My last and most recent racing episode took place in Christchurch, NZ for our elite road cycling champs. Prior to this I had good prep coming straight off NZ's Tour de Vineyards in the lovely Nelson. One of my favourite kiwi races, top courses, good organisation and relaxed nature. I was pleased to take the win in the opening time trial and closing hill circuit stage finishing up 4th in the general class. Up's to Reta Trotman for taking the overall tour win and a big thanks to the Lush family for having us stay and treating us like Queens!
|Post tour treats with Jo and chef's Samara and Emma|
Onto Nationals...with both myself and Wiggle Honda team mate, Linda Villumsen carrying good form into the event we were confident between the pair of us we could pull off a result.
After allowing an early move to break free of the peloton and a bit of mucking about in the opening laps of the 120km event (7 laps including the harsh 1.5km bugger of a climb, Dyers pass) eventually the small but select peloton of NZ women began to whittle down until there were 6 left chasing the 3 moving NZ track representatives ahead.
After some serious commitment from the 6 chasers, including myself and Linda it was looking good to snatch back all 3 riders. Coming into the closing 3km we had almost reached the last solo rider, Rushlee Buchanan. With Linda and I both feeling pretty solid in the small group we decided to use our numbers. With this, Linda went for it with 2.5km to go. The ideal situation here would have been for Linda to solo away for the win and our other option would be that the 5 girls left behind were forced to react and chase her, allowing me a free ride up to take the win in a sprint.
Unfortunately we mucked (f*) up ! As Linda attacked, Rushlee was able to jump on her wheel with Reta Trotman shortly following hanging in 'no mans land' between the two small groups.
Here I was a little helpless unable to do much with my team mate up the road sitting in the unresponsive group. Ultimately it came down to tired legs and no one being able to go with Linda.
Had we have waited until Rushlee had been caught things may have been different but very fair play and well done to her on a gutsy ride and still managing to outsprint one of the worlds best. Congrats Rushlee and also to Linda on her still solid 2nd place.
I finished 4th to win the kick feeling pretty good, obviously gutted with the result. We really wanted the jersey for the team but as a pair we didn't make the right choices and use our strengths at best when push came to shove!
Apart from the final result I was pleased to have the strength to be there with the selection. In the past this course has gotten to me a bit with sickness and under preparation so to be there in the mix was definitely a bonus and a positive for the season to come!
|Post race fun cheering on the kiwi lads TDF style! Safari girls...|
I've made a few changes the past months and am happy with how things are going so far. For the past few years I have been really lucky to be under the wing of USA legend and phenomenal sprinter Tina Pic. Tina has been a special kind of mentor and coach and I can soundly say she's helped me progress a lot over these years as I've gone through a lot of changes and grown a lot as a bike rider. Tina has a very easy going but supportive attitude which I loved and having been through it all her self in the female peloton she was really easy to relate to, talk to and learn from. A big thanks to Tina for her constant support over these years.
Over the past months, I have been through a few changes. Kiwi cycling hitter Greg Henderson in December introduced me to his new coaching biz. An exciting opportunity I didn't like to not give a go so I took a plunge and decided to see how things work out for 6 weeks. Greg has some pretty impressive palmares to his name and is one of NZ's best on the professional scene, currently riding for Lotto Belisol. He now has some solid kiwi/Aussie up and comers under his wing.
I've been putting in some hard yards but learning plenty along the way and enjoying a fresh change for 2014.
Since Nationals I've been putting most of my focus into training and preparing for the 2014 season. Not just the racing and form side but the admin like visas, licences, flights and accommodation too. Takes more time than you'd expect! Happy to say I've recently confirmed a flat in Spain with Aussie Loren Rowney at Specialized Lululemon and Brit Lucy Martin at Faren Kuota cycling team. Although I will miss Belg I'm looking forward to a fresh change and have only heard good things about Spain. Terrain, weather and food are pluses! I will still spend a lot of the early season in Belg as I hope to be present for many of the Spring classic and one day events.
Unfortunately the past 3 days I've been been bed ridden with a dismal virus floating about NZ. Watch out she's not much fun! After 2 days out to it, I'm finally coming back to life today. It's been a very long time since I've lost my appetite so glad to be finally getting a bit back...anyway, it's given me the chance to get things updated.
I've just changed my facebook profile that had largely got out of hand with too many old albums, likes and unknown friendships hogging the newsfeed! So I've made that into a 'cycling info/updates' page linked to this and my twitter, and created a new profile just for close friends and family. Thanks for continuing to follow and support via this page!
Next on tap is the Oceania road championships in Toowoomba Aus, followed by a quick departure to Europe late Feb. Bring on the action!
On other news, the past few months I've been very lucky to be cruising about in a smart Honda CRV. Huge thanks to Honda NZ https://twitter.com/hondanz for supporting me over NZ summer. The CRV has done some pretty epic trips from Auckland to Nelson, Christchurch, Welly and home!
New World Remuera has been a favourite local friendly supermarket since I was a wee dot so the support means a lot.
And to NZ bike magazine and Steve Haddock for setting me up with an interview and cover of their latest issue - pretty cool to have some interest in NZ. Cheers!
Lastly on the news front...Wiggle Honda kicked off their first UCI event in Qatar a few days ago and have two stages to go. Lotte Becker was 3rd from a select breakaway in pounding winds yesterday. Go girl! Follow the teams progress and 2014 season updates here: