I thought that I would struggle to back up following Saturdays Road Race. A three-up 100km breakaway followed by an 85km handicap was surely not the return to racing my body had asked for. But being slightly off the pace meant there was no pressure to perform, and so I went into the race just wanting to get a good session out of the day, and head home to start the final block for Timor.
As per usual, I really struggled through the first few kilometres, but before too long I was rolling through with our 17-strong bunch. We had 5 minutes to the chase, and a total of 9 minutes back to ‘block’ that consisted of my pre-race favourite, partner Jarrod Moroni, who was really enjoying himself pictured below...waving (shakes head). However when both bunches caught us just 40kms into the race, I conceded immediately that scratch wouldn’t be too far behind.
As the day was in aid of training, I continued to swap turns with the swelling bunch of nearly 50 riders in the crosswinds, and although as the day progressed so did the pain, it was made bearable knowing that Timor was looming in the near future. I fell back through the field over the climb and took my time getting to the roll-over. By now all four girls, Miranda, Flick, Kristy Glover and I were now helping with the pace-making and thoughts of todays victory became a little more realistic. Eventually the time gaps back to scratch plateaued and the wind began to gust. Within the final 10kms, when I thought my next turn would be my last, I eased to the back of the bunch for a rest only to find the bunch had dwindled to 18 and I was the sole female remaining! Flick would finish second and Miranda in third.
My excitement turned to Jarrod when I realised that this would most certainly end in a sprint, and I was confident that he would smash it, not-biased at all! We hit the final straight and I sat up to watch the finish unfold. When Jarrod kicked, he gapped the field with ease, and a quick look over his shoulder told him that he had 20metres on the bunch. Unfortunately there is such a thing as a blind spot, and a rookie mistake of ‘freewheel to the finish’ saw him pipped on the line to finish second. I was devastated for him, even hollow in the stomach, but words needn’t be said as he was hard enough on himself about losing out in that way.
But looking ahead to bigger things, and I can now say that in two weeks time I will be standing on the start line at the Tour De Timor. It has been an up and down five weeks since returning from America, but it’s obvious to me that the form is still there, all-be-it hidden behind the residue of sickness. I hope the next two weeks fly by because the preparation is starting to consume me!
Results: San Miranda Hanicap
Garmin: Peta Mullens Handicap
Photos: Courtesy of Jo Upton Photography