Gelderland ...One Day, One Chance

Now don't get me wrong, I love what I do but there will always be that moment when you're getting ready for a race, road or track, and you think “I wish I was watching this bike race and not riding it” Every cyclist has done it. Even if they don’t care to admit it. Whether it be the terrain, the weather or in this case the number of riders and the circuit.


Having never ridden Gelderland I was relying on information and tips from my teammates to try and visualise what I was about to face over the next 138km. There is something daunting about racing on a new course, especially a one day race. Tours can be a little more relaxed because every day but the last “there is always tomorrow”. A one day race is a whole different kettle of fish. Its game on from the get go and in Holland the odds of the wind being up and the race going on small farm roads are high, so position is everything. There is no tomorrow should something go wrong.


To say the race was action packed is an understatement. The 7km neutral section was supposed to see us safely out of town.  But this didn’t prevent a number of crashes with riders failing to safely navigate the road furniture[1], resulting in a a very nervous peloton. Once out of the city, the roads opened up and I was able to get myself up to the front with my teammates. Strength in numbers was the aim of the game today. After 25km we reached Arnhem. Now this is where the bike race really started with 6 categorised climbs. For me there was no choice but to be front and centre, climbing isn’t one of my strengths.


The next 80km was a blur. Once we hit the hills, crossed the dykes[2] and went through the first passing of the finish line at 122km it had been flat gas. There was no time to look back. If there were 10 people in front I was too far back. Seemed stupid at the time but when we passed under the start finish with 16km to go having nearly been dropped I was now at the pointy end of the bike race with 4 teammates and 15 other riders. I had survived, so far!


The shootout began with attacks left right and centre. I was in survival mode and just hanging on. Kirstin Wild had no team mates for company, so all the other Teams, us included, felt they had exposed her Achilles heel, but Kirsten was not to be shaken off that easy.  With just under 4km we lost Gracie, she came down hard on a gravely corner, it left us with 3.   Emma was up the road with a couple of girls including Kirstin with 3km to and I was with Loes. Loes asked me “do you think you can sprint? I replied “I’ll give it a crack”. 'Back yourself in they tell me’.  Loes bridged the gap to the leaders with 900m to go and me on her wheel. I got myself into a good position and did what I know what to do best, I grovelled. I felt like I was rowing a boat in the last 200m, I probably looked like it too. Ugly hurt face and insane lactate levels but I made the Podium, a 3rd place which I know wouldn’t have been possible without my team. That I am certain. Sometimes when you don’t have faith in yourself, it takes a teammate to throw you in the deep and make you fight for it.


Single handily Kirsten had bridged across to every attempted break away and went on to win the bunch kick in fine style. A deserving winner. Everyone threw the kitchen sink at her and she still came out on top.


As for me I have my teammates to thank.

Racing like a team is one thing but when you race like you’re family, now that’s something else. That’s something special.


Race Report and photos:

The Start of a New Season... A Recap of 2014 So Far

Sometimes it’s hard to know where to start. For those of you who have looked at my website and bio you will know enough about me now to know that I love sport and can't sit still for long periods of time. It’s the way I’m wired. Mum, Dad and my sister Jess are much the same and funnily enough, so is my boyfriend, Rohan Dennis.


It will probably come as no surprise that I always have a full diary, juggling track and road seasons doesn't leave much time to stop and smell the roses. The 2014 season will be no exception and my first 4 months have passed in the blink of an eye.

January started with a track camp in Adelaide leading into the 2014 Australian Track Nationals, a selection event for those hoping to represent Australia at the World Track Championships in Cali, Colombia in February. This year was a little different Commonwealth Games year so a successful Nationals campaign doubly important.


So far, so good. My Nationals campaign was a success securing selection for the World Track Championships and the long list for the Commonwealth Games Track Team.

This year I was given the opportunity to ride in the Tour of Qatar with the Orica-AIS Team and my thanks must go to the AIS High Performance Staff who saw it is an opportunity to assess the impact of a road race on my Track form so close to the World Track Championships.

There was though just one snag. I had to leave for Qatar before the Track Nationals were finished. I skipped the last day of Nationals and headed off to Qatar.  Thankful it turned out to be a success.  I was competitive in Qatar and I was able to return to the track with no sign of fatigue or loss of track form. Winner!

The World Titles went came and went. A bit blunt? Well maybe, but it’s true. It was my 3rd tilt at a World Title, the last 2 had failed to reach the goal set in Melbourne 2012. There we secured silver there but it felt like gold, considering where we had come from. We felt that we were close to breaking through.

It’s not that we aren't doing everything right or everything wrong, there is just a lot more competition now, more challenges and challengers. This year we secured bronze and nothing to scoff at, trust me. I’m proud of myself, my team and my coach. It’s not the result we are chasing. We were the hunters, not the hunted. Sometimes being an underdog is all the motivation that is needed. It worked in 2012. Why not in 2015, or even 2016? Only time will tell.

It was time to leave the Track and get back to Road racing.  From Cali I headed straight to my ‘second’ home, Girona, Spain.  It’s been 5 months since  I left Girona, I had missed it and was looking forward to spending a month there with Rohan, recovering from the summer of Track and rebuilding for the 2014 European Road season which was already in full swing.

Riding road and track leaves you with little time to holiday or just have a break, so being able to stay in one place for a month, and unpack the suitcase, brings its own relief. To say I was looking forward to it, is an understatement.

First race for me on my calendar was the Energwacht Tour in the Netherlands. Five days and 6 Stages starting on the 9th and finishing on the 13th April. It was a race which sure told my body to wake up! Not only were the elements challenging but so was the wind, the roads and the 186 starters that came with it. The best way to describe it is like an elimination race. If you aren’t up the front, you risk being an early casualty. The narrow roads and corners invariably result in a long single train, drop the wheel or crash and it’s probably game over for those left behind.

 I made it through the 5 days without incident. Being my first race back it was more an opportunity to find the race legs and help my teammates achieve their goals in general classification and stage wins. So it was my turn to be domestique[1] and look after them during the races as best I could. Keeping them in good position and making sure they had enough food and drink. Gracie Elvin was the lucky recipient of my company for most of the days along with Loes Gunnewijk, our trophy Dutchie.


Coming off a solid week of racing I was happy with where I was at. Yea, I didn’t have the best sprint legs or race form but having this race under my belt is a good platform to build on. Gave me the chance to work for the girls who previously have spent time looking out for me.


Now you’re up to date with my season so far. Next week I head back to the Netherlands for a one day race called Gelderland but for now I'm going to sit back relax and maybe bake something delicious!


Adios for now,


Race reports Energwacht:</p

The Start Line - The World of Blogging for Me.

It would seem that in today’s era of technology, sharing your thoughts, feelings, adventures and even routine day to day activities is fast becoming the norm.

I’ve been asked by numerous people in the last 12months, do you have a website or a blog?,  to which I would reply,  no I just want to ride my bike. I have now realised how many people read blogs like they read newspapers or follow the weather and how they can relate to and be inspired by what you do. I never saw myself as an inspiration, let alone thought anyone would want to know what I do day to day, but it seems people want that and more.

So this is the start of my Blog journey as I share with you various insights of my lifestyle together with the highs and lows of the Women’s Pro Cycling.

Thank you to my family and friends who support my every pedal stroke and to all those people who have supported me in some way, continue to show interest in me, my sport and what I do.