This post is going to be short. Or relatively short anyway.
Wow, I can’t believe that it was only three months ago that N and I were driving out to the first Cykel Red Star Coffee Women’s Grand Prix at windy windy Casey Fields. We were to join 100 or so Women, in the women only series designed to get women into racing and provide an equal playing field.
I was entered to race in the Novice Classification. And I was packing myself! I had only raced once or twice before Cykel. The Women@HCC offered wise words to calm our nerves, and I lined up on the start with the other 12 or so Novices. Fast forward a few hours and I found myself standing on the podium, 3rd. I could not believe it.
Round two was held in Bendigo, at Mayfield Park Course. This course was much like SKCC’s Port Melbourne circuit, but with a slight rise in gradient on two corners. I had been training, I had squeezed in a few more races and felt stronger than in the first round. This time, I lined up with the other Novices wearing the leaders jersey (from countback). I was stressed, feeling a little bit of performance anxiety which is silly I know, but my brain over analyses everything and it would not shut up. I got over it, because fast forward a few hours and I found myself on the podium again, this time 1st. What the!?
Round three, darn it…we were back at windy ‘ol Casey Fields and I had been promoted. A great opportunity to get experience and improve…but I had podiumed twice and was out od Novice contention. anyway. This meant that I would prologue with the rest of the field and race as Hawthorn Black with Deb Richards. Stoaked with that! I was strangely calm, probably because I placed less expectation on myself this time. and…Somehow, well maybe not, I qualified for Division 2. I was proud and nervous. But missed many novice buddies. I wanted only to hang on with Div 2! This was my first B grade race. And I did manage to hang on. I did not come first or last. But I made it. I learned a lot about racing that day. Click here to watch the video taken from my handlebars and click here to see a video of Total Rush Team Mate Bridie O’Donnell offering post race advise.
Round four. A brutal hot-dog circuit at Richmond Boulevard tested me. I was not looking forward to it. a) because of the hot-dog style course, and b) because I was not feeling 100%. It was the last race in the series, my family and best friends came to watch me race. I pushed through, qualified for division 2, and lined up to endure the pain. I rode as best I could. I finished, that is all.
I’m so proud that my former fellow Novices, S and N podium. Nadia taking out the overall Novice Series and Sue coming in 2nd. They are such strong riders and definitely aren’t novices anymore!
The Cykel Red Star Coffee Women’s Grand Prix series and all the women involved has helped me improve so much as a rider, and has helped me change my attitude as well. I’m not scared of being dropped anymore. I’ve grown so much (not literally) over the series and definitely can’t wait to next year!
Kudos to Rob Carson for putting on such a great event for women’s cycling and to all the Women@HCC who participated. Hawthorn CC is such a great club, with the best women’s cycling program in Melbourne (i’m biased). To join click here. The go and buy a bike, and ride it.
It will change your life!
Photo Credits: Murray Payne