I was out in the Toowoomba-region last weekend not to visit old relatives but for a much different reason… The Oceania Road Championships were held over two days of racing; with only a small field present it was quality riders rather than quantity.
After a day of settling into country life, time seemed to have slowed down and I was eager to get the racing underway. Friday presented a grueling 25km ITT on the worst roads the organizers could find. An Individual Time Trial is always a good indicator of how your form is and I was interested to find out how I was going after a not so ideal week I shouldn’t of expected great results… I was in for a rough day ahead and had an absolute shocker (blinder, terrible, bad) ride.
With a much needed rest day on Saturday, I did the only touristy thing there is to do in Toowoomba and went up to Picnic Point. A nice distraction I tried to recuperate from yesterday’s experience and kept my focus positive for the day ahead.
It was an early race start of 8.00AM – some saying it was a rude time to be up, however I found myself in my element being up before the crack of dawn and rearing to go. The field was small, attacks were hard and there was nowhere to hide. The race was heating up early and breaks were making sizeable gaps – plenty looking promising.
I managed to bridge to a break and with me, bring a few companions. With 40k to go three girls and I were working together and created a reasonable gap. As we were coming around for the final lap, we took a left hand turn into the head wind – where we planned to increase our distance to the chasing peloton. Suddenly my circumstances changed and I found myself stuck in the smallest cog with only two options remaining – the 39 and 53. Quickly reassessing my situation with my limited options I had no choice but to keep riding (A little last minute SE training for New Zealand I rationalized).
I found myself a little useless with my breakaway companions and our gap was shutdown. One after another, there was counter attacks left, right and centre. There was a short lull and I seized the opportunity to get ahead start on the hills to come. I attacked / rolled off the front, trying to get the gear going but nothing over 80rpm was going to happen. With a reasonable head start all I had to do was make it over the final two climbs to stay in contention for the win. I made it over the first one- Just. With a cadence of at least 20 every revolution burned. The following hill came after a very short decent, which left me with very limited time to recover. I got to the base of the final climb completely ruined and as I looked back I could see the winning break comprised of Garfoot, Kitchen, Williams and Neylan coming with speed… and cadence.
A disappointing race left me feeling under-whelmed and was an instant reminder of how cruel bike racing can truly be. With the NZ tour coming around so quick my focus has turned to the very tough tour coming up this week!
Next up: New Zealand Women’s Tour 18th Feb – 22nd Feb