Since my last post, I have ended the season, had a break and am now back into training – so lots to catch up on.
I will start from the end of the season, back in April, with the Easter tour a two-day tour jam-packed with four races. Long story short, I only finished two of the three races and went home not very pleased with myself but very motivated to hit it hard for club nationals at the beginning of May.
They say you need the lows to experience the highs and if the Easter tour was a low then nationals was the high of highs. We (elite and U23 women) had a 25km time trial (race against the clock) on the Thursday afternoon and then a 105km road race on the Friday morning – both separate races. The time trial is very straight forward. You get on the bike and go as hard as you can for the 25km and hope for a fast time. This I did and came away with my first ever individual club national medal silver in the U23 category. So I went back to the motel a happy hippo to rest and recover before the road race in the morning.
I was feeling pretty good on the morning of the race, a bit of nerves with most of the NZ track team lining up to stretch their road legs and a hard five-lap course awaiting. Fortunately I was lining up in Ramblers’ colours with four other team mates so felt confident we could work as a team and have each other’s back. As the race rolled into the final lap, I was still feeling pretty good. I decided to take a gamble and ride away from the bunch, hoping I was strong enough and was timing it well enough to stay away, despite the power of those behind. The bunch let me ride away from them and my initial thoughts were that I would get this small moment of glory before being swallowed back up by the chasing riders. With 10 kilometres to go to the finish, I thought maybe taking it all the way was possible.
It was, and I am stoked and a little incredulous to find that I am now the current New Zealand Club National champion in the elite women’s race. And man, that was the longest last 10 kilometres of my life, battling cramp but so filled with adrenalin and powered on by the screams of all my supporters. I used up my two-minute gap finishing just six seconds ahead of the chasing group, apparently a stressful margin for my supporters, though I had it under control ;). Not really, it wasn’t until about 300m to go that I knew I had it and was able to throw my hands up and claim the win.
Massive thanks to everyone who helped me along the way – my Ramblers team mates who sacrificed their races to help me win, my family who came to watch, the boys at The Hub for the loan of the lucky wheels, which once again did me proud, and of course my coach, who apparently aged 10 years during the last few kilometres of the race.
So what then? I raced the winter tour a month later and finished second, then took a month off the bike to recharge the batteries for the upcoming season. I am now back into training and looking forward to taking the confidence I’ve gained into the upcoming season. My first race back will be a North Island teams’ race on 20 September when I will race for the Ramblers women’s team.
Onwards and upwards. Thanks for reading.