worth (despite the fact I'd passed it ten times). I completed 10 laps in 5hrs50min, and immediately wished I had ridden 10minutes slower so that I didn't feel compelled to start another. A 13 minute unassailable lead meant that I had claimed my first ever MTB win, but regardless, I challenged a final lap. You could say I lost on that challenge when I punctured yet again! Finally, after 6hrs 28min 43sec I dismounted my bike for the final time. There wasn't the expected assault of bodily pain I had subsided while I took a moment to appreciate the people, the food, the atmosphere, and the satisfaction that is MTB'ing :)

Results: Bendigo 6hour MTB, Cavagna's Track

Photos 1 and 3 courtesy of Akuna Digital Imaging
Photos 2, 4 and 5 courtesy of Russell

Sunday, 19 April 2009


I have been anxiously awaiting today for two weeks, excited about the second edition of the BMC 100km Classic that would double as my very first MTB race :) I was excited about today...until today actually arrived. Jarrod and I drove to the race through thick fog, drizzling rain and cloudy skies. We were running on schedule until arriving in Cammeray Waters, Woodend (60km NW of Melbourne), at the same time as 1200 other competitors! After a dirt road traffic block, an extended wait for an unhygienic portable toilet, and collection of race numbers and transponders, I donned my kit in embarrassment. I had entered the Elite Category, was racing in my Jayco VIS gear, and was sporting, once again, a Dual Suspension Ninety-Six Carbon Team-D Merida MTB (this time courtesy of Ronnie McCulloch)...what if people wrongly assumed I was good?!

The 100km adventure was to be raced through the Wombat State Forest, combining three loops over varying terrain. Race kick-off was delayed by half an hour, having the 635 athletes tackling the 100km course on the line until 7:30am. When racing did start, I was thankful I had positioned myself toward the front, because the first section over fire roads was absolute mayhem. I was in my comfort zone for mere minutes before hitting the first section of single track. Immediately people were wanting to pass, and a combination of poor bike skill and nerves soon saw me wrap myself around a tree! Trees were the least of my worries when I unclipped through a patch of mud... For the remaining six hours I found myself stopping at regular intervals to find stray sticks (not hard in the bush) to clean out my cleats.

There were many other things I wasn't used to...dirt, logs, rocks and nobody said anything about bridges! But perhaps my biggest hinderence was self inflicted. Racing in long fingered gloves was a new occurrence for me, and feeding wearing long fingered gloves was something I simply couldn't do. After three hours of riding I had drunk half a bottle of water and eaten absolutely nothing, and began to suspect I was hunger flatting when I starting taking wrong turns and flattening small trees at every second corner! The thought that the arduous single track section was behind me was the only thing that kept me sane through to the second support stop at 65kms, where I found myself sculling litres of sports drink and inhaling jellybeans until the bowl was empty.

By this time I had found a friend in Daniel Doherty; a younger guy who was leading me through the technical single tracks and waiting for me after every crash, of which there were many! At first I appreciated the 'kilometers to go' countdown he was giving to the finish, but every time I asked, I only made myself more emotional. As a female, I was grateful to have somebody to complain to, because physically my legs were smashed, mentally my head had rolled off, and had I known where the hell in the bush I was I may have been headed for a DNF. Of all the bike races I have done, including every training ride I have ever endured, this experience was by far my most challenging. Time has never passed so slowly...

When Daniel informed me the finish was near, an elated smile crossed my face and remained for hours. I was covered in mud, starving for a sausage in bread and more than ready to get out of my knicks! Jarrod had been finished for two hours and was waiting for me when I crossed the line, whether it was for congratulations and support, or for the complimentary beer I received that he was eying off...I'm not quite sure. Of the 653 starters, 91 were classed DNF. I finished 202nd, giving me eight in the Elite Women's category (aka 'last'). I'm not all that phased about my result, because MTB'ing is more than a race, it's an achievement and an experience...that I think I have fallen in love with :)

Results: Overall: BMC 100km Classic, Woodend, Cammeray Waters

Photos courtesy of Aurora Images

Saturday, 10 January 2009


My three recovery days prior to the Australian Road Championships (video) went quickly. The first was spent unpacking, the second in Melbourne processing my VISA for the upcoming Beijing Track World Cup, and my third was spent in complete mayhem! I had planned to arrive in Buninyong on Friday afternoon in time for coffee with friend Bec Thyne BUT I had remembered that morning that I had flooded my car headlights, and after buying replacement globes that turned out to be completely incompatible with my car, I had decided to simply restrict my driving to daylight hours. Then I realised that I had left my race wheels at my girlfriend Shannon’s house, and when I went to retrieve them, I was not only told that her Mum had taken them to work with her, but that her Dad could fix my lights as he is an auto electrician. An hour later, I didn’t have my wheels, my lights weren’t working and now…my car wouldn’t even start! Eventually…I arrived in Buninyong :)

I was hardly committed to winning the U23 Australian Road Title today. I’d skipped on an early morning pre-start, spent the morning washing my bike with make-up remover wipes and could possibly have been seen buying a ham and cheese roll from the bakery 10 minutes prior to race start…hmm. It’s not that I didn’t WANT to be Australian Champion (who doesn’t right?), it’s more that my recent training has been structured around bigger aspirations later in my season, so I doubted that my power alone, with little aerobic fitness, would get me to the finish. I was taking a more laid back approach to the race assuming that I’d manage to conquer the climb about five times today, so to up the stakes and motivate me somewhat, I started a beneficiary system with Sarah Kent. It said that for every lap completed, a certain amount of alcohol had been earned for tonight…little did I know that we would both end up on the podium (pictured below)!

The 70 starters rolled out at a rather leisurely pace, maybe knowing that only 30 would be able to call themselves finishers today. This particular 102km race, on a circuit (profile) to be completed ten times, doesn’t necessarily lend itself to a Sunday pedal around the park. As you head out left through the finishing banner you're faced with a 1.5km steady hill that doubles as our feeding zone, another left and a more difficult 1.5kms of climbing sees you crest the QOM. Undulations continue for 3km before a final 4kms of descending to the finish, totaling 10.2kms. I was positioned toward the back for the first four laps savoring all the mental and physical energy I could, surprised that I was still intact with the bunch at all! But my legs felt good, and as the race wore on they only felt better. I was comfortable on the flats and climbing like…well a hill climber (pictured below following Tiff Cromwell and leading Kent and Myfanwy Galloway on lap 10).

The pace progressed on the fifth lap, but numbers didn’t start to dwindle until Myfanwy Galloway (ACTAS) led up the climb on lap six, serving as a launching pad for the aggressors. The main aggressor namely Alexis Rhodes (SASI) who attacked on the second section of the climb on lap seven, putting the 18 girls remaining in the peloton on the back foot while she gained a 40 second advantage. I attacked on the back straight with Sarah Kent (WAIS) following suit half a lap later, but it was obvious that SASI didn’t want to give away their U23 title quite that easily. We faced the headwind again on lap 9 up the dreaded climb, and this time Carla Ryan began her title campaign, attacking and taking the four strongest climbers with her in Ruth Corset (QAS), Nikki Butterfield (QAS), Vicki Whitelaw (ACTAS) and Sharon Laws (VIC). This would be the deciding move and I had missed it.

A small chase group of Cromwell (SASI), Carlee Taylor (SASI), Shara Gillow (QAS) and myself evolved and then, despite my initial predictions on the day, I was after more than just a finish. I mustn’t have been the only one because in a group of four U23 riders, nobody wanted to do the chasing and eventually our group swelled to eleven. As we passed under the finishing banner to start our final circuit, the time difference to the lead bunch was a mere 20 seconds. Ryan, sensing the danger, attacked again on the climb and this time would stay away for a solo victory. Forty seconds in arrears was Corset and Butterfield taking out the minor placings, and another forty seconds later I would become Australian U23 Road Champion (pictured above…no salute!). I've been chasing a road title for quite some time but never thought today would be 'it'. Kent finished second with Cromwell third (pictured above). Now Sarah and I have to go and uphold our ends of the bargain :)

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

* Images courtesy of

Wednesday, 7 January 2009


My first week of racing in the New Year has so far been marred by bad misfortune and ill circumstance, and yesterday was no exception. It marked the fifth and final day of racing and with an evening start time of 6:30pm, Chloe and I had a whole day to waste. Our predicted long morning ride turned into one hour plus an iced chocolate and pastries, followed by what turned out to be an epic excursion to the car wash. After an hour of driving we resorted to calling locals, bound for a car wash (pictured below) that we had already driven past, where I spent $20 and two hours vacuuming dog hair off my back seat, scrubbing the bugs off the bonnet of my car and subsequently flooding the globes in my front head lights! When it finally came time to race my arms were beginning to feel the effects of the car wash…not the best mental edge when you have to accelerate from a stand-still a predicted 80 times.

It was stifling hot when racing kicked off, and after a few laps around the 800m hot-dog circuit I remembered why this wasn’t my most loved course; crashes. Butterfield was the first casualty on the crash list with Broun also suffering some down time. The bunch propped while they enjoyed two laps out and remained that way until the first of two sprints. After the first intermediate sprint I hit through the finish line, into the corner, and glided through the exit…on my arse, with Broun once again in tow. After two laps out, dusting off dirt and bloody grazes I felt just fine, so it was back on the attack, once again solo (pictured below) as I struggled to find anyone keen to be a breakaway companion. This time I was away for 15 minutes gaining an advantage of 15 seconds and feeling strong. When GC threats were becoming obvious, the chase began.

As the bunch started to thin from behind another crash took place, bringing Broun’s tally to six laps out. With many re-joined riders entering the race ahead of the peloton, my time gap was bought back to mere seconds and any break-away hopes crushed. I hung on to the girls for the seven minutes that remained, grovelling in for 8th, leaving me with 4th on GC and 3rd in the points classification. Honestly, I had no hopes for a GC placing and was simply out to win the final stage. Any entertainment provided to the crowd was a bonus, and any result gained an extra. After a late dinner I drove the four hours home to Traralgon returning at 1am…without headlights after my flooding incident! I’m starting to think that my luck is due to change soon, so I’m hoping it does so in the next two days, because Friday I am bound for Buninyong, on the outskirts of Ballarat in Victoria, to suffer through the Australian Road Race Championships, key word…“suffer”.

Results: Jayco Bay Series, Stage 5, Ritchie Blvd
Results: General Classification, Points Classification

* Images courtesy of

Monday, 5 January 2009


The morning of stage 3 marked the annual ‘Amy’s Ride’ in support of the Amy Gillett Foundation, so our team headed out for a pedal with the hundreds of supporting riders. Despite a lengthy distance, I pulled up well and felt like I had the form of my life that afternoon around the Eastern Park long circuit. With newly surfaced roads it is now my favourite course, so I was determined to race hard and therefore found myself attacking solo in the opening minutes. As I stayed out of trouble off the front, the race began to unfold behind and 15 minutes in, a small group including Goss, Nikki Butterfield (Skilled) and Tomic were making contact. A massive crash back in the peloton then caused a halt in proceedings and as Megan Dunn (NSWIS) was taken away in an ambulance with a suspected broken collar bone, we waited on the start line, our race time ticking away to 25 minutes.

Protests began when the decision was made to re-start the race as a bunch, allowing even withdrawn riders to re-join, and in the end I didn’t care for the bickering, I simply wanted to get on with the racing. Within 10 minutes the field had again diminished due to the relentless pace set by the Skilled (pictured above) team. With the lap countdown starting, it was Goss and Butterfield still trying to break free as 20 girls remained in contention for the finish. Amy Cure (TIS) set the pace up the back straight before Rowena Fry (TIS) hit out strong into the uphill finishing straight. The chasers ran out of road before the finish, myself included, coming over Kirsty to finish 2nd in the stage. My first ever Jayco Bay Series podium pushed me to 3rd on GC =) So that night, I attended the concurrent charity auction, celebrating my result with a drink!

Stage 4 was held at the gruelling waterfront location in Portarlington, with the first 20 minutes proving sedate despite a rather nasty climb. It seemed everybody was waiting for the favourites to dictate the race until youngsters Myfanwy Galloway (Mazda) and Lauren Kitchen (NSWIS) shook up the proceedings with solo attacks. Any attempt to cross to the front, or any bout of aggression on my behalf (pictured above) saw a rapid chase from behind, resulting in a 10-up sprint for the finish. Coming into bell lap Butterfield attacked, sitting up when cresting the top of the climb. As she did, Broun swung right, taking down Goss and my VIS team-mate Kath O’Shea. After running over Goss’ back wheel and unclipping my foot I was out of the race. Broun, Chloe Hosking (Mazda) and Butterfield had already crossed the line when I rounded the final corner. I managed to chase back to 5th, demoting me to 4th on GC.

Results: Jayco Bay Series, Stage 3, Eastern Beach (Short Course)
Results: Jayco Bay Series, Stage 4, Portarlington

* Images courtesy of

Saturday, 3 January 2009


One day was hardly enough recovery time between New Year Celebrations and my first race of 2009, the Jayco Bay Series Classic. I had taken New Year’s day off the bike to rid myself of the foreign bodies still in my system. I couldn’t eat or drink, let alone exercise, so when ASADA pulled me aside after the first day of racing it was no surprise that my dehydrated body took three hours to produce a blood and urine sample! While driving to Williamstown I couldn’t help but feel like a seasoned veteran upon realising that these are indeed my fifth Bay Series; my fourth with the Victorian Institute of Sport. This year I lined up alongside team-mates Chloe McConville, Kath O’Shea and Jo Wall under the expertise and guidance of team manager Stuart McKenzie (our team was immediately down to four starters when Helen Kelly became a casualty to sickness).

Prior to race start I was persuaded into conducting not only an interview but a pre-race tactical lap. I realise that I just labeled myself a veteran of these criterium’s, but that doesn’t mean I have the media wit to describe the tactical features of every circuit! As if god had heard my reservations, I was then talked into doing some mid-race commentary and I’m hoping that somewhere among the swearing and panting I actually had something useful to say! Considering my initial expectations for the day, I found the stage a bit of a breeze. Josie Tomic (WAIS) launched off the front to take a solo stage win with Chloe the only rider of the remaining 15 game enough to attempt an unsuccessful bridge. Coming into the final round-about I was following the wheel of Belinda Goss (TIS), who pulled her foot and left us chasing up the back straight, but nevertheless I finished 6th.

Similarly to last year, I am housed at the ‘Chiefly’ along Geelong’s waterfront. This time I am rooming with Chloe and sharing a king size bed, a minor detail we are willing to overlook while enjoying the comforts of our very own spa and washing machine in a bathroom bigger than my bedroom! After a night of stealing the covers we were ready for stage 2, held on the long circuit in Eastern Park, Geelong. I chose to follow the moves today and save my attacking legs for tomorrow, knowing that the straight forwardness nature of today’s circuit leans heavily toward a bunch kick finish. Despite being present in many promising breakaway combination's, my tactical predictions were right, which will prove a good thing when my tactical laps go to air! My legs have seen better days so I was satisfied with 4th, watching on as Kirsty Broun (MB Cycles) claimed stage victory and the yellow jersey.

Results: Jayco Bay Series, Stage 1, Williamstown
Results: Jayco Bay Series, Stage 2, Eastern Beach (Long Course)

* Images courtesy of

Thursday, 1 January 2009


Bendigo (video) signaled the fourth day of racing and the South Australians had chosen to boycott in dispute over the lack of an on-site Ambulance; racing was suspended on numerous occasions during the juniors program to call in three Ambulances for crash victims. We started the night with a 7 lap motor paced scratch race where I finished second to Sam Wood (WA), then handicap heats once again took out our back marker power, and despite leading out Shan in the final we never came close to winner Hannah Bush off 110m. An interesting Keirin prevailed when Shan took Sam into the barriers on the final corner, allowing me to come underneath and steal victory, before our final race, a 12 lap points score, was changed to 6 lap scratch! I was shattered...but grateful to finish second to Hannah and head home for some recovery.

I made a late decision to head to Shepparton on New Years Eve for the final day of the Victorian Track Carnivals. I arrived at the track with Jarrod Moroni and Andrew Mason at 10am, assuming that racing started at 12 as the program had indicated, only to find that my first event would by at 4pm, with a twilight session scheduled for 7pm! After helping to assemble three 100-piece marquees for the officials (an emotionally challenging task) we decided to head into Shepparton to find something to pass the time. Ideas were thrown about until the decision was made to raid the local surf shop for some swimming attire. About $150 later we were on our way to a less than inviting water hole, and straight back to the velodrome where we sunbaked track-side until total dehydration set in.

To discuss racing in short…I ran third in a 9 lap motor pace, had an easy ride behind Nettie to win the Godfrey Family Omnium elimination, claimed second in the Keirin and managed second in a 12 lap graded points score…a difficult task when some are given a 10 point buffer! My proudest moment came in the 2000m handicap, starting as back marker off 10m with Nettie. Numbers were down so a straight final was run, and after winning my only handicap in Leongatha 5 years ago off 160m, I have finally taken line honours! Nettie got one back on me in the final scratch race that even a photo finish camera couldn’t split! Before racing concluded we had packed up camp in preparation for a quick departure, allowing New Years celebrations to start on the drive home =) I now look forward to starting the Jayco Bay Classic with some form tomorrow, albeit with a mighty headache...

Results: Bendigo Track Carnival
Results: Shepparton Track Carnival

* Images courtesy of Fyxomatosis Photography