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