For a long while I have wanted to do a cycling race. And when I mean a long while, we’re talking years!
Cycling without a shadow of a doubt is my strongest discipline in triathlon. It is always my strongest split, and because of that its my favourite! I literally love my bikes…they are my children!
My dad has been nagging for a long while to just ‘give it a go’, alongside Jonney pushing me to just ‘get involved’, and now we’re in Melbourne, the tri season is over for winter and I have a new roadie – there were no more excuses. Time to bite the bullet and approach my local cycling club – St. Kilda Cycling Club.
I could not have received a more welcome ‘hello’. Following a super friendly phone call with one of the women’s development squad coordinators on Friday lunchtime (Alison) after only texting her on the Thursday – I found myself recce-ing a road race course on the Saturday morning in Newham with the lovely Lisa. What an super friendly group of women. Cue… joining up with SKCC, getting an ‘elite racing license’ – which believe me sounds terrifying. Cycling Australia have this amazing initiative where they are trying to introduce women under 30 to cycle racing. Being under 30 you have to have an elite license, and these are pretty pricey. Therefore each cycling club has a number of these licenses for women U30 who are racing their first season. I fulfilled all of those criteria – so thank you very very much SKCC for supporting me in obtaining this license! Again – another amazing friendly lady – Gaelene – who aided me getting the license, and then talked me through actually entering a race online one Monday evening.
2 weeks later I found myself on the start line of that very race I recce-d 2 weeks prior. I had been fortunate enough to get a kit drop from another lady (have we mentioned how AMAZINGLY friendly and kind Aussies are – I truly believe we miss this genuine generosity back home) I found myself on the start line. I was the epitome of all the gear and no idea.
Probably not at my fittest following an end of tri season break in April I was terrified. The race initially had been suggested at 60km 2 laps. This was now 3 laps 90km. At speed. With hills. With tactics. Thank goodness for my friend and fellow triathlete Al who also had the same crazy idea as myself – I knew she would be there with me every pedal of the way!
Here is the race report…through my brain…verbalised….
Oh my goodness oh my goodness we’re about to start, I am definitely going to be dropped, Al…AL…I think I am going to be sick. Why on earth am I doing this!
Ok, this is leisurely, cool, I can keep this pace, everyone seems nice, ok perfect, leisurely leisurely
Right first big downhill, I’ve practised this, go for it Katherine, pull up the big girl pants and go go go. Yes I know its wet, it’s just going down a hill. Do it do it do it.
Ok I’ve kept up with these 5 blokes, where did everyone else go. Mmmm there seems to be no women about. What to do, what to do. I think we dropped the rest of the women. Ok – that’s cool, play it cool Kat, you can hang with these guys.
Ok, we’re in a rhythm, rolling turns nailed. This is lovely, I’m being told what to do, I can do this pace.
One lap DOWN…should probably take a sip of that water I’m carrying.
Ok lovely lovely 2nd lap downhill, mmmm they’re ramping up, pedal pedal pedal down this downhill, don’t drop them now!
Argh….we’ve turned back into the head wind. I think we dropped somebody…guys I think we’re down to 5. Ok, they don’t seem to care too much! Lets plough on.
Apparently the chasing group of close, 3min close, I’m scared – what happens now. I like my group, I don’t want to split up, this pace is good, this guys are practically my friends now.
Man why am I stuck at the front….HELLO, boys I am at the front, I’m the smallest… I’m dragging you along. Quick – signal for them to come in front of me, I’ve been at the front FAR too long.
Right chasing group are 500m away, turn around, yep looks like the tour de france are behind me. I’m going to get swallowed up, I’m scared. Guys – me again – don’t leave me!
3rd time up the hills….pedal pedal pedal…crap I can’t keep up with this overtaking group. COME on Katherine don’t drop them.
Oh. Rubbish. They’ve gone. Well that’s the end of that now. Looks like a 25km time trial for one. Probably should take on some of that fuel I have…2 hours in, nothing to eat, not the wisest.
Ok…turn around. Next group of menacing guys coming towards me. Oh no…we’re coming to a hill, this isn’t going to work out.
Ok they’re passing, they’re passing – pedal like crazy Katherine. Stay on their wheels. Oh, they yelling patronising words of encouragement. Clearly they have no intention of keeping me on their tail. See you later guys!
Right…10km to go. Enough dilly dallying Katherine – the faster you pedal, the faster you are home. You’ve slogged your guts off until now – just get to the damm finish line.
Really wish it would stop raining.
Oh hey Al, hey Sarah. Hang on….you’re not on your bikes…mmm 2 laps sounds a lot more fun.
Right last big up hill. Finish. YES!
Smiles, laughs, oh 4th female across the line.
Right café…Jonney…when can I do another one!
So….bring on more road racing this Winter – despite the rain, cold and wind, I may have got the bug!