Tuesday, 1 March 2011


Apologies for being so slack on the blog front! I have done quite a bit of racing/ travelling around since the last update! Back in early Feb I felt like I was going really well on the bike and was feeling optimistic for the Bev Mays Women’s Tour and the UCI Tour of NZ. I won the Nelson Lakes to Sea race out kicking the men in the final hundred metres. Was rather amusing riding 40mins back home from rabbit island with the bottle of wine I had won in my back pocket! I then flew to Hamilton for a 3 day tour in Morrinsville. Ella Sadler- Andrews who I knew from being on ODP came over from Oz for the race, so it was nice to have a good old chinwag. The competition was pretty hot with all the top NZ riders competing. Stage 1 the 30k TT didn’t go very well, having all the TT gear would have made a big difference. I was feeling good for stage 2, but 3k from the end I learned a very hard lesson about the consequences of not consuming sufficient electrolytes in the heat. I experienced muscle spasms in my left quad; I literally couldn’t move my leg it was excruciating. I had to roll to the back of the bunch and get off my bike. The following cars were like wtf are you doing! A few minutes later I could pedal backwards so I did that for a bit which eventually made the pain go away. So I legged it to the finish feeling positively rotten!! My mood wasn’t helped by the fact the BikeNZ women’s coach came up to me afterwards to tell me everything I had done wrong in the race! I was determined to have a good result in stage 3, so I really got stuck in. In the end it came down to an uphill sprint within a severely reduced peloton. The finish came at just the right time as I felt my leg trying to cramp up again. I finished 4th mehhhhhhhhh. The final stage was a crit in the afternoon. This was a bit of a joke in the end because nobody saw the lap board so didn’t know that we were on the last lap! I learned many important lessons from my time in Morrinsville, particularly NEVER take on a 100mg caffeine gel (the equivalent to 10 cups of coffee) when you are seriously dehydrated and when its mega humid and never put bubble bath in a spa bath (long story)! A big thank you to Annie and Martin for looking after me that weekend, they were great hosts (despite the cockroaches)!!!

From Morrinsville I got on an 8hr naked bus trip (fully clothed obviously) to Palmerston North to stay with my fam there. Wasn’t terribly amused with the prospect of being cooped up all day when it was 30 degrees outside. I very cleverly decided it would be a brilliant idea to travel without any cash so I couldn't pay my excess luggage fee, randomly this guy who was backpacking offered to pay it for me! Now that would never happen in England! It was nice to be able to sit back and enjoy the scenery NZ has to offer (god I sound like my mother!!) but also I find travelling makes me feel really nostalgic, so I had 8hrs to reflect on the last few months. I arrived in Palmy which everyone makes out to be a bit of a hole… I don’t actually agree and I am a big snob! It was rather amusing trying to cram all 7 pieces of my luggage into my aunt’s beetle! I stayed in Palmy to ride some of the stages of the Tour of NZ which were nearby. As knowing the courses makes such a difference I have found so far. It also allowed me to get my head back in gear after a disappointing tour.  It was good to catch up  and spend time with all my family there! After a week in Palmy I traveled down to Lower Hut for the start of the Tour of NZ. It was during this drive we heard about the devastating earth quake in Christchurch over the radio. It just seemed so surreal, so tragic! I stayed over with Tracy who rides for team cyclosport, the team I was guesting for.  After days of packing in the carbs and doing very little volume I felt ready to race.  Stage 1 was an absolute shocker, myself and this aussie girl ended up being given the wrong bunch time which was 5 minutes down on where we finished. The commissaries after much deliberation wouldn't change it!  It was a good result for team cyclosport however as Emily Collins was in the white U23 jersey! I put it behind me for stage 2 and had a much better race; it finished in a bunch sprint in Palmerston. The stage was a bit chaotic at times, it had to be neutralized twice due to road works/ gravel. I tried to move up in the last 1k to try and be competitive but couldn't so I snuck outside the cones on the outside but then stupidly couldn't get back in so had to let everyone ride past before I could get back in. Our accommodation for the next 2 nights was a far cry from the luxury suites we had in Masterton. The food wasn’t much better either; we were treated to uncooked beef with tinned veg for dinner then had rice crispies and white bread for breakfast- YUM! We were all very envious of team HTC’s uber posh breakfast they were supplied with.  

I knew stage 3 like the back of my hand. It was 3 laps of this circuit that I had ridden numerous times during my stay in Palmy. Except the race organiser decides to run the race the opposite way round to what was on the rider’s manual.  My lack of experience showed on lap 2 my team mate Emma Crum went up the road with 4 others. I thought it would be a good idea to jump across, I managed to get a gap, turned round and thought phew I haven’t dragged the peloton with me, just as I was joining the breakaway I looked round and the entire bunch was there on my wheel. So I rightly got a bit of a bollocking for bringing my team mates break back. I had some dodgy encounters with the Asian riders in that stage, who were all very happy to go through gaps which aren't gaps.  Again the stage ended in a bunch sprint which was totally controlled by HTC so couldn’t get a look-in there.  So the post race ritual was repeated, recovery drink (hmmm pretending to drink one), skins, feet up, stretch, foam roller, massage and consume vast amounts of muesli and yogurt.  In the evening we had a 1hr crit around the town centre to contest, except it didn’t count for the tour. In other words it was pointless and nobody really raced! I could pedal round practically all the corners, that’s how slow it was. I had a dig on the front with 2 laps to go but got swamped in the back straight.

Stage 5 was another shocker! Won’t go into the details but my climbing legs really weren’t screwed on.  We then travelled back to Lower Hutt for the night. They put on a feast for us; I was quite relieved to only have one more night of force feeding myself carbs, carbs and more carbs! The final stage again didn’t count; it was a 1hr crit around the capital city of Wellington.  Basically 5 people finished the race; it was so fast and dodgy. Was pretty glad when the tour was over, I was feeling physically and mentally very drained. On the plus side I learned heaps and it was great to be part of team cyclosport for the week!The devastation in Christchurch however put my disappointment into perspective! I got on an early flight the next day back to Nelson. Big thanks to Tracy for putting up with me for another day and giving me a mini tour around Wellington! So now I am back in Nelson, 3 days later and my bike is still in it’s box. I am having a week of being a tourist to recharge my batteries and get over this setback. Currently planning the next few days- sky diving, gliding and kayaking with seals are on the cards! 

Ciao for now xxx

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