I’ll admit it; since returning from the US summer, to dreary old Melbourne, my motivation has disappeared. I’ve struggled for the past couple of months with finding any want to ride my bike.
The person I was – the rain, hail or shine rider – has slipped under the doona and lies somewhere with the odd socks that I’ve lost over the years.
For almost two months, I’ve dragged myself out of bed each morning (ok ok I’ve hit snooze a couple of times), reluctantly put every layer of clothing on, and scraped myself through trainings sessions. Fair to say that I have had to top up my Myki card more times than I did the last financial year, which is money I could have spent on cycling accessories!
Thank god for Sam Miranda Tour of the King Valley (TOKV), it was the light at the end of the bad weather vortex. Over the last few weeks it has made me drag myself out of bed and scrape through those sessions. Knowing how tough racing would be if I didn’t put in the hard yards.
TOKV is my favourite race of the year.
I first raced TOKV three years ago, with Cycling Victoria Development Team. It was my first race at the NRS level, the race that got me hooked on NRS racing. Here I am, three years later, lining up with Specialized Securitor, just as excited and nervous as that first race.
This year the racing was everything I expected and more. I must say, the level of the NRS has increased and we faced hard and fast racing for three days straight.
The courses had changed this year, with a shorter ITT, a downtown crit and a new road race course for Stage 3.
Stage 1 ITT was a bit of a fizz for me, I couldn’t find my rhythm and wasn’t really happy with my time.
I was particularly looking forward to the Stage 2 Crit. I was keen to test my legs and apply the skills that I have learned racing crits in the U.S. The added bonus, Wangaratta is my home town and was keen to race in front of a home town crowd, friends, girlfriend, coach and family supporting me on the streets I grew up.
Stage 2 was awesome! The team had a great race, setting up Sophie for the sprints and countering each sprint lap. It scored me most aggressive rider, my first NRS jersey! The result made even sweeter because it was in front of everyone that I love in my life. It ended up a fast one indeed, 40km/hr average thanks to sprint laps every three laps. It was very similar to U.S. racing in that regard, though cash primes would be great along with time bonuses (haha).
It wasn’t in just the crit where my team rode well, we had a great tour across all stages. The racing was hard, fast and tactical, and we performed well as a cohesive unit. We hit all our team objectives and ended up in teams classification jerseys too. Stage 3 and 4 was hard, fast, and tactical and the team performed as a solid unit, it was awesome to be a part of.
There’s nothing like a confidence boost to try to snap you out of the winter blues, though, it’s raining right now and I haven’t ridden my bike all week. Lucky it’s my rest week and I can get away with it.
Next focus is Amy’s Otway Classic in two weeks’ time. It will officially be spring and I can’t wait.
Has anyone else found this winter particularly hard?
All photos courtesy of Con Chronis and can be purchased here.
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Thanks always to Specialized Securitor sponsors. Securitor Financial Group, Specialized Australia, Capo Cycling, Adidas Eyewear. Also to Pro4mance Sports Nutrition and Strava Cycling.