There were plenty of reminders that prevented me from forgetting that I had been preparing for the Tour of Geelong since learning about it in March this year. Time trialling has been a majr focus for me this year and so the pressure was on to perform in Stage 1 of the Tour, from there some fun and learning were to be had.

Stage 1. Time Trial

Conditions were near perfect for our time trial and the wind may have picked up from a slight breeze to slight tailwind towards the end of the rollout of the women. The first 23 km of the course suited me perfectly. Rolling undulations with nothing steep to worry about.

Sucking up air on the start ramp. Photo: Brett Looney

I was riding with some heavy duty wheels and thankful that the wind hadn’t picked up as I was barely moved across the road at all.

My toys for the weekend, Zipp 1080 front and Sub9 rear disc. Photo: Brett Looney

I had passed my minute marker before the first turn 8km in and then seemed to run out of bunnies. Needless to say, I soon became Carly Light’s bunny and she passed me just before the 16km mark. This was a little disheartening, especially as I had calculated from our numbers that she started 4 minutes after me. This is where I learnt lesson number 1. Don’t lose focus on your own task and don’t assume start times! Carly had started 2 minutes behind me, not 4, so I whilst I wasn’t doing well, I wasn’t doing abysmally like I had originally thought. Carly continued to power on and I soon lost sight of her. Finally the last 2 climbs of the day came. The local primary school had sent a class out to spectate and cheer us on. I got a bit of motivation from this and soon paid for it! I finally made it over the line in 18th place, unfortunately with some TT lessons still to master.

Stage 2. Criterium

A flat course on paper, when ridden you definetly can feel the two part bump out the back of the course and the slight rise over the finish line. The course wasn’t technical at all, there was one wide turn and a set of traffic islands to worry about but apart from that it was a nice wide loop through Eastern Park Gardens. Tensions were up before the start and finally my headache had eased and we were off. The pace was on for the first 15 minutes, but without any decent corners or climbs the bunch pretty much stayed together. There were primes every second lap which kept the pace up and encouraged attacks, however, nothing was going to get away, especially with Jenny Macpherson’s team controlling things.

Keeping touch with the sprinters. Photo: Brett Looney

With 5 laps to go I decided that I needed someone to come with me to shake the bunch up. Unfortunately brain forgot that and when I did attack I was alone and quickly fading. I stayed near the front ready to go again and managed to jump on the wheel of another attack, again short lived. Davina went with 3 laps to go, again being quickly reeled in by the bunch. During the bell lap I struggled to get back to Davina and Bec, but knowing Davina’s experience left them to it. I had found myself a wheel that was quickly moving up the right side of the bunch, and with a clear line thought I had a chance of something. With 300m to go all good plans were thrown in the air with a clash of wheels or pedals (depending on what you read). There was the horrible sound of bikes crashing combined with massive sparks and someone flying through the air. Luckily, I managed to escape by taking a side escape up the grass but at least 10 others did not. At least 4 girls visited hospital at some stage and Fleet lost Bec with a broken collarbone : ( Davina managed to hold onto 3rd place with her lead out sprint.

Stage 3. Road Race

I have never been renowned for my climbing ability. With some special hill climbing training thanks to Bec and Lorraine, I was looking forward to testing my legs on the hill climb in the road race. This was not to be, Mother Nature was throwing everything she had at Port Arlington. Waiting in the van for news of the race status was rocky, and I had to check several times that we had the park brake on in case we were pushed away. Needless to say, there was plenty of disappointment around the camp.

Monday, Anna and I stalked the NTID crew out at the Nationals course at Ballarat. Hilly! I’ll keep working on my hill climbing love.