Since I last posted (which was way back in NOVEMBER, yikes), I've raced a bit and trained a lot. The racing highlight was definitely Tour of Bright in north-easter Victoria on Dec 5-6. Every year the women's comp in particular just seems to get stronger and this year was no exception! Notable attendees included Vicki Whitelaw, Bridie O'Donnell, Carlee Taylor, Chloe Hosking, Kathy Watt, Myffy Galloway, Katherine O'Shea, the entire Australian talent ID/development squad, plus riders from ACTAS, QAS and SASI. Yikes indeed. I came as part of the NTID squad and spent a few days prior to the race in a team training camp, which for me consisted largely of feeling nervous while doctors laid bets on how many sets of antibiotics I could be prescribed without keeling over. (As an aside, have you ever tried carbo loading while taking an antibiotic 4 times a day that must be taken on an empty stomach, at least 2.5hours without eating? I thought climbing Hotham was hard, but this is a whole new way to torture the weak)
Despite a couple of minor mishaps, including a missing bike before the start of stage 1 (you always forget one thing...), the tour went well, far better than I'd expected. In short:
- Stage 1 (79km Ovens to Bright via Rosewhite and Tawonga Gaps): 5th
- Stage 2 (time trial): 7th
- Stage 3 (56km from Bright to the top of Mt Hotham): 1st... in a solo break which was the race of my life. (the above pic was taken from the climb)
- Overall General Classification: 3rd
- Overal King of Mountains: 3rd
It was awesome to ride against such good riders and to get introduced to some team tactics as well! Vicki Whitelaw took out a well-deserved win and Sharna Gillow (QAS) was 2nd and KOM. It was an honour to be up there in the mix and to come away with 3rd on GC is something that I'll hold quite dear.
Tour of Bright was followed by a spectacularly unsuccessful day of fly fishing in Eildon which I believe I actually heard the trout laughing at me. My dreams of recreating a loaves-and-fishes-like scenario for the greater Fairfield region were crushed and in desperation I packed up my bags and moved to Adelaide.
SO... (and now I'm almost up to date), Christmas has come and gone, Nationals are almost upon us and I have just had the coolest Christmas present ever which was a SASI scholarship for 2009. If I can race as well as I can possibly race at Nationals then it'll even be worth skipping that ice cream tonight.
(*As a post-script, I have given up hope of winning a Wii with my paddlepop quest as my paddlepop partner in crime has inconsiderately left the country to race xc ski world cups overseas. Where's the dedication??)