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Sunday, December 11, 2011


So I have been back in NZ for a good 5 months now.. And a lot has been happening!!
I finished uni for the year, so now supposed to be on 'holiday' but it feels like everything but.. Last month I raced in the k1 elite women race, which started in Whitianga and finished in Thames. The race started off pretty fast and we made a nice little break of about 6 over the first climb. When we got to the 'big' Whangapoa hill Theresa Adam and I road off the front and got a good gap on the rest of the break. With 200 meters to go my left leg completely blew and I almost was at a stand still.. I have been having a few issues with it lately but have been trying to ignore it, thinking the typical; It’ll be right, its just a little niggle. This time I woke up a bit and realised I really need to see what’s going on. Anyway, I managed to get over the hill, down the other side and then felt completely fine. Emma Crum caught me and we team time-trialled it until the next climb. I then broke away and road the rest of the race (about 50km) by myself, trying to chase down Theresa. Unfortunately she had gained too much time and was powering on ahead. I finished the race in 2nd, with Theresa showing she had some amazing form in 1st, and Emma 3rd.
The start line

The rest of the field had got caught by the guys bunch from the fun ride so they had to leave it to the sprint finish (which was a bit unfortunate for riders like Mel Burke who had ridden most of the race by herself and got caught close to the finish by the guys bunch, who had also dragged the other girls with them). Overall, it was not the most successful day on the bike but that's ok, time to get some problems fixed.

Thank gosh that is over!

I have recently been on a bit of a break, trying to get over this left leg issue. After seeing a few physios, doctors and chiropractors I think I may finally be getting to the bottom of it.. Now I just need to rest and recover (it's driving me crazy) I have never wanted to go and do hill efforts so much in my life!! Plans are under-way for next year and will update you on what's happening soon, it's going to be a big year! Before now and then, if all is going well, Ill give Tour De Vineyards and elite nationals a shot in January. Will keep you updated!

Its time to get my A into G and keep this site updated. Thanks for reading =)

Blog time!!

Wow, it's been awhile. I do apologize about my terribly slack updates lately.
As most of you probably know I am back from America (and have been since the start of July). If we rewind 4 or so months, I was in Wisconsin, competing in an 11 stage race (9x criteriums, 1x road race and 1x time trial). This was a lot of racing! I gained a lot of good crit experience as well as having some fun and meeting new people. So was a great way to end the trip.

Three days before I was due to fly home Kate, Megan and I went to the theme park 'six flags' and were planning on heading to hurricane harbour afterwards (a water park). It started off pretty well, other then the ridiculously hot temperature (40 degrees plus). Then lining up for the last ride I started feeling a little sick, next minute I was on the ground. After about 15 minutes of sitting down trying not to be sick I got taken to the little theme park doctor area where all the other 'theme park victims' were. After cooling down a bit and having some electrolytes they said it was algood to go and get some food and water and then time to head off to the water park for some cooling down! Unfortunately it was not my day and when I was lining up for something to eat I fainted again, this time hitting the back of my head and split it open slightly. No hurricane harbour for me!

Kate and Megan took me to, what they thought, was the Arlington hospital.. Instead it was a mental institute and the hospital was across the road. When we eventually got there the guys did a few tests, a cat scan and put 3 staples in the back of my head, $4000 American dollars later we were out of there. But the exciting day didn't end there. Rachel's mum came to pick us up to take us out for dinner (as it was a good 45 or so minutes to get home). She was driving her brand new Audi, which was spotless. We stopped to get some petrol, because Marsha was worrying about me she put all the windows down to keep me cool, she then went to get the petrol nozzle to put in the car.. However the person before her had left the lever pressed in so when Marsha pulled it out it sprayed all over the car, through the windows, on the spotless interior. Kate was sitting in the prime position to mop up most of the petrol (saving the seats from getting saturated). Imagine someone grabbing a fire hose and the hose being turned on full blast, that's what it looked like with Marsha and her petrol nozzle. After a bit of cleaning up we headed for dinner, the two classy NZers, one covered and smelling of petrol and me with a beautiful head wrap and blood drops down the back of my white top... We got a few funny looks.

The next few days were spent packing and eating s'mores (marshmallow and chocolate sandwiched in graham cracker.. The best American dessert invented). My bag was so full I had to have three people help me jam the zip closed. Thankfully I only had to pay $100 over weight luggage, even though I was about 15 kg too heavy. 16 hours later I arrived back home; the temperature drop was a bit of a shock to the system but other then that it was really great to be home!!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Tulsa Tough

On June the 9th the team and I headed off to Tulsa, Oklahoma, a 5 hour drive in the pimped out Metro Van (it has two TVs, a Subwoofer and Blue Neon lights). Once we arrived we went to our host house, a really nice old home with a swimming pool!! We were lucky again to have really nice host parents who ran around after us, making us dinner, lunch and coming to support us at the races.

Tulsa Tough consisted of three criteriums all around Tulsa. There were about 70 starters in the women’s field including some big names such as Laura Van Gilder, Jennifer Purcell and Christina Smith. Race one started at 7pm in about 40 degrees temp. It started off fast, with a lot of attacks. Someone near the front decided to come off going around one of the corners, making me to do another one of my famous curb hoping stunts. As I jumped the curb a group of spectators had to dive off their chairs as I was heading straight towards them (along with a couple others). In a criterium, when you get caught up in a crash you are able to go to the neutral zone and get a lap out, catching onto the field on the next lap.. I was a bit in the moment and forgot about this option so instead spent the next lap head down butt up chasing the bunch. When I finally got back on we went around the corner and the rest of the crash victims happily jumped back onto the bunch.. Lesson learnt! After a few more laps I felt like I was going no-where, looked down and noticed my tyre was flat (my race number was 13…shows). The rest of the race consisted of my head being elsewhere.. finishing somewhere in the bunch.

On the outside, next to Tiffany Pezzulo (Primal/Map my ride) (one of the nicest ladies (and fastest) in the peleton).

The next day I was determined to have a better day (I got my number changed.. quite superstitious). It was again a very hot day with everyone drenched in sweat at the start line. Was a very fast paced race with attack after attack. I chased a few, did a few, and then just focused on my positioning. With two or three laps to go I got caught up in mid bunch, along with my team mate Kate. Kate is a good sprinter when she is in good position so I let her know I was there and pulled her up to near the front so she was in good position coming up to the last lap or two. Once I got that done there was another attack and I spent the last lap suffering quite a lot. Again I finished in the front part (ish) of the bunch, with Kate somewhere in the top 10. The minute we finished, the lightening, thunder and rain started pelting down just in time for the men’s race.

The final day of racing went over the infamous ‘cry-baby hill’ which was something like the Tour De France. The crowd was HUGE with spectators all over the roads throwing water over you, pushing you, it was insane! There was a gnarly downhill with a tight right hander at the bottom. I felt pretty average for this race, so decided to race it hard and attempt a few things rather then just chilling in the bunch waiting for the finish. Mid-way through the race I did a hard attack coming into the hill, I stayed off for about a lap and then got caught coming up the hill again (the teams did not want anyone getting away). After attempting to recover I cruised in the bunch for a bit more. Then with one lap to go there was a NOW rider off the front, I did an attack again going into the base of the hill, unfortunately pulling the bunch along with me. With the downhill just before the finish I was a little sketchy as it was very steep. Finishing again in the bunch, somewhere in the top 20. Attacking the field up "cry-baby" hill. Photo from Jason Perry; http://www.jasonperryphoto.net/

Overall it was not the most successful lot of racing, but I still keep learning more every race and I had a lot of fun. We now head straight to Wisconsin to compete in the 11 stage Tour of America’s Dairylands.

Liberty Classic

Wow! Basically the best description of Liberty Classic I can think of.
After arriving in Philadelphia on Friday, June the 3rd. Kate and I unpacked our bikes and went for a ride in search of the course. After a few wrong turns we eventually got on track but it was getting too dark to ride the infamous “wall” so turned and went back to the Hotel. Unfortunately our team was unable to enter this race as it was a UCI race and only pro teams or teams invited were able to enter, so instead we were racing for a composite team called CRCA (Century Road Club Association). If it was not for David Jordan (part of the CRCA Club) I would probably not have been able to compete in this awesome event.

The team, me in the middle and Kate on my left (your right).

David helping out with some last minute tyre pumping.

Liberty Classic is the biggest race in America and includes many of the top cyclists from all over the world including Georgia Bronzini (current world champ) and the most successful female cyclist in the world (and the oldest) Jeannie Longo. The course was relatively flat with one steep 600 (or so) metre climb known as “the wall” and another short but steep hill. There were over 100 quality starters. The race was reasonably fast but nothing too crazy with HTC and Colavita driving it and chasing anything that went off the front. In the last 1km everyone was fighting for position, it was like a wrestling match where the people with no fear (or the crazy ones) would get into good position near the front. Coming around the final corner (with 500 metres to go) I was near the front, feeling really comfortable with my position. Next thing a girl swerved right in front pushing me into the barrier, I had to pull the breaks on and go around which was a pain in the arse! I ended up finishing in 13th place. Although the end was a bit of a disaster the race was so cool with the massive crowds and incredible riders. It felt like the whole town had come out to watch the race and was just one massive party.

Climbing "the wall" with Meredith Miller (team Tibco) and Laura Van Gilder (Mellow Mushroom).

The finish line, Bronzini wins.. I'm the yellow speck in the background.

Kate and me at the end, 12th and 13th place.. not bad for two newbies.. wait till next time!!!

Photos thanks to Kevin Hatt (our official, amazing, team photographer); http://www.kevinhatt.com/

Next up.. Tulsa Tough! Three days of full on criterium racing.. in some intense heat. Thanks for reading =)


Saturday, June 11, 2011

State Crit Championships

On the 26t,h , 28th and 29th of May the FCS team competed in three Criterium races all around Dallas/Fort Worth area. First up was the Bike the Bricks race, which consisted of a short 30 minute race around the streets of McKinney. There was a pretty big field with 40+ women starters. I was feeling pretty average in this race having had a solid week of training so just stayed near the front, kept safe, followed attacks and had a good all-round work out. To make it even more fun the temperature was a blistering 38 degrees, which Kate and I were not quite used to (yet). After the race Kate and I set off for (what supposed to be) the 40 minute drive back home while Rachel stayed back at the race for work. We had some pretty good directions to get home and felt pretty confident that we would find our way.. Turns out the signing in Dallas is not that great and we drove about 30 minutes past the turn-off (to make it better it was night time, and dark). We decided it was time to stop and ask for some directions so stopped at the closest super-market looking place. Turns out we stopped in China town and ended up in a Chinese market-type place where not many people spoke English. After buying some Chinese vanilla wafers and attempting to understand the directions we set back out on the motor way. We found a familiar looking sign so took the next off-ramp, next thing we have police lights going behind us.. Apparently when you exit a highway your supposed to slow down by about 30 miles per hour.. Woops. We also pulled over to the left side of the road, In America you always pull to the right. I think the police officer felt sorry for us and let us off with a warning; we asked her for some directions and set-off again. After about 30 minutes we found the right signing and followed that, unfortunately the sign we were following was for the 121 North, we were supposed to go south. Everything became familiar all of a sudden and then we realised we were back at the race. So did a U-turn and headed SOUTH on 121, keeping a very good eye out on the signs. 2.5 hours later we were in familiar grounds back home. To top the night off the place we were planning on stopping at for dinner had closed, so we went to a nice Italian restaurant, got take away and got back home.. FINALLY.

On Sunday we set-off to the State Criterium championships at a place pretty close to McKinney. Kate and I were not eligible to win the State Champion jersey however we could still win the prise money and the title. The aim for this race was to work for our team mate Lauren and try to get her over the line first. We did a lot of attacking throughout the race and covered most of the breaks. Coming up to the last lap most of us were still together. I did a big attack but got caught pretty fast with 500 metres (or so) to go. I then quickly got my breath back and with Lauren on my wheel I attempted to lead her up to the front of the bunch, setting her up for the finish. We got to the front couple and she sprinted past, getting 2nd (very close to first). Which was a pretty awesome result considering the sprinters in the field. I finished a few back in 5th. Overall it was well raced by our team, with Kate leading Lauren up toward the front at the start of the last lap and Megan, Rachel, Kate and I covering and attempting a lot of attacks throughout the race.

The next day was the age category state Criterium championships. This is where most of the age groups raced together but there was a separate category winner depending on your age. The aim for today was to get in a break away and make it a hard race. From go there was a big attack, we chased it down and then Rachel went off the front and stayed off for about 3 laps. Just before we caught her Christina attacked and I got straight on her wheel as she was a big threat. We got a big gap on the bunch and stayed away for the rest of the race, lapping about half the field. Coming up to the last 300 or so metres we were cruising next to each other, watching each others every move. Next thing we were going for it, side by side, crossing the line about a cm apart. Unfortunately I was the cm behind so finished 2nd, but having had a great work out! Lauren was able to take out the bunch sprint finishing 3rd.

Overall a good weekend of racing, where we could do some good team racing and have some fun.

On Sunday 5th of June Kate and I will be competing at the Liberty Classic in Philadelphia as part of a composite team. This is seen as a very high level American race where all the top teams compete at from all over the world. Am looking forward to it!


Friday, May 20, 2011

Tour De Grove

On Thursday the 12th Rachel, KC, Kate and I left for a 9.5 hour drive to St Louis to race the Tour De Grove Criterium series and NRC race. There were 50 starters with most of the top teams there including a full Tibco and Colavita team. The first race was a 55 minute plus 3 lap Criterium in a rectangle shape. We started just before 9pm so it was very dark! Dark clouds were hanging around but luckily we did not get wet. The race was full of attacks, with nothing sticking, finishing with a bunch sprint. Kate and I were hoping to have some sort of lead out but it was pretty hard to actually see who anyone was so we ended up just going for it, finishing pretty much next to each other on opposite sides of the road, with Kate 8th and me 9th. We then warmed down while watching 150 odd pro men racing round the circuit, was insane to watch, with Pure Black totally dominating the race.

The next race was the NRC Criterium around a very sketchy circuit, with lots of corners and metal plates on the road. To make it even better it was raining and the course was very slippery. People were falling off left right and centre, it was more a finish in one piece sort of race. Coming up to a prime I got in a break away of 3 but the Tibco girl had a lot more balls around the last corner then I did, going around it about 5kmh faster. Around the final corner the girl at the front took it too wide and came off, wiping out quite a few people. I rolled over the line some where in the bunch happy to be in one piece. Was not the best day on the bike but was good for my mental toughness! We were not able to stay around to watch the guys as we were completely frozen but got home to find that Pure Black Racing had helped Mike Northey pull of an awesome win in the pro race!

The final day of racing was very action packed! It was on another corner filled, slippery course with a nice up hill to the finish. Again it was raining which added to the fun! 5 minutes to start Kate and I were attempting to de-attach Kate’s wheel from the wind trainer, as it got stuck and we could not get her bike out. I rode to the start line to ask the starter to hold the race for a minute. Luckily we still had time to find the closest male spectator and get him to have a go at getting it off. 2 minutes to go we were all on the start line, to find Kate’s back break was rubbing.. I waved over a mechanic looking person and he fixed it (the wheel was not on properly thanks to the wind trainer incident). We were exhausted with 30 seconds to go, feeling like we had already raced! Next thing we were racing and it was wet! Kate and I both got in almost every break, as that was the safest place to be in the bunch. There was a break away of 2 riders up the road, Kate bridged across to them then another girl goes and I got straight on her wheel. Next thing we were in a break away of 7, including 3 Tibco girls, a Colavita, Kate, myself and another rider. Coming up to one of the primes I went early on the hill, and managed to (finally) win it! The rest of the race was just Tibco, Kate and I working hard to keep the break away. With one lap to go we had over a minute on the field, I took a drink and started to choke on it, not being able to breathe. I was a bout to stop but luckily something cleared and I could breathe again! So I chased back on. One corner to go before the finish the Colavita rider came off in front, I had 2 choices; one was to ride over her and fall off, or jump the curb. I went for option 2 and managed to get a puncture and crack my back racing wheel in the process. With 200 odd meters to go I rode the puncture until the wheel would not go around any more. I then jumped off my bike and ran across the finish line, getting 6th just ahead of the main peleton. I was pretty annoyed as uphill finishes are my strength and I was feeling good.. but that’s bike racing! Kate did awesome finishing second in a Tibco sandwich, a well deserved podium finish!

Trying to get the organiser to hold the race while Kate tries to distatch her wheel.

The new way to finish a bike race, trying something different. Photos from GoPate; www.flickr.com/photos/gopate

Next up is the Texas Criterium racing series and some good solid training.

Until next time,

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Joe Martin Stage Race

On Wednesday, May the 4th, Kate, Lauren, Megan and myself headed off to Fayeteville, Arkansas, a 5.5 hour drive from Dallas, to compete in the 4 stage, 4 day Joe Martin Stage race. We were lucky enough to get another awesome host house and host mum, Trish, who ran around after us like we owned the place!

There were about 40 Pro women entered, including a strong Colavita, Tibco and Specialised team. The first race was a 4km up hill TT. I have only done a couple of these, in my club champs back at home so did not have a clue how to pace myself. I decided going out at about 80% and hitting the 100% mark with a km to go was the best option. It seemed to work and I crossed the line completely spent. Getting 6th place, 24 seconds off first. Lauren finished in 15th , with Kate 18th and Megan 34th . A week before the race I had got myself some Zipp 303 wheels (to replace my Reynold that fell off the roof). They felt so fast, although I am a little scared to use them. Coming back down the hill I felt a little wobbly, thinking it was just because they were new wheels and I wasn’t used to them I carried on. When I got to the bottom my wheel started screeching and the hub was burning up. I went to the SRAM guys and they found out the manufacturers had put the wrong piece in the hub. After a bit of stress I got the new piece in and they are now running amazingly.

The next day was a 100km road race out in the country of Fayetteville. It had some good rollers but no major climbs. There were a lot of attacks but everything got chased, nothing was getting away. 20 kms out from the finish a girl came down a few in front, I had some one on my left and right so had to go straight into her. Luckily I had slowed down enough to falll on her without too much speed. I then jammed my front wheel out of her pedal and timetrialed it by myself for just over 5 kms back to the bunch. Coming up to the finish I tried to get up as far as possible, there was a tight right hand corner and then a 300 (or so) metre little climb to the finish. I started from too far back, not being able to wind my gear up enough, getting 4th place. With Kate in 5th, Lauren 24th and Megan 28th.

Finish of the first road stage, me on the far left (in the red & white)

The third day was a 100km lolliepop race, where we headed out, did 2 laps of a circuit and then came back on the same course. There was again A LOT of attacks, some being quit dangerous with good riders getting some distance. Kate and I spent most of the race chasing them down (if we missed the break). But again all the breaks eventually got caught. With 15kms to go I had a go, getting a pretty good gap. I stayed away for about 4-5 kms, then looked behind and noticed Tibco on the front chasing me down.. that was the end of that. The finish included a winding downhill, that went to a slight false downhill.. So it was going to be fast! Not being my ideal finish, I stayed safe coming down the hill sitting mid-bunch, then crossed the line in 15th.. So a pretty average finish but was happy to get over the line safely! Kate had an awesome finish just being piped at the line by Joe Kaisanowski (Tibco) for 3rd. So Kate was 4th, Lauren 13th and Megan 16th. Me second wheel, behind Colavita.

The final day was an 8 corner, up and down criterium. I went into the stage sitting in 7th place. I positioned myself right up front for the entire crit, chasing quit a few attacks. Coming around the last corner I got on Kates wheel, we started from too far back but she gave me a great lead out, I left the sprint too late and finished 4th (again). Kate finished 8th, Lauren 26th, and Megan 33rd. Overall I finished in 6th place, and 1st in the young riders category. It was a pretty hard few days of racing as Kate and myself had to do a lot of work as well as trying to finish strongly. I learnt even more and had a great time so a pretty successful few days.

On the podium getting the young riders leader jersey.

Thanks for reading =)


Thursday, April 14, 2011

Sunny King Criterium and Foothills Road Race.

Race number two in America was the Sunny King Criterium and Road Race in Alabama. We left Bartonville On Thursday morning, 14 hours later we arrived in Aniston, Alabama. Aniston reminded me of something in the movies, a very country town with people sitting on their rocking chairs on their deck watching the day pass (one lady down the road spent mostly the whole day on her deck chair). There were also dogs everywhere! I got chased by about 4 dogs, one being a very rough looking Doberman. Dobermans are probably my favourite breed of dog but when I don’t know them and they are chasing me down the road they are very frightening!

Rachel, me and Kate all packed up and ready to go!

We stayed with Jan, our host mum for the weekend. Jan was the mother in-law of one of the race organisers. She was very welcoming and lived in a cute little house out in the country of Aniston.

Our hosts house.

The first race was the Sunny King Criterium which is part of the NRC series (National Race Calendar). Some of the top riders were there including Colavita, Tibco and Kenda. Criteriums are not my strength and are one of the big things I am hoping to improve on while I am here. There were about 60 total starters. Colavita dominated most of the race with one of their riders going off the front at the start and then the rest of the team trying to slow us down so we couldn’t catch them. I felt more comfortable as the race went on. After about 15 minutes I felt good and spent a bit of time at the front trying to chase down the Colavita girl ahead. I got a few 2nd places in the primes (sprints throughout the race) which was not ideal as only 1st place gets the prime. We dropped about half of the field with about 24 of us left in the bunch at the finish. I had very average positioning coming into the last corner so only managed a 12th place. Kate finished 8th with Rachel 25th. Overall our team worked really well in the race considering there were only 3 of us!

On the front at the criterium.. going around one of the corners. Photo; B.D. Andrews from velonews.competitor.com.

The next day was the Foothills Classic Road Race in Piedmont, Alabama. Most of the riders from the criterium did this race to make it a good w.e of racing. It was a 92km rolling race, with basically no flat. Colavita did many attacks from the start, then the third time Cath (Cheatley) from Colavita attacked over one of the bigger hills. I managed to get on her wheel and so did another Colavita rider (Andrea). For the next 75 km’s us three worked hard together getting up to 5 minutes ahead with 20km’s to go. Cath attacked me on most of the hills, then, with 10kms to go we hit a pretty steep, long hill where she attacked again. The first time I got straight on her wheel, dropping Andrea. Then the second attack I had nothing so the three of us individual time trialled it to the finish. Overall I finished 2nd with Kate getting 7th. Another good day of training and racing completed!

They have these big hardware shops all around called Lowe's, we had to stop!! (to get cleaning products for the bikes).

After the race we headed back to our host house, showered, and were on the road by 2pm. The plan was to stop after about 9 hours of driving, stay at a hotel and then carry on the next day. Then we decided we may as well do the whole drive as we could be home by 2am and get to sleep in our own bed. Then coming into Dallas some lightening started, and then there was an emergency tornado warning on the radio. Thinking nothing of it we drove on. Next minute we were parked on the side of the road sitting in, what felt like, a small tornado. It was persisting down and the car was rocking, we couldn’t see a thing out the window. Was a great way to test the new roof racks!! After about ten minutes it calmed down a bit and we drove on, arriving home at 4am.

Next up is the Joe Martin Stage race in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Until then I will be getting in some solid training with a few club races now and then.

Thanks for reading!


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

America 2011, Fayetteville Stage Race.

On March 15th Kate and I left Auckland at 2.00pm toward Dallas, Texas. We had a 2 hour stop in LA and then hopped on another plane and arrived in Dallas at 2.00 pm on March 15th. The first thing we noticed were the big Dodge trucks, they were everywhere! We got picked up by the team rider/manager Rachel Byus (in a big ute) and drove back to her house in Bartonville.

Our house in Bartonville.

Once we had settled in we went for an hour spin to loosen up the legs a bit. The whole different side of the road thing was a bit of a shock at first, but I seemed to pick it up reasonably fast (now and then I have to remind myself to keep right, especially at the start of each ride).

Trying out the tt bike, good way to stretch your neck!

Me trying to ride and follow a map at the same time.

On the Friday morning we left for a 5 hour drive to our first race, the Fayetteville Stage Race. The team (including me, Kate, Rachel, Lauren and Sarah) drove to Fayetteville in the team bus. First stop was a place called Buc-ees which was a massive shop in the middle of no-where, and it sold pretty much anything imaginable. Including Lollies, Beef Jerky, hats, belts, fruit etc and it was completely packed with people! After that culture shock we carried on towards Fayetteville.

We were renting out a house called Granny’s retreat, which was a pretty old-school house. All of the rooms were named with ‘Granny’s room’ or ‘Emma’s attic’, I didn’t really understand it but it was perfect for what we needed.

Granny's retreat

The Fayetteville stage race consisted of 3 stages, two 80km road races and a 10km time trial. Stage one was the 80km road race. Within the first 2kms Lauren and Rachel attacked off the front, but both got chased down. Then I counter attacked and everybody sat up. So I kept time trialing it off the front by myself, 75kms later I finished, 10 minutes ahead. Would have probably been one of the longest individual time trials I have ever done! My team mates had slowed down the bunch so that I could get away; although they tried to get off the front and come help me no-one would let them go. At the finish Lauren and Rachel did a bit of a team lead out for Kate, who won the bunch sprint (so second in the stage) with Lauren and Rachel about mid-pack.

That afternoon was the time trial. I could not believe the gear that most of the riders had. Even though it was a small race out in the middle of no-where, basically everyone had nice time trial bikes and carbon wheels. I was lucky enough to be lent a Cannondale time trial bike from Rachel, which seemed to fit me perfectly, and was very light! The course for the time trial was a short 11km on rolling roads. I was basically stuffed by the first 500 meters, going out quit a bit too hard. But carried on, pushing it to the end. I finished the time trial in 1st place about 25 seconds in front of 2nd place. Lauren was very close behind in 3rd, with Kate 12th, Rachel 18th and Sarah 19th (Rachel had to do it on her road bike with no TT bars, so would have made it A LOT harder). Me getting taught how to put bikes on the roof, without actually stepping on the roof. Think im going to leave this job to the pros (ie, Rachel).

The next day was another 80km road race, the plan was to get Kate and Lauren off the front so they could finish 2nd and 3rd overall. Rachel attacked, got caught, and then Kate counter attacked at the end of the second lap and stayed away for just under half a lap, having to grind it into the head wind by herself. Then when the bunch was about to catch her (she would have been about 200m in front) Lauren told me to attack and try and get us two (Kate and myself) away, so I did and we ended up finishing about 2 minutes in front of the field. This put Kate up to 2nd place, with Lauren winning the bunch sprint. Overall I won by about 12 minutes, with Kate 2nd place and Lauren 3rd. Was a great weekend of team racing and some fantastic time trial training!

On the way home we stopped at a sandwich shop to get some lunch/dinner. When we stopped Lauren noticed a wheel was missing from the roof of the bus, we went out and checked and to my luck it was my racing front wheel (Reynold). It had flown off the back of the bus while we were driving, so we turned around and drove back but could not see it anywhere. Was a bit of a negative end to the awesome weekend but at the end of the day it is only a wheel.. Could have been a bike!

The team at the end of Sunday's race. From left; Sarah, Lauren, Kate, Rachel and me.

The first trip away was great fun. We learnt a lot about each other and are slowly learning the American language. Here are some word conversions if you are heading over this way any time soon;

Boot = Trunk

Toilet = Bathroom

Lollies = Candy

Foot path = Side Walk

Muesli Bars = Granola Bars

Chilly Bin = Cooler

Biscuits = Cookies

There are no major races until about mid to end of April so just getting in a lot of good training at the moment. Will keep you all posted =)


Monday, March 21, 2011

Craigs Investment Partners

A lot has been going on lately and I have been very slack at updating this blog! About 2 weeks ago I was lucky enough to be picked up by Craigs Investment Partners, who have now become my official, personal sponsor.

I am at a certain level now that if I want to further my cycling career, I must start racing the top and be seen by the top, which I cannot do in New Zealand. So late last year I got in contact with a team based in Dallas, Texas (thanks to my friend and fellow cycling competitor Kate Chilcott). The team is called the FCS elite team (also known as Metro Volkswagon) and will be competing in some of the major races around America including the Joe Martin stage race and Liberty Classic, where all the top, professional teams will be attending. It also had on the list lots of Criterium racing, which is a part of cycling that I need to improve on a lot!

This was a major stepping stone but I was not able to make it on my own. The amazing team at Craigs Investment Partners made this possible for me. Craigs is my official sponsor and I would not be able to go to America without them. I am overwhelmed with their support and cannot wait to build a strong relationship with the team. Craigs Investment Partners is one of New Zealand's largest investment firms with 17 branches throughout NZ. They have a very strong involvement in the community where they support not only myself but also other people/organisations in our area including other sports, arts, business and community sponsorships. For more information on Craigs Investment Partners visit; http://www.craigsip.com/

Also, for a link to the newspaper article about America you can go to;

Wellington Tour of NZ 2011

On Monday the 21st I flew to Wellington for the Tour of NZ/Wellington. This year the entries for this tour were amazing, including HTC, one of the top teams in the world, Diadora-Pasta Zara team, some top Australian teams and the usual Giant pro cycling (Chinese), and Japanese national teams. This year I was lucky to be in the New Zealand National team along with Mel Burke, Kate Chilcott, Cath Cheatley and Linda Villumson.

We got there with two days to spear so we settled into the Copthorne Hotel in Masterton and went for a few cruisy rides with the GMC Christmas tree (Gordon McCauley). On Tuesday we spent most of the day glued to the T.V, completely shocked with the news of the Christchurch earthquake. Unfortunately one of the newly made Christchurch teams, Thule/Orbea, had a short trip where they had to return back home straight after they arrived to deal with the devastating Quake.

As bad as it felt we had to switch our minds to racing and continue with the tour ahead. Day one was a 98km road stage from Martinborough to Masterton which included a very steep 1.5 km climb about 20km from the finish. My job was to chase down attacks and try to keep as far up as I could. The race seemed pretty chilled in the first part of the race, no major breaks. Then on the first climb a bunch of about 15 of us got away over the hill, no-one in the bunch seemed to want to do anything so the main bunch caught us pretty fast. On the climb Linda and Cath got in a break away with about 7 others, Mel and I went over the top shortly after along with 3 or 4 others. We did not do any work as we didn’t want to catch Linda and Cath’s bunch, so we cruised along, eventually the main bunch caught us and we rolled into the finish, sitting somewhere in the bunch. Cath got 2nd in the sprint finish with Linda 7th, finishing 35seconds in front of the main bunch.

Tactics Talk.

Getting ready for stage one.

In quit a bit of pain going over the last (big) climb.

The next day was a 114km road stage from Masterton to Palmerston North (via Pahiatua track). Today I had a similar job, to chase down as many breaks as possible. Right from the start there was attack after attack, I followed most of them and about 10km into the race I was pretty stuffed. After a bit of recovery in the bunch another break went. I was a bit late to react so had to jump across to the group of about 6. We stayed away for a few k’s and then got caught. With about 20km to go there was a pretty hard 3km hill to go up, with a stretch of loose gravel 2km before the hill. We got neutralised across the gravel and the minute the flag went down Mel sat on the front and time trialled it while the rest of the bunch held on for dear life. Then we went straight into the hill. I went up relatively comfortably, about 100 metres behind Lindas group, with Cath in a bunch of 3 further in front. On the way down the hill I had a few ‘wimp’ issues thanks to Ina Toutenburg (from HTC team) as she sped around the corners at top speed. I momentarily lost her group but caught back on soon after (thanks to the group behind). Cath finished 2nd to Judith Arnt again with me in the bunch behind, in I think 11th.

Wrtting down the distances for some important parts of the race. With Dad observing.

Christmas tree (Gordon McCayley) giving us the team tactics before the start of stage 2.

Mel driving it at the front, just before the last hill.

Stage 3 was an 85km rolling to flat lap race. Again my job was to chase breaks and position well. It was a real on and off race and I got in a few little breaks. Other then that it was not very exciting; I felt pretty crap. At the end two people in front rode into each other but luckily stayed on their bikes, I finished somewhere in the bunch and Cath got 3rd.
That afternoon was the crit around the streets of Palmerston North. Linda, Ina (Toutenburg) and a couple of others broke away so all we had to do was sit in the bunch and chase down breaks. It wasn’t too fast at all, I finished somewhere in the top 10 (I think).

Stage 5 was the last road race, going the opposite direction as stage 2. I felt really comfortable on the hill, then going down not so compfortable, had to chase for abit, then when I caught we went over a very dodgy gravel section. The person in front dropped the wheel by quit a lot, so we had to chase for quit a bit. When getting back on I noticed the bunch had split up substantially so we did some even more chasing, by the time I was back on the bunch I was stuffed! Next thing we know there were 5 people up ahead in a breakaway which were big GC contenders. So Mel, Linda, Kate and I headed straight to the front and lapped it through for the next 15-20. When we caught the group I did an attack bringing along a few others, unfortunately a couple were reasonably high on GC so I did not do anything (after about 5 km). When the bunch caught, Kate attacked ( team tactics =) ) and a group followed her. Now all we had to do was sit in the bunch, hoping HTC would sit on the front and chase them. With 10km to go Linda, Mel and I went to the front and repeated our chase (passing HTC’s train on the way), at this stage Kate’s small group was still ahead and then there would have been about 20 of us left in the main bunch. With about 3km to go I completely blew up, legs started to cramp and I could hardly pedal. After dropping off the back of the bunch I got a second wind and used the cars to get back onto the bunch. We were a bit guttered we couldn’t catch the front group but we got bloody close! At the finish I was just in the bunch.

That was basically the tour finished. Cath finished in second place with Judith Arnt 1st and Ruth Corsett 3rd. The last day was a criterium, which was not part of the tour; instead it was just a separate race. It started off fast, with Kate doing a spectacular crash half way through the first lap bending her front wheel in half. The rest of the race I went hard, it didn’t finish how I wanted but lasted about half of the race. It ended up being only 4 riders left, Cath, Judith, Amanda Miller and a Jayco rider, with Amanda wining and Cath finishing second.

Another great experience with some awesome people!