Weight-loss Challenge Progress

Stage 1 - 4 kg down!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

A very big thankyou

I'm afraid that I may have taken my coach, Lorraine Schutz for granted. Not only does Lorraine put in a lot of time and effort writing programs for us, but she listens to our whinging, sets us straight and had us well and truly prepared for the crits. Like I've said many times before, last year I was lapped on all bar one of the courses at the perth crits and this year with the help of Lorraine things were very different.

So, thankyou Lorraine, for taking me to my limits, teaching me how to jump in and relocating my head when necessary.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Nothing to lose and everything to gain

I don't know how many people heard Gary Suckling giving the girls a pep talk before the final stage of the Perth Crits but he seemed determined to make the race interesting. Several opinions had been thrown around about the women's racing on the weekend. But, look at how far women's racing has come - we now have one team that competes nationally and another that is ready to take that next step.

The racing dynamics in Perth hasn't always been the best and has been the subject of many discussions and at the beginning of last year a small number of people attended a forum on this subject. Racing can be quite negative especially when there are 1 or 2 very dominant cyclists in the field who become marked continuously. Teams racing and increased numbers as well as positive community support are going to make women's racing better in WA. With two established teams, one team in the making (rumours of Eddy Hollands Bike Services) and the potential for many more teams (SPR, Southwest, Broad, Budget, Cyclemania) we are well on the way for some exciting racing.

Last year I was recruited by Davina to ride for Fleet in the Perth Crit Series, and whilst I only finished one race it was great to be part of a team. From a development perspective, I've gone from not being able to help out the team to being able to lead a team in a year. I am very grateful for the foresight and commitment shown by Davina in encouraging new riders like myself to keep going.

Signing up for your first race can be quite intimidating as in the past the racing community may have appeared quite closed. Fortunately there are now many approachable groups out there, Fleet Elite are very willing to offer advice to cyclists new to racing and there are many friendly groups out there for your development in your pre-racing career (such as South Perth Rouleurs, CycloSportif, TrackCycling WA)

Perth Crits Stage 4 - City of Perth
To make the race interesting several sponsors had offered primes. It seemed like Primes were being offered for every lap or two making it feel a bit like an elimination race on the track. Team Fleet were going for the win and therefore conserving energy where ever possible and coping with the frustration of not fighting for a prime. Sam Wood really cleaned up and showed her strengths as a sprinter winning quite a few of the primes.

Anna did a great job for the team by keeping the pace high at the start. Lisa also did a great job keeping an eye on Davina and blocking her when possible.

Halfway through the race Michaela Anderson launched an impressive attack, catching Fleet by surprise. Unfortunately Davina was straight on to it and whilst Bec and I did our best to get on they quickly formed a gap. The gap stayed consistent but seemed graspable. The chasing came down to Bec and I, with Felicity from Broad attacking to attempt to bridge on her own. I caught her within a lap or so and kept the charge up to catch the two ahead. Today was all or nothing for Fleet - we were out for the win, we needed to beat Davina to win the series. We just had to beat Davina.

Turns out that beating Davina isn't always an easy task! She worked well with Michaela and they stayed away. We probably got within 100m but we did our best. I really enjoyed the race. Bec and I were shattered by the end but ecstatic with our results, gaining 2nd and 3rd for the series. Again, thanks to my team who worked so well together and gave everything; Adrian, Iain, Jack and co at Fleet; Alex, Matt, Brett and Bianca; the mums, dads and family supporters; Trievents and the councils that put on such a great event; Riders Choice and other event sponsors.

Stage 4 Podium
Results Stage 4:
1. Davina Summers (Plan B)
2. Michaela Anderson (WAIS)
3. Kelly Gray (KD Cycles)
4. Holly McClellan (Fleet)
5. Bec Halliday (Fleet)

Perth Crit Overall Results
1. Davina Summers (Plan B)
2. Holly McClellan (Fleet)
3. Bec Halliday (Fleet)
4. Kelly Gray (KD Cycles)
5. Liz Leyden (Broad)

Team work

Perth Crits Stage 3 - Victoria Park
The heat, nerves and exhaustion were testing my preparations for the third stage of the crits. We had to make a choice - go for overall or go for the series win. We knew Plan B would be marking me heavily for this course and with the nice hill in the course I was a little bit worried. Watching the support men steadily get dropped and lapped all I could think about was my race here last year when the same thing happened to me very early on in the race.

Fleet's great support crew kept us cool and calm and I got to the start line feeling good despite the headache and nausea I'd been experiencing that morning. Fleet had to keep an eye on Plan B's Davina and Bella and that we did. Sally Robbins set the pace for most of the race with very few attacks going and those that did go were short lived. Sally, Liz, Bec and I all tried to get off the front. Half way through the race we noticed that Bella was in trouble and upped the pace again. Soon it was Fleet vs Plan B with Sally taking charge in the final laps. With half a lap to go I moved to the front with the plan of leading Bec out for the sprint. Davina managed to get between us but in the end, Bec chose wisely when deciding which side to sprint on and being protected from the wind stormed home with a late acceleration to just beat Davina. I held on for third.
Stage 3 Podium

Stage 3 Results:
1. Bec Halliday (Fleet)
2. Davina Summers
3. Holly McClellan (Fleet)
4. Liz Leyden
5. Sally Robbins

Saturday, January 24, 2009


Perth Crits - Stage 2 Leederville
Well, it's a little nerve racking wearing the Leader's jersey! However, I was pretty excited because it meant I was back in PINK!
Bec Halliday attacks the bunch

Our team had a quick tactic check before the race, with the most important tactic being be adaptable. It didn't take Sally long to get off the front although the bunch never let her get too far away. Plan B were working very well to cover any attacks to get across to her and were also doing a good job of keeping the pace down in between attacks. When I realised there was less than 5 minutes left to go I knew I had to do something. Bec had been working hard covering Plan B as well as chasing Sally, and feeling like a bit of a princess in pink, I knew it was time to snap back into action. I did a bit to increase the pace before Bec took over to take us home. A little bit of inexperience on our team's part meant that Bella forced me off Bec's wheel. Unsure of what to do I waited patiently as Bec was gaining on Sally. Davina attacked way earlier than I had anticipated but luckily I was able to go with her.

Lucky I did because the attack was meant to drag Bella to the front. We caught up with Sally on the corner who did a marvelous job of sweeping for Davina, however, after spending so long out the front couldn't match my sprint. Great result for Team Fleet and a special thanks to the girls again for having faith and working so hard to protect our position in the series. Unfortunately Davina will wear pink in Vic Park. Will history repeat?

Leederville Criterium Open Women
1. Davina Summers
2. Holly McClellan (Fleet Elite)
3. Sally Robbins
4. Bella King
5. Bec Halliday (Fleet Elite)
Stage 2 Podium

GC after Stage 2 (unofficial, on countback)
1. Davina Summers 20 points
2. Holly McClellan 20 points
3. Bec Halliday 12 points
4.Bella King 11 points
5. Sally Robbins 8 points
6. Sam Wood 8 points

Friday, January 23, 2009

Channeling Jens

Perth Crits - City of Joondalup Criterium
I only realised the other day, from flicking through cyclingnews photos that Jens Voigt is at the Tour Down Under. That characteristic look he has when pulling on the front is unmistakable. I felt a bit like Jens last night, first of all when I attacked. Which happened without thinking really. A few attacks had already been attempted; I thought Liz Leyden was going to go from the gun (which would have been cool coz I was with her), Davina tried a couple of times but was marked and then I found myself going.

It was only 5 minutes or so into the race. Holy Moly. Sally Robbins soon bridged across (a bit too easy for my liking) and we worked together for a few laps. Sally then rejoined the field and the commentator Gary Suckling reminded me that Plan B now had a reason to chase. But I held on for what seemed like the longest 30 minutes of my life.

A big thankyou to my team-mates; Bec Halliday, Anna Kauffmann and Lisa Wood for helping out in the pack. My coach Lorraine Schutz, watched me get lapped early on on the same course last year and started coaching me soon after the series ended. Lorraine has not only set me up with training but made me see that winning is achievable. And a big thanks to Adrian, Fleet Cycles for giving us a chance and supporting us (Jack you are so patient). And to the supporters, my family, SPR crew, Fleet support crew, thankyou thankyou thankyou. It seemed like every lap there were more people cheering. It was awesome. And thanks Alex for putting fear into me and keeping my legs turning.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

It doesn't matter what you say

Cheer Fleet Elite this weekend. It doesn't matter what you say - we're not picky - just say it loud. It's easy to get caught up in your own head and your own pain, so the more people there trying to snap us out of it the better. Of course, time differences, tactics, signals and commands to work harder, pedal faster and win are very helpful.

Where will we be? For detailed information and maps, click here.

Friday night - City of Joondalup Criterium
Best viewing location would be Grand Promenade, otherwise sit yourself on one of the corners. The women start at 6:45 pm, racing is 30 minutes plus 2 laps.

Saturday - Leederville Criterium presented by the Town of Vincent
A technical course that should be fun to watch. A lot of action down at the Leedy end of Oxford St the course. Women start at 4:15 pm

Sunday - Victoria Park Criterium presented by the Town of Victoria Park
The hill when the race comes back on to Albany Hwy could separate the field and make things interesting. Women start at 4:15 pm

Monday - Perth Criterium
A hot dog course along Riverside Dr that allows most of the action to be seen from any vantage point. Stick around for the fireworks afterwards. Women start at 1:30 pm. Bring your blow up pool it could be hot.

Monday, January 19, 2009

The accidental mind

I wish I understood my brain. But, I do understand that my brain controls my body and my feelings change my thoughts that then control my actions. Yes, I need to learn to clear my mind pre-race.

Friday night Track Racing: I got off to a good start in the scratch race but I missed the final move and had to work hard from the back of the bunch. Came home strong but 4th.
After 1 slightly good race everything seemed to go downhill. In the keirin I had a plan which didn't work because the motorbike took off much slower than I exected. To be a good bike racer I need to be adaptable, and I am, just not in the right way. My change in plans had me sitting in the wind for the entire race trying to hold position near the front. I decided not to go with the move (why I don't know) and was buggered when I actually did try to go. Apparently I am not the only one to do this kind of thing. The elimination wasn't any better I felt knackered and didn't have anything. Sprinting every lap is pure evil.

Sunday Crit Day
My legs were shattered on Saturday (too much real life Friday) and so I was apprehensive about how they would go in the crit. I had 2 aims for this last crit before the Perth Crits; a) stay in the front half of the pack, b) get in a break. I had Lorraine in the back of my head telling me to race harder and a few other mottos about decision making. Very early in the race I had made my way to the front of the pack. I was careful not to be on the front but I was 3rd/4th wheel for a while. I went with a few attacks but nothing really stuck. With such a large bunch on such a flat course it was unlikely that a break would stay away. But I was here for the training and not the glory so it was good to test my legs with the accelerations and cornering. I trust myself so much more when cornering - others not so much. After a few attacks had been attempted my legs were suffering from the accelerations, soon I was going backwards. I got back into the bunch, well onto the back of the bunch. Not where I wanted to be. After recovering for a while I had another play at the front before again being spat out towards the back. This week I tried to move closer to the front earlier for the finish but again, some scary cornering in front and around of me limited my progress. The final turn was hairy as well and I finished behind the main sprint.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Real life activities

Real life is exhausting! Not that I'm complaining about having a few days off the bike but I seem to be more tired now than before.

My real life escapades involved a trip to Busselton for Southbound a 2 day camping music festival. My goal was not to get fried or dehydrated and have some fun.

It was good cross-training!! If Patience, the lead singer from The Grates, hadn't slipped and hurt her ankle during her set I would have suggested she try cycling. She has so much energy and didn't stop jumping the whole time she was on stage (until she fell, yikes)

Tegan & Sara were the highlight for me but Architecture in Helsinki, Santogold, Blue King Brown, Sharon Jones and The Grates were also favourites.

Hope you manage to experience real life as well.

Monday, January 5, 2009

What not to eat

ATTA - The Lakes/Inkpen (Hilly) TT 46km

I was not looking forward to this time trial. Compared to my favourite courses (Champion Lakes, Freeway) The Lakes is hilly, although they are mainly gentle undulations there is one long climb (3km) to start. Luckily, because it was out and back it meant that the home straight was going to be fast. A mental challenge for me - because I'd not been riding crash hot and I have a fear of hills.

Come race day I was excited. The only problem was that I'd knocked out the plug to my alarm in the middle of the night and so in the morning when I was wondering why I felt so awake before the alarm had gone off it was because I'd actually slept in. Aggghhh. So my pre-race plan and timetable was thrown out the window. Clothes were chucked on and the bike and food was thrown in the car. I still had a red bull in the fridge and felt like I needed it. I also prepared a new concoction of protein and carbs in milk to consume in the car.

I left the house at a reasonable time but it felt like forever before I got to the course. After getting a hitchhikers hopes up at the The Lakes I found the rest of the TTers and warmed up. I'd drunk my red bull and choc milk in the car and wasn't feeling too good on the bike. Spoke to D about my crook guts but thought it could be nerves as I wanted to do well.

Once again, before I knew it my warm up time was over, except this time I missed my start time! I started 30s late and a little under-psyched. Oh well, maybe it was for the best because it didn't take long (metres) before the first climb started. I'd done a recon on the course and thought I had some idea of what to expect but I was wrong. The climb was long but I was coping well. I was struggling to get my HR above 160, despite the fact that 3 mins in I'd vomited. Glamourous sport really. The vomit continued but settled by the turn-around. My family were out taking photos and I've learnt a little bit about pacing because of it. When I noticed them watching I wanted to go faster but as soon as I passed them I realised what a mistake it was and suffered. I didn't do it on the way back.

The return was nicer in that there was more down hill than up but still a few little surprises. I watched the record tick away but was happy to be within reach of it. I ended up with a time of 1:20:17 (Ave HR 172, Max 186) and am unsure of whether or not that is adjusted for my late start. Scarily, Davina's crank detached itself from her bike halfway through the race leaving her stranded until the knight in shiny lycra, Andrew Mackie, came along and reattached it. She lost a few minutes because of this but still romped it home to take the win ahead of Kate Bevilaqua and then myself.

I've learnt not to mix red bull and milk pre race. Sounds stupid in print I know. I think Rebecca learnt that real life (a day at the races) and TTs don't really mix.

Female Results:
1. Davina Summers 1:19:26
2. Kate Bevilaqua 1:19:29
3. Holly McClellan 1:20:17
4. Sally Robbins 1:20:49
5. Rebecca Halliday 1:26:56