Thursday December 30 – Stage 5

The 5th and final stage of the 3 day tour was again in wet weather. Since I was only ranked in 8th place in overall GC, my aim of the stage was to try to muster up some points in the QOM, break away, and try for the stage. The 80km race started off at a very leisurely pace until the first hill climb up Moutere Hill, which had Queen of the Mountains points. Michelle K wanted to retain her solid lead in the points and with the help of her club member Tammy Boyd Michelle took maximum points. I took 5 points for 2nd. Though trying to put the pace on over the other side the bunch soon regrouped. Next up was the sprint on Edwards road. I wasn’t in a great position and didn’t contest the sprint but attacked down the road. Nothing came of this attack as I was not going to be let away. Down in the valley Toni, Michelle and I did the 1-2-3 attacks and counter attacks but again nothing stuck. No one was prepared to do much and the pace was low – prime time to attack but still we could not get away. Each time I got a gap I found Tammy chasing me down. Riders of no threat were let away to solo for a bit but then soon came back to the bunch. Fellow PNP rider Melissa Pilla attacked and was let go – and with her aggressive time trialling she stayed away until the top of the final climb, taking 2 QOM’s, 14 points, and taking 2nd place overall in the Queen of the Mountains title. Not so good for me but I couldn’t chase my club member down. Michelle K easily took out the title with 28 points and I was 3rd with 12 points. The final 6km after the hill climb were a hammer fest for the finish in such misty and wet conditions that we could hardly see. I picked a great wheel for the sprint, the wheel of trackie and sprint leader Tammy Boyd, but got pipped on the line, having to settle for 4th. The stage was won by Karen Fulton, 2nd was Tammy and Tracy Clark was 3rd. I retained my 8th place in GC.

All in all a very enjoyable tour and some fantastic training. Thanks to Averil West for organising yet another fantastic Tour de Femme.

For full Results

Wellington Riders
2 Nadene Boyle
8 Robyn Wong
9 Melissa Pilla
23 Keren van der Boom
32 Jane Williams
36 Gina Waibl
47 Jay Neil
50 Nichola Wilson
53 Rita Quill
54 Nicola Johnson
58 Lauren Rosborough
61 Heidi-Jane Humphries
62 Sherilyn Hinton
63 Jacinda Papps
65 Claire Sherrington
66 Shelene Paraone

Tour de Femme - Stage 3 & 4

As forecast the rain came down for the morning’s ITT up Takaka Hill, though it was fairly light compared to the afternoon stage. The first rider headed off at 9:30am with one minute intervals between riders. As the race just got under way we heard the news that there was an car accident on the lower part of the hill with a bit of an oil spill but despite the tow trucks and ambulance, there were no disruptions to the race. We had 3km of flat before we hit the base of the climb, with the first couple of kilometres of the hill being the steepest. The final few kilometres to the Limeworks were quite gradual. The road was still open to traffic so despite wanting to take the best line around the corners we were forced to stay to the left. I didn’t feel it was my best climb of my life and was disappointed to finish 8th in a time of 32 minutes and 40 seconds, however it was a slight improvement over last years time of 33:46. Joh Buick rode an amazing time of 30:54 to take the win with Nadene Boyle in second with 31:28 and Michelle Kiesanowski rode 31:31. This shook up the GC with Joh now in yellow with Nadene 18 seconds back. I dropped to 8th.

Stage 4 was originally 55km but this got shortened to 40km consisting of 5 laps of an 8km circuit. The rain got heavier and heavier as the race went on however we were fortunate that there were no crashes and it wasn’t terribly cold. We wanted to mix it up so there were many attacks from Toni, Michelle and myself. Sprint time bonuses on laps one and four strung the peloton out though it remained a large group. I attacked on lap three and went solo but was reeled back in after about 3km. On lap four Toni, Amy Mosen and Brei Gudsell broke away and Toni and Amy managed to stay away to the finish, with a margin of seven seconds over the chasing bunch. It was a fantastic win for Toni.

Tomorrows stage is 80km with 2 Queen of the Mountains and 1 sprint. Should be interesting, and anything can happen. Forecast again is for rain.


Tour de Femme, Nelson, December 28-30, 2004

Here’s a very brief update from the Women’s tour in Nelson. The tour this year is the largest number of women since its inception in 2001 when a total of 35 riders participated. This year there are 71 riders – and great depth with some of the best women riders in New Zealand.

Despite forecasts of rain, the cloudy start blew over to give us a warm, sunny 19 degree day. Stage 1 was 70km with one interim sprint, and two hill climbs – Spooners and Reays Saddle. No one was keen to push the pace from the start so it was all rather leisurely til the first and only sprint at 4km. Tammy Boyd had a super strong sprint taking maximum points, with Debbie Tanner in 2nd and myself in 3rd. Then the leisurely, and I mean leisurely pace continued until the first climb of the day at around 20km. As anticipated the group splintered and riders were strung out on the 4km climb up Spooners. The pace at the front was fairly high and there was the odd attack by Toni Bradshaw and Johanna Buick (NZ reps). Also mixing it up was Olympian Michelle Hyland, the strong Michelle Kiesanowski and fellow Wellingtonian Nadene Boyle. Nadene attacked before the 500m flag with the intention to take the Queen of the Mountains but I jumped and went with her until she eased and I went for the line taking maximum points. Nadene was 2nd and Michelle K 3rd. Nadene and I had a small gap on the other six but I knew this move wouldn’t stay away and waited for them to regroup. There were eight of us including two youngsters – Sarah Bryant and Rosara Joseph, a fellow Mountain Biker. We worked well together and assumed we were putting time into the chasers, though we weren’t getting any time splits. The Reays Saddle climb saw Michelle K take maximum points so that put her into the lead for Queen of the Mountains with 10 points while I was sitting on 7. The chasing bunch of 12 were chasing hard and little did we know that they could see us. Our lead was twittled down to 37 seconds by the finish. Michelle H won our bunch sprint and I was a close 2nd followed by Michelle K in 3rd. Race time was 2 hours and 3 minutes so we averaged just over 34kmph. I picked up time bonuses of 6 seconds putting me 2nd in GC and in the leaders red jersey for the 23-34 age group. I was pleasantly surprised with my performance since I’ve only just begun my training again and its my first race back.

The afternoon wasn’t so successful for me. Stage 2 was a 8.9km individual time trial on a very flat and fairly straight course. I finished 7th in a time of 13 minutes and 38 seconds. Nadene took the win with a great time of 13:01, followed by Joh with 13:07 and Michelle H in 13:18. This now puts me in 6th in GC.

We have a huge contingent of 16 Wellington women racing in the tour, which is just fantastic. Most of them are regulars on our Monday night Capitelle rides. I’ve been organising the production of a jersey for the group and can proudly say that the jersey was worn on Day one of the Tour de Femme. Here are the GC placings for the Wellington Women. For all results, click here.

1 Nadene Boyle
6 Robyn Wong
9 Melissa Pilla
26 Keren van der Boom
35 Jay Neill
41 Gina Waibl
43 Jane Williams
47 Nichola Wilson
53 Nicola Johnson
56 Rita Quill
57 Sherilyn Hinton
59 Lauren Rosborough
64 Heidi Jane Humphries
65 Jacinda Papps
70 Claire Sherrington
71 Shelene Paraone

We had a huge amount of support out there thanks to all the partner’s support. Thanks guys – its really motivational! The forecast for the next few days is not good with rain due tomorrow. This will make for an interesting stage up Takaka Hill, an 11km individual time trial. Hopefully I’ll have time to update you tomorrow.

The end of 2004 draws near

Hi Everyone

Well, it’s been some time since I’ve updated my site. My apologies for being so slack. A fair amount has happened since my last race in Italy so I’ll back track to our last days in Germany.

Selling our camper was really sad. We became quite attached to it – it was our second home for 5 months and it was perfect. We did 15,000 kilometres around Europe, which included the long haul that Christian did down to Athens. While we waited for the Ebay auction to end we spent our time in Nurnberg with Christian’s relatives and didn’t ride our bikes at all. It rained heaps, so we weren’t too concerned about the lack of riding. I decided to start my break and we both decided that we wouldn’t race the New Zealand Road Nationals in late October.

Then we began the long haul back to NZ. It didn’t start well. We had drama’s with Lufthansa in Nurnberg who didn’t agree to check our luggage all the way through to NZ. Instead they insisted we had to get new luggage tags in LA. Finally Christian went up the chain and spoke to Management - our luggage tags got changed 3 times that morning but finally our luggage was checked through to Wellington.

Next Christian and I found ourselves seated in the middle two seats of four. What made it worse was that we had 3 young kids behind us who insisted on kicking our seats and screaming most of the trip from Munich to LA. Not good, and a very good contraceptive!

Needless to say we were very happy when we made it into the Air NZ lounge in LA so we could shower, use the internet, relax and get some shut eye. It all got better from then on. We used airpoints to upgrade to Business Class so the 12 hour trip back to Auckland was most enjoyable (and no screaming kids!)

We got the surprise of our life when we arrived in Wellington airport, all blurry eyed and probably looking a little worse for wear. We were expecting my Mum and Dad to be picking us up. What we got was a whole heap of family greeting us with banners welcoming us home. And what’s more, Christian’s family had made the trip up from Christchurch to be there. It was very, very special. We were so happy to see everyone.

We moved straight back into our house in Newtown, which had been looked after remarkably well by our new English friends Paul and Beth. Our cat Jazz looked just the same, probably a little fatter!

Now we had to make some decisions - about where to from here for cycling and work. This wasn’t easy. It was very difficult now that the Olympic goal had been realised and I was uncertain of what I now wanted from cycling. I thought I’d check out the permanent job market, as I was keen to progress my career and work where I felt I was adding value. I had two second interviews and was offered a job, but then I realised I couldn’t commit to a full time job if I still felt I wanted to continue my cycling. So now I’ve joined a Consulting company, AMR Consulting, whereby I am contracted for specific assignments, my first one starting in January. Check our to find out what AMR is all about. I’m really excited about this opportunity which will broaden my curriculum, provide variety of work with a number of shorter term projects, give me flexibility in work hours, and give me the chance to work with some fantastic people. Christian has taken on a temporary job for 3 months putting him back in work a lot quicker than me. All good for his cashflow.

I took 6 weeks break from my bike – this was just brilliant. It was also quite timely, as both Christian and I got sick after returning home (our bodies were telling us something) and the weather was pretty lousy. I kick started my training again by volunteering to be a guinea pig for some Massey University research to study the effect of protein on recovery for performance. This involved 2 blocks of 3 days in the lab doing performance tests, collecting blood and urine samples and being told what we could and couldn’t eat. I have to admit, it was fun. And again, it worked out rather well, that the weather at the time was pretty nasty and I wouldn’t have been riding outdoors anyway. It’s been a pretty random summer in NZ so far.

It was only a week after I was back in the country that I got my first request for public speaking to talk about my Olympic Experience. This was at the Samuel Marsden Collegiate Sports Awards Dinner. Next up I visited a few schools – Kimi Ora special needs school, my old primary school Wainuioru, and Room 9 at Paremata Primary School. Check out my gallery for pics. I spoke to the Wellington Chinese Sports and Cultural Centre at their Christmas function – to whom I’m extremely grateful for their financial support in 2004. And my most recent presentation was to a group of Engineers from Opus International and their clients at their end of year function. I must say I am now becoming more comfortable with public speaking!

In between public speaking I’ve been doing a variety of things for Women’s cycling in Wellington. In conjunction with Scott, I ran a Women’s Mountain Bike session to teach women some skills to gain confidence on the bike and then ride some trails. For Penny Farthing Cycles we had an evening of cycling where I spoke to women cyclists about my Olympic experience and offered advice on products. Then I’ve been organising the production of a cycling jersey for our women’s “Capitelles” group and I still remain involved in the PNP Club Committee. So despite not working, I’ve managed to keep myself pretty busy.

I’ve only been back on my bike for about a month now and have been doing a little track racing and started a strength and conditioning program at the gym. I’ve done little other racing, so feel very under done as I head to Nelson for the 3 day (5 stage) Tour de Femme after Christmas. Still, it will be great training. The NZ National Mountain Bike series runs in January and February and then there are the Road tours and World Cups in Geelong and Wellington in February and March. So it’s all go.

That’s pretty much me. I’d like to write a special thank you to Christian whom without his outstanding and selfless support this year I wouldn’t have achieved my goals. We had an amazing 2 person team that worked brilliantly well together. And best of all, I had a fantastic time and have some fantastic memories.

Finally, I’d like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and my best wishes for a very happy, fun filled, and successful 2005.