Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Saturated Summer Series

Round three of Logan Cycling Club’s summer criterium series was held on March 30th 2014.
With almost one rainy race in this series each year for as long as I can remember, this time the weather held out just until our women’s A race (thanks BOM QLD).

With slightly adverse weather conditions and a wet track, it made the possibility of an early winning break more likely. 
Even before the first prime, Cassie (Specialized Securitor), Jess (Total Rush) and Jane W (Campos) seized the opportunity to get away.  

Some hesitation from the bunch and some soft turns led to the three riders gaining a reasonable lead in a short space of time.  Sally (Ashgrove Cycles) saw early on that this break could be dangerous and committed herself to getting across. 

Now with the breakaway containing four riders, the bunch would need to be working better to get them back.  

The Campos team was then under no pressure to bring back the break, since they had a strong rider represented in it (Jane).  

So it was left to others such as Liz (Riders Morningside), Jemma (Holden) and Rachel (Koiled Tineli) to do lots of work on the front. 


Similar to week 2, the break only just got caught before the finish of the race.  Jess (Total Rush) sensed this early and counterattacked her break companions with about 2 laps to go.  Jess was then out solo for about a lap with the bunch chasing.  Jazzy (Campos) tried to jump across to Jess with about one lap to go, and although she gapped the bunch, she couldn’t quite reach Jess in time.  

Hence Jess soloed to the line for a well deserved win, with Jazzy second and Louise (Campos) winning the bunch kick for third.  Jemma (Holden) finished safely in the bunch to retain her overall lead and win the series for 2014.  Thanks to Pete Dunlop for the photos from this round.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Aggressive women's racing... good to see!

Round two of Logan Cycling Club's summer criterium series was held on March 16th.
I think this was definitely the most assertive women's race I've been in for quite a while, with numerous attacks off the front.

Although many ladies got a few meters away from the bunch, most of the time they were left hanging out there for just a lap or two, and then reeled in again before the next attack would go.

With two primes, plus the final sprint to contest as well, it made for some tired legs by the end of the race.  Not long after the second prime, Cassie (Specialized Securitor) and Kirsten (KPCC) got away, and with two laps to go, this was looking rather dangerous.

Campos had the numbers in this race, and hence they were forced to get on the front and chase (especially without a team member in the break).

In a very tight finish, Kirsten and Cassie were pretty much caught on the line by the chasing bunch.  Jemma (Holden) demonstrated another awesome sprint to finish first, with Liz (Morningside) and Jane (Campos) incredibly close behind.

Cassie held on for fourth, with myself managing fifth.  I think we're all hoping the rain stays away this weekend for the final round this Sunday.    
Photos from this round by Sean Dench and Pete Dunlop.  Thanks guys!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

A metre matters

The first round of the Logan Cycling Club's annual summer criterium series was held on Sunday. Overshadowing the event this year was the very recent passing of young cyclist Mardi Bartlett.  Although I didn't personally know her very well, many cyclists in the local Brisbane area did know her, and if certain things hadn't happened, she was due to be racing with us women on Sunday.
I have never shed tears before a criterium event, but Sunday was different.  The minute silence before our race was a very poignant moment, and an important time to reflect on how precious life is, and how much we should not take it for granted.

Mardi Bartlett's death was unnecessary and tragic.  However, hopefully it has helped to bring lots of people together, and raise more awareness about cyclist safety.
I feel a bit guilty about seeming some what insensitive and following this up with a relatively trivial race report. Having said that, from what Holly has indicated, I think Mardi was a person who loved life and cycling, and would have liked to see her friends race well in her memory.

This year the women's Campos team has strengthened their numbers with 3 new recruits (Jess L, Jane W, Jahna H), in addition to Jazzy, Judy Lou and Corissa.
In this first race of the series, we also had representatives from teams such as Lifecycle, Specialized Securitor, Holden, Total Rush, KP and Bicycle Riders Morningside. Add in NRS women's winner for 2013 (now AIS) Kat Garfoot, and the race was sure to be interesting.


Quite a few early breaks were initiated by various women, but about half way through the race Kat, Jemma, Liz and Jazzy created the final break of the day.  Towards the end of the race, Liz's hard work in the first few breaks of the day took its toll and she couldn't hang on any longer.
That left Kat, Jemma and Jazzy to battle it out for the top three places.

On the last lap, Kat put in a powerful attack to gap the other two, and win comfortably.  This also put her in the leader's jersey for round two (in 2 week's time).
Photos thanks to ESI, Bruce Wilson and Holly G.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Bay Criteriums 2014 - a nice way to start the year

Fortunately I was allowed some time off work over New Year, and we were able to squeeze in a short trip to Geelong to watch the 'Bay Crits'. Having raced them in 2011, I wondered what it would be like to be sitting on the sidelines this time... but to be honest, it was just as good, and without the hurt!

In particular, it was great to see that more women raced this series of Bay Crits than ever before (and there were more elite women this year than elite men for the first time), and it was an honor to see Italian (previous world champ) Giorgia Bronzini race the circuits too (for Wiggle Honda).

Race #1 was at Ritchie Blvd, a tight hot dog circuit with the potentially slippery drain-covers on the corners. With most girls having fresh legs for this first race, it was hard and fast, with Bronzini demonstrating what she does best, and winning the bunch sprint.

Race #2 was at Eastern Gardens, and was once again a tough race, with a tight off-camber right handed corner, leading to a fast tail wind section, and then a tough little pinch before returning to the finish line. Chloe Hosking (SUVelo / Hitec) apparently started her final run too soon, but she did well to hold off the other sprinters to win this one.

Race #3 was at the tricky Portarlington circuit, with lots of intermittent wind and rain, interspersed with some sunshine (... this is winter or summer?). For Brisbanites like me, it was a cold day! Previously this was always a circuit that favoured a breakaway by some climbers, but I think this year, everyone was too aware of what may happen, and most of the breakaway attempts were quickly shut down, or monitored very closely by the bunch. Bronzini showed her skill again and won this one again from a bunch sprint.

Race #4 was back closer to Melbourne at Williamstown and the sun came out again to make it a great warm day. Again, everyone was on the alert for breakaways, and although the bunch let one group get away, it was only for a limited period of time before they were reeled back in. Another bunch sprint resulted, and Bronzini had one more chance to show what she does best.

Photos by JXPPhotography, with amateur shots by Brad Gooda.  :)

Friday, December 13, 2013

29" MTB wheels? Yes!

This was the question, and now I have answered it.  Although I am not 'super short' (approx 161cm), there was always the worry in the back of my mind that maybe 29" wheels would not be suitable.  I had read lots of reviews of bikes for women, particularly Specialized 29" vs Giant 650B, and although both had benefits, I was more and more tempted by the leap to 29" wheels.

Part of my decision was helped along by Marianne (from http://dutchielovescycling.tumblr.com ).  She (probably unknowingly) helped me take the plunge and buy the Fate.  Marianne had nothing but good words to say about the bike, and fortunately she also recommended me to a really good Specialized mountain bike dealer.  Having previously helped out at a bike shop, and looked at many others in the past, I know what makes a good bike shop, with great customer service, and staff who really know their products.

My favorite bike shops (by Steve at Crankstar, and Shayne and Pip at Semiracer) are road-specific... so I was obliged to go elsewhere to buy a new bike for the dirt.  In the end, I couldn't have landed at a nicer place.  Bicycle Riders Morningside (BRM) now also has my big 'tick of approval'.  They were incredibly helpful while I made my decision, without being pushy at any stage.  Simon could easily answer all my questions about the different bike options and extras, and had lots of additional helpful tips also.  He is also very well trained at bike fitting (a credit to both the body geometry fit (bgfit) system and Simon's own eagerness to learn more about what makes a good fit).

I am now even happier than I thought I would be with the bike.
The Fate is a dream to ride, light weight and responsive.  The 29" wheels definitely do roll much better over obstacles than my old 26" bike.  I did splash out on carbon tubeless wheels, to reduce the weight of the bike, and to gain stiffer, faster rolling, precise wheels.  Definitely worth every cent.
More about BRM...
http://www.bicycleriders.com.au
More about the Roval wheels...
http://www.bicycling.com/mountainbikecom/bikes-gear/specialized-s-innovative-roval-control-29-carbon-wheels-tested

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

KPCC Novice Women's Tour Week 3 - like fortifying wine

The last weekend of the KPCC #NWT was held at Crestmead on Sunday (1/12). The teams time trial was held first to assist the reinforcement of team skills learned in the previous two weeks. A short tea break followed, including an informative bike maintenance session held by both Tracey and Bronwyn of Planet Cycles. The modified road race that followed showed lots of assertive racing by the women, with some bold breakaway attempts and good use of team tactics. Again this week, the participants demonstrated what you can achieve by going outside your own comfort zone.

Just like fortified wine, bike racing events should be delicious, memorable experiences. KPCC is endeavouring to take the 'base wine' (ie. women's base interest to ride bikes and to take part in cycling events) and then fortify it with additional 'alcohol' (ie. further skills, knowledge and experiences for women in a safe, supported environment) to develop a truly awesome product that lots of people will talk and reminisce about, and naturally encourage others to try.

To end, I have borrowed an excerpt from the womenscyclingmatters blog about SKCC and last weekend's Tour of Bright...  it pretty much sums up what we should be noticing and encouraging with women's cycling...
"Our clubs and administrators are on board and are shouting from the rooftops about women’s cycling. There are photos of women riding and racing on websites... yes it is just the small things for now but just the same, it is symbolic of change and I am very excited."  

Visit www.kpcc.org.au for more motivating projects during 2014.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

KPCC Novice Women's Tour Week 2 - onwards and upwards


This week the participants learned some more about team tactics and racing, as well as some more individual skills.

Many ladies surprised themselves with their own abilities, 

and realised that you can trust your riding buddies!


The media gallery were also out in force after the glowing feedback from the participants of week 1.

Week 2 also involved a criterium at Nundah, this time with four groups (team red, team blue, team yellow and team pink) of 4-6 riders. 

This was an excellent opportunity to use some recently acquired team-racing skills. 

Quite a few attacks went off the front by various riders, but in the end a team rider from each of blue, pink and red stayed away for the podium spots. 

Unfortunately Kirsty has been teaching the subject of camaraderie and respect a little too well, and the girls decided to cross the line together for equal first place!!!

Next week is the final week of #NWT, this time at Crestmead, with a teams time trial, and then a longer “road race” / kermesse style race.  Thanks again to Kirsty Broun Cycling, Activ Cycle, and Planet Cycles for their involvement, and to Brad Gooda for the photos.