January Recap: Part One

It’s crazy to think January is almost over. It definitely doesn’t seem like three weeks ago that I promised my Dad I’d get my blog up from the Bay Crits tomorrow, but then again it wouldn’t be in the January spirit if I said I would do something and then didn’t. On that note, how is everyone’s new years resolutions going?

In the absence of a Bay Crits blog, a Nationals blog and a Santos Tour Down Under blog here’s Part One of my January recap.

The Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic (Bay Crits):

Every year in January hundreds of cyclists flock to Geelong for the Bay Crits; a four day criterium series raced in and around Geelong. The Jury is still out as to whether the Aussie pros choose to start their season’s here because it’s a great chance to get some intensity in before the Nationals Championships or because Geelong has great bars and cheap taxis. Either way, I’ve started my season at the Bay Crits all but once since I’ve been eligible to race and I love it.

This year not only were the crits the first races of my 2015 season but also the first race with my new team, Wiggle Honda. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous. I knew my off-season training had been okay but it’s always hard to know exactly where you’re at in comparison to everyone else until you throw yourself into the peloton and just race.

I’ll admit that I’d been dropped on a Canberra bunch ride a week or so before lining up in Geelong and that didn’t help my confidence, especially when I’d been sucking Gracie Elvin’s wheel and she was just dancing on the pedals.

Keeping this in mind I was a tiny bit surprised when I crossed the line first on the opening stage after escaping with a five person break about 20minutes into the 45minute race.

IMG_1248

Stage One – Ritchie Blvd

It was a pretty surreal feeling to win the first race of the season for my new team.

Maybe it’s childish of me or maybe I just spend too much time riding alone, but I sometimes play scenarios over in my head while I’m training; winning the first stage of the Bay Crits was one of them. It was really the perfect way to start with the team and the next three days of racing really helped to reassure me that I’d made the right decision in signing with Wiggle Honda for 2015.

When I signed my contract to race for the British based squad in September I knew I wouldn’t be the number one sprinter and this was something I was more than happy with. I knew it would give me the opportunity to return to the lead-out role I had when working with Ina-Yoko Teutenberg, but it also would give me the opportunity to race more aggressively which is something I love.

The support the team provided – riders and staff – was fantastic. I ended up picking up another two podiums places and a fifth on the tough Portarlington stage that I think everyone thought I would crack on.

IMG_1276

Going into the final stage I had a narrow two point lead over Lauren Kitchen and was anything but confident but the team just rose to the occasion.

Gio (Giorgia Bronzini) asked our younger girls, Jess Mundy and Georgia Baker, to use their energy in the beginning stages of the fast Williamstown circuit so as to try and save Emilia Fahlin, Eileen Roe, herself and I for the second part of the race. And that’s exactly what they did.

After Jess and Georgia had done their jobs Emilia and Eileen took over and were all over everything in the second half of the race. Then Gio took control.

It was incredible. For about eight laps Gio sat second wheel just jumping on any rider that attacked. Lauren Kitchen was glued to Gio’s wheel and I was glued to Lauren’s. We must have looked like a snake slithering around the circuit. In the end Gio won the stage ahead of Kimberley Wells and I finished third.

Gio and I finish first and third in the fourth and final stage of the Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic.

Gio and I finish first and third in the fourth and final stage of the Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic.

I’d kept the yellow jersey. It was really an incredible feeling. I’ve been in the situation more times than I care to admit where I have started the final stage of a Tour in yellow but haven’t finished in it. I hope this year, like at the Bay Crits, that changes.

As I was dying I heard the Orica-AIS director Gene Bates yell; “Go Gracie! She’s in the box”.

Despite Gio and myself winning stages and the overall title my highlight of the four days rprobably came on the third stage at Portarlington when Gracie Elvin attacked and I killed myself to hold her wheel. She was only three points behind me on the overall classification and we had learnt the previous day (she went solo 20minutes into the race and was never seen again) that you can’t give her an inch.

Eating handle bar stem I fixed my eyes on her back wheel and wouldn’t let it go as she powered up the back part of the course which was a tough little climb.

As I was dying I heard the Orica-AIS director Gene Bates yell; “Go Gracie! She’s in the box”.

I actually laughed a little to myself. I definitely was, but don’t tell me that because then I’ll keep pushing. They don’t call me stubborn for no reason.

The final podium.

The final podium.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: