Sunday, 26 May 2013


The past few days saw the introduction of the first ever NRS race in Adelaide (finally) and it went off with a blast! The three-day tour consisted of a 20km downhill TTT, a 103km Road Race (with some dirt sections) out Woodside, and finished with a 66km Kermesse held on the outskirts of the city. The Target TREK team line-up for the week had a world-class theme with the addition of previous Junior World Champions Ash Ankudinoff (NSW) and Kesley Robson (WA), accompanied by current aspiring Junior World representatives Ruby-Marie Greig-Hurtig (VIC) and Emily McRedmond (WA), plus of course…me!

Ash, me and Kelsey in the Gorge Road downhill Time Trial

After a patchy start which included me leaving my wallet at the Canberra airport, missing the compulsory Team Manager’s meeting and a $391 speeding fine thanks to yours truly Mr. Moroni, I was hoping for smooth sailing when the tour kick started. The TTT was my first ever, so I was grateful to have Ash on board who took control and drove the pace. We had two early causalities in Ruby then Emily, but managed to catch the composite team ahead of us before troubling myself with the final few pinches to the line. I was stoked with fifth place, which was an important result as GC would be close to set in stone with the format of the tour. Polygon won the stage ahead of VIS and Pensar-Hawk.

Tackling the gravel sections with ease..

I headed into Saturday’s road race a little apprehensive. I knew I had lost form since Mersey Valley, but was hoping the shorter gravel climbs wouldn’t cause too many problems. I tried to breakaway early but with everybody wanting to be part of a move it was clear that the ‘right combination’ would be difficult to obtain. I stayed toward the front for the climbs hoping that an opportunity might present itself, but short-lived spurts were unsuccessful for anything other than minor QOM points. But eventually the race lulled and Holden Racing took the initiative and formed the three main breaks of the day.

Amy takes an easy victory in the Road Race

Miranda Griffiths (Holden) was temporarily away with Sarah Roy (Bike Bug), followed by a solo attack by Lucy Coldwell (Holden). But Polygon never panicked and bought it all back together for the second QOM. I hit out early to claim maximum points and the QOM jersey, and not long after Sam De Riter (Holden) rode away solo. I expected the pure climbers to hit out hard on the final two pinches, but instead the pressure to catch Sam was only enough to dwindle the 70 odd down to 20 in the hunt for a tailwind downhill kamikaze finish. I was in great position but my sprinting form only landed me in 6th. A classy win was taken by yellow jersey holder Amy Cure (Polygon) ahead of Ruth Corset (Pensar) and Jenelle Crooks (Pensar).

" then my team-mate Sam totally knocked me off my bike!" lol

I loved the 3.3km kermesse circuit. There was a fast roundabout that I just HAD to bunny hop every lap, a right hander made technical by a traffic island and then a long 1km uphill haul to the line. The girls were aggressive so I made sure I was alert. I was happy to follow moves and wait for the right moment, but whenever I saw it, I hesitated and the moment was gone. Bec Wiasak decided to go it solo, and her group swelled for four, and then nine including teammate Ash and I missed all the action...have I lost my race nouse? I think so!

Leaders jerseys line up for the Kermesse
Me, Jess Mundy, Sam, Lucy and Amy

It was an amazingly exciting finish, with the break and bunch coming together in the final hundred meters! Bec and Ash held on to take the top two steps of the podium, while a hard chasing Cure came in third to claim the tour. I rolled in17th, disappointed with my effort, having lost the QOM jersey and any ounce of confidence I had pre-tour. I think I’ve forgotten how to risk losing a bike race in order to win one! Let’s just say that this 7hr drive home to Bendigo has been fairly quiet. I can’t wait to hit the dirt trails on the MTB tomorrow!

Lisa Jacobs and I try to break early in the Kermesse

Congratulations to Amy Cure of Polygon and ex-Bendigonian George Tansley of Euride on their tour victories, and a massive well done to Max Stevens and his team who ran an amazing race with sold out fields. Is there anything Adelaide don’t do well? Needless to say that twitter ran wild in support of this Tour and I know that it will be a prime race on the calendar next year. Hope to see you all there… :)

Thursday, 23 May 2013


I receive a lot of unwanted mail. Not just from online shopping websites, fly buys and ‘ways to enhance your sex life’, but also from things that I have subscribed to such as Katmandu, MTBA and specifically for this story, Cycling Victoria. It was odd for me to not automatically delete a monthly update email, let alone begin to read it, and eventually scroll to the last item, the bottom of the agenda you could say, to find out about a calcium study that was to take place at the Australian Institute of Sport.

The food hall at the AIS

I believe in fate and thought that maybe this was a sign. I had just started back racing the NRS after five years away, and thought that this ‘camp’ atmosphere might be my chance to re-discover any passion for road that might still linger. So I rang Eric Haakonssen, the physiologist in charge of the project (and what a massive project it was!) and booked myself a spot on camp. One week before scheduled departure I pulled a muscle in my back. Was this fate too?

'Fate' brought Sam and this magnificent Brownie together...

And so it goes that 31 girls arrived at camp on the Monday, rode out in freezing weather to Stromlo, and completed hill repeats before riding home in both rain and darkness. Thank god I missed that! I flew in on the Wednesday and played catch up by getting bloods taken, skin-folds, bone density scans, completing a skills session and following it up with a V02Max Test. It had been five years since I’d been on the ergo and I hadn’t missed it all that much… Hanging out with girls though? I had missed that..

Testing Day at the AIS Calcium Camp

Through the week I fronted for TTT efforts, complained about my back pain, sat in the van and watched the girls sprint up Black Mountain, flew to Cairns and back to launch the announcement of MTB World Cups coming down under and ostracised my mattress to the loungeroom in our apartment because I had fallen victim to the late night Giro D’Italia, early morning Tour of California and ALL NIGHT (on repeat) World Cup victories by MTB’ers Dan McConnell and Bec Henderson!

Example of binging food on pre-test days

So when Monday came I was undone and sick, which made for poor test results but an interesting study all the same. The purpose of the study was to measure the amount of calcium we lose through our sweat while exercising, and the effect this has on our bones as the calcium is drawn from them. We had two testing days whereby we were put on controlled ‘diets’ – I use this word because we were on rations and STARVING – in the 24hrs prior, with one ‘diet’ being significantly higher in calcium intake. This simply meant that we binged when not under control lol The test consisted of 80mins at 60% of V02 Max watts, followed immediately by a 10min Max TT, with no warm-up or down!

Sarah's eating arm...

They took bloods pre-breakfast, pre-test, during the test, after the test, after the ice-bath, pre-lunch, post lunch and pretty much all through the afternoon. It will take a long time for all of the samples to be tested and analyzed but I’m sure everyone will wait in anticipation for the report. What an amazing effort by the team, namely Laura in nutrition and Erik in Physiology and AIS coach Martin Barras for keeping us in line for the week. So today I will fly to Adelaide to start the third race in the NRS series starting tomorrow. The Tour of Adelaide should be a hoot! (It’s my new-old motto…)

Roomies - Sam De Riter, Liz Fitch and Jo Tralaggan

On a closing note, it was at 2am in the morning, while sleeping on my mattress in the lounge room that I realised how strong my passion is for MTB’ing, and how much I wished I was in Germany instead of Canberra (pretty sure that goes without saying!). This camp has convinced me that road is not for me, but also that not all road riders are douchebags. On camp I met the funniest girl ever in Alice Wallet, the coolest in Sarah, the most enthusiastic facial expressions in Brit Lindores, the unbelievably sweet Liz, the inspiring and very cute Jo, and of course the craziest of them all..Sam, of who’s pink hair I feel indirectly responsible for, but I love it! These girls make you happy just being in their company, but a big shout out to all 31 of you who made it my favourite camp ever at the AIS :)