Monday, 31 March 2014


Start: Laveno-Mombello, Varese, Italy
Finish: Cittiglio, Varese, Italy
Distance: 121km
Status: UCI World Cup - CDM
Team: Giorgia, Lotte, Mayuko, Sanchis, Linda and I
Staff: Franky, Jarrod, Pascal, Bart, Ben and Aaron from Cyclevox

With a line-up of sixteen girls on the Wiggle Honda list, including a mix of Olympic and World Champions, sometimes the hardest step in the race process is actually making the cut. For most races only six girls are selected, meaning ten girls are left sitting on the sidelines. Sometimes these odds are increased when certain riders opt out of races, but for the most of it we are working hard just to get a start. What is perhaps surprising is that this doesn’t affect the strong bond that each girl has with the one beside her. We encourage during training, support during racing and those that miss the cut tend to sit at home refreshing twitter, hoping that their teamies will have a great race.

Classic 'selfie'
Photo courtesy Gus Farmer

For me, I had performed well at GP Cornaredo pre-camp and subsequently earnt my spot in the team for the Binda World Cup. So after an early morning commute across Italy I was able to look at the course as we lapped around the finishing circuit of 17. The opening circuit left Cittiglio and ventured over the most significant climb of the day at 30km, with it's highest peak at the 43km mark. We then descended through to the finish and completed 5 laps of the finish loop. The entire course was either up or down and would make for a good day out as a climber. As a semi-climber I thought the course really suited me and although I was tired off the back of media camp, my legs felt good and I started to get excited.

Maybe too excited.. It was my job to cover the moves for the first half of the race and I maxed out at 190bpm three times in the first 30min! I was a mess. My heart rate was uncontrollable and so Sanchis and Gio were forced to take over my role as the climb approached. I tried to sit-in and rest but nothing changed. I was able to start the climb in the top 10 but slowly fell through the group while trying to control my heart rate. Mayuko and Sanchis sat comfortably on the front while I really dug deep to punch over the QOM and tack onto the back. Yes! I made it. Average 188bpm for 6min…oops.

Starting the climb- before my heart exploded
Photo courtesy

The peloton was now cut in half and I could only hope that my body would ‘fix’ itself on the way down. But instead of my expected recovery section when I thought I was at the peak, the hill kicked up steep from 1km, and then gradually eased off over the next two. Now I was in trouble. I was at the back and lost contact before the top. I tried not to panic because I knew I would be in good stead on the 7km descent and back into the bike race in no time. I wasn’t even taking risks when I took a left hand corner coming up on the back of a motorbike. I was gaining speed as he was losing it and as if in slow motion, he swung from the left hand side of the road to the right hand side and took out my front wheel! I tried to react but I had nowhere to go. Crash #1 of the season. What a dick..

I was so angry that someone could be so stupid and ignorant with no care for the safety of the riders, and then as I stood up he rode off! I screamed profanities while putting my chain back on and pushed off with the help of a spectator. I stopped again to adjust my brakes, and then a third time to straighten my bars. By now the Honda team car was here and Jarrod pushed me off. After a stint of motor pacing to get me back to a small group the car was on their way to the head of the bike race. I had lost over a minute and rolled through with about six girls including aussie Jessie MacLean, to the finish of the first circuit where we were pulled from the race.

Gio wins the sprint for minor points
Photo courtesy Bart Hazen

The damage to both my body and bike was minimal. I had a burn on my left shoulder, elbow and hip- plus a broken Look pedal and grazing on my Fizik saddle. I believe that I may have been on a ‘bad day’ anyway, but was still disappointed to have a World Cup end that way. I watched on as each lap a different combination of riders had a small advantage, the major move including our very own Mayuko! In the end it would all come back together and split on the final climb of the day. The main contenders put 50secs into the chase bunch that Gio lead home for a very credible 9th place- this girl can do it all!

Podium presentations are a celebration!
Photo courtesy

It was a long journey back to Buggenhout in Belgium. We hit the road at 6pm with 1031kms on the Navigation System. Two hours later we were in the high mountains, staring into the darkness at dense snow and long tunnels, and the nav man now said 1083kms. Go figure. We eventually made it back on track and stopped for dinner at 11pm (starving...hangry). By 1am I was worried that Jarrod would be tired and decided we stop for a sleep in the truck. So we pulled into a parking bay, one of hundreds on the route home, and coincidentally pulled up beside the Wiggle Honda team camper that our DS Franky was driving. So we stole the top bed, 4hrs sleep, and then hit the road home, finally pulling in at lunch-time and stealing another kip in the arvo…rooted! It was a very big 10 days away

Results: Via Cyclingnews
Garmin 510: Via Strava
Wiggle Honda Video: Via Cyclevox
Race Video: Via UCI Cycling

Sunday, 16 March 2014


'Happy Birthday' - this is my favourite quote from the team, a sarcastic response to things that they are not fans of. For e.g 30hrs of travel two days before a race, training when it's only 3 degrees outside, or when the UCI calendar presents three 140km+ races in four days! Yes, welcome to Europe- Happy Birthday to me..

I arrived in Belgium on Tuesday at our team house in Boogenhout where Jarrod and I will be based for most of the year. It was a long flight with a short stop-over in Dubai and London, and a sad ending when our MTB's didn't arrive at the airport- typical when I forgot to take out travel insurance. We spent the day at the shops, building bikes, making our new house a home, and of course in bed- trying to beat the old jet-lag. When we woke the next morning at 4am our bikes had arrived- phew!

On Wednesday we decided to pop into a nearby town for some more food and stumbled across an early-morning market. The air was brisk, the conversation scarce, and the smell of pastry filled the air. To me this was what I expected Belgium to be and I pinched myself that just two days ago I was in little ol' Bendigo. How special this bike riding game is..


Start: Dwingeloo, Netherlands
Finish: Dwingeloo, Netherlands
Distance: 139km
Status: UCI 1.2
Team: Giorgia, Bea, Emilia, Schnitzy, Emily and I
Staff: Franky, Jarrod and Pascal

Thursday = race day. We loaded into the truck and camper en route to Holland, but not without a bit of drama- flat battery in the truck- happy birthday. The estimated 2.5hr drive turned into 4hrs and we arrived at our hotel with just 90min to race start. It would be my first time racing in Holland which meant my first experience of 'dutch racing' and of course the all famous cobbles.

I wasn't nervous for the race itself, but I was very worried about the distance as my training of late has been very short and specific for the MTB. I was also nervous that I was unable to ride my very new Colnago C59 yesterday. With wider 'Deda' bars, a different 'Fizik' saddle, and the new style 'Look' pedals the bike felt all wrong when I rode it to the start-line, but there was no time to change anything and I would just have to make do.

At least the sun was out in Holland!
Photo courtesy Bart Hazen

Not surprisingly the race was flat but the wind was being kind today. We had four laps of a 6.5k circuit followed by a transition loop of 32k back to Dwingeloo for another five laps of an 11.6k circuit. The roads were quite narrow by my standards, with two cobbled sections of 3k and 2k in length, and a shit load of corners- it took me 24k to get to the front of the 127 rider field! I was spoilt to be sixth wheel when we hit the first cobbled section and somehow managed to sail over them. I was in a big gear, hands on the flat part of the bar and slightly off the wheel to allow for punctures, crashes or any other mistakes that girls seem to make. I was NOT crashing out of the race today.

On the second cobbled section things went sour for the team. Bea and Giorgia both had mechanicals on the second cobbled section, while Emily was caught behind the mayhem that is cobbles. Their bunch was sadly pulled from the race on the finishing circuit. Schnitzy, Emilia and I came out the other side unscathed and formed part of the lead bunch of 50. As the race went on I could feel the effects of jet-lag and lack of km's kicking in. A few breaks went and came back but we were present in none of them and attempted to lead Emilia out for the finish. She was mostly on her own to finish 8th and I sailed in for 24th. That's right folks- I finished my first European race as a Wiggle….go me :)

Results: Via CyclingNews
Garmin: Via Strava


Start: Hoogeveen, Netherlands
Finish: Hoogeveen, Netherlands
Distance: 146.6km
Status: UCI World Cup - CDM
Team: Giorgia, Lotte, Emilia, Schnitzy, Emily and I
Staff: Franky, Jarrod and Pascal

So here I was, the first World Cup of the year. I still wasn't nervous, only about my developing saddle sore from wearing fresh new 'dhb' kit everyday. It's like a new pair of shoes, you just have to wear them in first. The team was complete for racing when Lotte arrived, and it was into the camper again en route to Hoogeveen. Another field of 126 riders but with a few bigger names in the mix, and another four cobbled sections- 500m, 4km, 3km, 2km. Throw in three times up the Vamberg, a 500m man-made hill paved over a rubbish mound with sections up to 23% (this shows just how much Holland love their cycling) and we have a bike race.

I won't say too much about the race as I was barely in it. I had no impact on the team result and was merely a face in a crowd battling to survive. My legs were really heavy from Thursday and I failed to even get to the front as the bunch sprinted their way into the first cobbled section. I chased around girls as they dropped the wheel and when the vibration and numbing sensations were over I found myself in the second group with Emily and Schnitzy. The good news was that Emilia, Lotte and Giorgia had made lead bunch, but some hard chasing from behind saw the race come back together.

L-R: Mayuko, Bea, Emilia, Schnitzy, Giorgia, Emily, Lotte and I
Photo courtesy Bart Hazen

From here all hell broke loose. The race split into three groups- Giorgia bunch 2, the rest of us bunch 3. It was painful to know that she had no support up front and the girls chased so hard to try to make it back to her. I went back to the car for bottles but was so rooted that I never got to deliver them, instead drinking all four myself just to make it to the end. On the Vamberg our bunch split again and Schnitzy towed me to the finish. It was an epic day. Two epic days this week for me. In fact only 70 girls finished- I was 68th.

It's been six years since I raced in Europe and in that time I haven't even completed a whole domestic road season. It's also my first time in Holland, and on cobbles, and in a way it all feels new to me. Slowly I will learn, become stronger and my team will teach me what I need to know to help them win bikes races. Baby steps..

Results: Via CyclingNews
Garmin: Via Strava


Start: Coevorden, Netherlands
Finish: Coevorden, Netherlands
Distance: 140km
Team: Giorgia, Bea, Lotte, Emilia, Mayuko and Shell
Staff: Franky, Jarrod and Pascal

Today we remain in Holland for the third race this week. Only Giorgia and Emilia will complete the triple and I am thankful to have a day off the bike. I'm excited to join Jarrod and Franky in the race car to get an insight into what goes on in the convoy, while Schnitzy and Emily will travel in the camper with Pascal and be 'super swannys' for a day. Today's race sees riders go back over the Vamberg 'hill of rubbish' early in the piece, and then tackle EIGHT cobbled sections- as Schnitzy would say.. happy f***in' birthday!

Sunday, 9 March 2014


I had only been back on the MTB for three weeks, but mentally I felt like I’d been preparing for this race for months. Despite being the defending champion I felt no pressure to back-up my title- it was no secret that Olympian and U23 World Cup Champion Rebecca Henderson was the favourite and even I myself was in agreeance with that. The hardest thing for me was having belief in myself that I could not only beat her, but that I could do so on a course that suited her to a tee. Where would I trump her? Where was she weaker? No-where. I would have to have the perfect day just to make a race of it but I felt that I was ready for that.

Seeking rare shade in sunny Bright
Photo courtesy Russ Baker

I wanted no excuses. I don’t look for them and I feel that there is no reason to have them. So three weeks out Jarrod built me the best possible bike with top-of-the-line specs- a Bianchi Methanol 29er with Sram XX1, Rock Shox World Cup Sid forks, with an Easton EC90 wheel-set and Hutchinson Black Mamba tyres. It was beautiful, weighing in at 8.59kg. We road-tripped to Bright three times to check out the course in different conditions and I even did a few ergo sessions! The week of the Championships I bought out the new Sidi shoes and Giro helmet, and felt that I was in the best possible form I could be for race day.

The course was a dream and I loved every bit of it. Maybe it was because I’d seen the work that had gone into designing it, cutting in, and manicuring it. Day in, day out- Peter Mack and his team put in countless hours of labour to bring it up to standard and they were proud of it, rightly so. The course was physically tough, and although void of man-made obstacles it was technical in its natural habitat. To avoid an even lengthier blog I’ll go as far to say the track went up to a dam, and straight back down for a predicted 21minute lap. Single-track was braided with tree roots, dark forrest with steep pinches, open fire-road sections with passing opportunities and a fast winding descent that lived up to it’s name ‘tree-hugger’.

Australia's best battle for green & gold..
Photo courtesy Cycling Australia

The field was hot with five current and previous National XCO Champions taking to the line in the first of six selection races for the Commonwealth Games:
61. Me –2013’ XCO Champ, 2012’ XCM Champ
62. Jenni King – 2013 XCM Champ, 2012 XCO Champ
63. Rebecca Henderson – 2013 U23 World Cup Champ, 2013 XCO U23 Champ, 2012 Olympian
64. Rowena Fry – 2011 XCO Champ, 2010 XCO Champ
65. Tory Thomas – 2009 XCM Champ, 2008 XCO Champ

Despite losing out to Jenni and Tory in Adelaide, I felt like the battle between Bec and I would headline the race as it had in Moama. The build up had been minimal, but in my head she was the one to beat. The gun fired. I clipped in fine for the tarmac start loop and moved myself up on-to second wheel behind Row, then nearly forgot to turn onto the fire trail! ‘Calm down Peta’. I sat pretty for a while before pushing hard up on Row to edge out Tory into the first bit of single-track. A little brake check in-front and I was off and running up the pinch. ‘F—k’.  I took the lead for a while to keep myself in check. I knew the race would take its toll and am always nervous to go out too hard. In opposing fashion, Bec loves to hit out early so I let her pass along the double track half way up the climb. ‘Keep her in sight’.

Bec Henderson leading the way
Photo courtesy Tim-Bardsley Smith

I pushed a little harder than I would have liked to reach the dam a few seconds in arrears, and on reflection am surprised at how quickly the gap opened up to the rest of the field. At the time I had no interest in them, just the one trying to get away. ‘Play it safe’. I didn’t take any risks on the descent and held Bec to trail by 5secs headed into lap 2. It was already 20secs back to Tory and Jenni. I put in a little effort to catch Bec on the single-track pinch, but paid for it when she returned the favour and rode away from me on the fire-road. ‘Don’t panic’ I tried to remain calm but as we headed up the climb the gap started to open. I was already riding in my red-zone (+185bpm) and lost her up the final few pinches to the dam.

Suffering in the dense forrest in Bright
Photo courtesy

Although she was out of sight on the descent, the time gap was still achievable at 15sec as we headed into lap 3 of 5. ‘HARDER PETA!!’. I held her again through the flatter technical trails, but as she had done so before, she out climbed me. This time I lost hope, I new I had lost the bike race. My heart broke as I pedaled up to the dam and all the fight I had in me was gone. Physically I was still working hard but mentally I was somewhere else, drowning my sorrows mid-race… In the end I finished 59sec behind Bec after kicking back into gear to hold off Jenni at +1:48min. Meanwhile Tory, Row and Jodie Willett were putting on a real show in their bid for a podium position, going through bell lap with just seconds separating them. They finished in that order 4minutes in arrears.

I tried to put on a happy face for the rest of the day, but I wanted to win so badly that it was nearly painful to come second. The good news is that the following day I backed up to win the Australian Eliminator Championships! The eliminator is the ‘sprint’ in the MTB world, held on an 800m circuit with a bit of single-track and a few obstacles thrown in. Every rider completes a seeded run and then it’s a round robin format until the final four dual it out for the win. It was a surprise win for me as it wasn’t a focus race, but the course suited me well being a tarmac finish sprint, and the main contenders tactics played right into my hands. I took the win ahead of Row Fry, U23 sensation Emily Parkes, Jenny Fay and Holly Harris (also U23). Green & gold bands for 2014, yay :)

Me and my Aussie MTB idol Jared Graves: XCE Champions
Photo courtesy Cycling Australia 

I normally have many people to thank but this time the list is short. I need to thank my partner Jarrod, who every day encourages me to be a better person and do more with my life. I need to thank his Dad, Peter- without the support of Moronis Bikes and co. I would lead a very stressed and money-poor life. And to my fans- the #TASR bunch who have adopted me, the Bright locals who welcomed Jarrod and I into their circle, and of course my family who continue to forgive me for my lack of love and communication. Note to family: In case I forgot to mention it I’m off to Europe for 7 months, so download Skype…

Results: Via castech
Garmin: Via Strava
Video: Via CyclingCentral

Thursday, 6 March 2014


I love anything that encourages the participation of riders in a friendly and encouraging environment, so it’s no surprise that I enjoy the Team’s Relay at the National Championships every year. The format sees teams of four combine, with each rider completing one lap of the cross-country course. The catch is that you need one of each of the following: an <U19 rider, U23/Elite rider, Veteran> and a female. Last year we entered the race for the love of it and had a ball, so it made sense to rally some Bendigonian’s together and do it all again!

#TASR team take bronze - missing Chris & Isaac!
Photo courtesy of selfie

 Picking a team came easy. I was the female, Jarrod the veteran (he is happy to admit it), our partner in crime Chris Hamilton stepped up to Elite, and 14-yr old Isaac Buckell was our U19 rep. After a few small mechanicals the boys handed over to me to bring the team home. I went out in second and was caught by one of the boys to finish in third. My lap was everything I wanted it to be and I was happy to stand on the podium on the first day of the Championships- I do hope to step a little higher on Saturday :)

I’m so excited to get my cross-country race underway. There are no nerves as of yet, just enthusiasm and excitement. It will be my day, whether I stand on the podium or not, because it’s my 26th birthday and that’s always a good excuse to celebrate!