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”…