Weight-loss Challenge Progress

Stage 1 - 4 kg down!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional

State Long Distance Road Championships
The Roleystone Circuit, used for the State Champs and previously the Tour dE Perth,is becoming quite familiar for me and was where I rode my first elite women's road race 2 years ago. The course is simple, out Brookton Hwy for 50km and then back to Roleystone to complete two 5km loops around the high school. Brookton Hwy is undulating and there are only a few climbs that can do much damage.

The pic shows the gradient for the loop and whilst it isn't a huge climb it does pinch at the top - just before the finish line.
The race was pretty quiet for the first 50km. There were no real attacks and everyone was happy to roll through keeping the pace steady. Sarah-Jeanne Fraser turned the heat up at the turn-around point and only Rebecca Halliday, Sarah Fraser and Melissa Hoskins were able to go with her. I was with them for about a minute but couldn't quite keep up the pace and dropped off the group. I was scared that I wasn't going to be able to get onto the passing wheels and had to make a real effort to get going again after going deep into the red zone.

After that I got to conserve some energy as I wasn't interested in helping the bunch chase down my team mate. The group got very close to getting back on and the support cars had pulled out in anticipation. Maybe they were a bit too complacent or tired but the gap didn't close. Sarah Kent got her group to hustle and they weren't seen again by the chasers.

Once Bec's group was clear I got to play a bit and attacked up one of the shorter steeper climbs about 30km out of town. I stayed away for close to 15 minutes, but the bunch weren't keen for another rider to stay away and chased me down. I wasn't backing my climbing legs in the last two laps and was keen to have another go to get away but my second attack didn't last long.

I was happy to see Karagullen, which meant were close to home, but was a little anxious about the last climb before turning into the circuit. Clare McLean didn't want a big bunch sprint and powered up the climb. A gap started to form between her and Lorraine Hartland and once it grew out to 10m I jumped across to Clare and tried but failed to come around her and push on to open the gap further. By the time we turned into Chevin Road Lorraine and Merissa Cunningham were making their way back to us and had caught us before the downhill. We stayed together keeping a steady pace up the hill and into Peet. I was happy to lead the bunch into Raeburn as I was concerned someone would jump when the road pinched up. Knowing what the turn is like I checked that my gear wasn't too hard, losing my sunnies in the process. Unfortunately for Lorraine, she was not as lucky with her gear changes and did a nice job of tangling the chain, forcing her to pull over.

Clare pushed the pace up Raeburn Rd and I was not letting go of her wheel. At the bottom of Raeburn Rd on the bell lap, Merissa attacked, I gave it everything to go with her but couldn't hold her wheel and her move split the three of us apart. I started to assume that Merissa had 5th place and was starting to concede 5th place because she had a huge gap on me before the final rise up to the finish line. Cars were starting to back up behind riders from A grade and I wasn't sure if there was room on the inside to pass them but found some. In my final climb I did a bit of grinding and somehow managed to gain enough speed to catch Merissa before the line. I was seeing black by the end of it though!

Sarah Kent had managed to get away on her own before getting back into town and stayed away to take the win. Bec lead her group for the bell lap. Melissa opened up the sprint, but was beaten to the line by a very close finish between Sarah F and Bec.

Full results have been published with bunch times here.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Snap, crackle, pop

I wish the popping sound was a breakfast bowl of rice bubbles but it wasn't, it was the sound of the elastic band holding me together snapping.

Sunday 17th May - Dardanup Open and State 60km Championship.

Linda Evans was right - when the distances are short it's going to be hilly. Last year I faired ok on this course, and although slightly modified I thought I would be ok this year. Except that the modifications to the course were either uphill or downhill and I didn't realise how much they would drag.
Fleet pre-race discussion and fuelling. The last time I smiled that day?
Photo: Lorraine Hartland

Sarah Kent is consistently demonstrating fine form and similar to Collie; put her foot down a third of the way in the race splitting the field into several groups. Again, I got to do some time-trial practice and overall didn't have the best day on the bike.

Sarah stayed away and had several minutes on the chase crew. Mel Hoskins won the sprint and Sarah-Jeanne Fraser took out third place. It was great to see SPR's Lorraine Hartland so close to the podium in fourth place.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Measuring your effort

Every time I do a time trial I learn how much more I need to learn. Last Sunday was ATTA's Season Closer at the popular Champion Lakes course. This course is a flat 5 km loop and we were completing 4 laps. For a change, there was almost no wind making this course different once again.

I was excited and looking forward to seeing what I could do. I may have been a little too excited, flying off fast, however, it didn't take long for me to pay the price. Without my trusty heart rate monitor I have no idea how hard I did go out and what effect it had afterwards. I thought I had brought it home strong but really my last 3 laps were all similar. Needless to say, I was in a lot of pain.

A PB was recorded but I've slipped down the placings. Davina was out to show how much living at altitude helps, smashing the previous Course Record.

To top off our day, the Fleet girls headed into the hills to do some recon of the State Championship course.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Death Valley Time Trial??

Tom Lowry Memorial - Collie
It's amazing how much racing dynamics can change depending on the number of riders that turn up, the riders that turn up, the side of bed that the riders get out of, the legs, the day, the weather, etc...

The start of Sunday's race in Collie was frustrating. Despite the U19's being away in QLD for Nationals, we had a large field of 17 women, with several new faces fronting up, inlcuding SPR's Nicole Sloan. Jo Moore, Nathalie Laurendau, Linda Evans and Sue Johnstone were making their return to racing and as Sarah Kent is in between international gigs she was able to join us for the day. The field was made up by WA's regulars, Bec Halliday, Anna Kauffmann, Sarah Fraser, Danielle Longworth, Cherie Bonasera, Kelly Gray, Lorraine Hartland. I have to apologise for missing the others as I've lost my start list.

With a large field and great weather, I was starting to expect a great day. This explains the frustration as I was expecting the field would last a few more km's before the brakes were put on. But it wasn't to be and there are always a number of reasons why riders do not want to work at the front but I guess this only frustrates me more when I hear people complain about it and they aren't willing to change it, but seeing 10km/hr on a speedo in a "Premier" race is an interesting sight. Off the soapbox....

Towards the end of the first lap the two Sarah's put their foot down and really got the race going. Unfortunately, I've lost my list of excuses and can not tell you why I was not able to go with the move considering I was expecting it and 4th wheel, it's one reason why you shouldn't do anything at the start of the race.

I picked up Sue Johnstone and Kelly Gray in the chase to get back on the bunch. We worked together quite well and let me warn you, Sue Johnstone is a powerhouse. Unfortunately we lost Sue before the end of the 2nd lap and as Kelly Gray is unwell she pulled out at the end of the second lap. The other bummer was that for at least half lap I was dangling within a few hundred metres of the bunch, unable to shorten the gap.

So I finished the race on my own. I chased a few 'bunnies' which I was hoping were women that had dropped but they weren't. I finished 10th and apparently not too far behind the bunch. Some good time trial training I guess!!

Sarah Kent stayed away on her own. There were a few other attacks and bunches throughout the race, but in the end the eight women in the chase group stayed together. The SouthWest girls, Jo Moore and Linda Evans, did a good job in the sprint with Jo taking it out over Sarah Fraser.

1. Sarah Kent
2. Jo Moore
3. Sarah Jeanne Fraser
4. Linda Evans
5. Bec Halliday
6. Nicole Sloan