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UCI 1.1 GP Gatineau: 122kms

Our 'family' photo shoot

Our ‘family’ photo shoot

I spent a few days at home after the Philadelphia Classic before driving with the team to the French-speaking town of Gatineau, Quebec for the UCI 1.1 GP Gatineau road race. It feels like only yesterday I was living in France, trying to communicate with the French. It appears that 8 months in France didn’t improve my French vocabulary as I still stood there like a ‘stunned mullet’ whenever anyone spoke to me. However, we were very lucky to have a French Canadian, Alison on our team, her mum and Tania to be our translators over the weekend.

I was really looking forward to this road race, as the course was looking to be very tough, technical and undulating. We raced 122kms, 12 laps of a 10.8km circuit. Each lap featured 13 corners, including 3 ‘U turns’, two roundabouts, a footpath and 3 on/off ramps onto highways. It was going to be crucial to stay at the front of the bunch to avoid crashes.

The race was fairly aggressive right from the start with a lot of teams trying to break the field apart. At the halfway point, the biggest teams in the peloton, Optum and Tibco starting sending riders away and we had to make sure that we were in any threatening moves. With 40kms to go I found myself in the lead group with 5 other riders, all from the bigger teams. I thought to myself that this was perfect, the race should get shut down and the race will be decided between the 6 of us. We all worked really well together until Tibco decided to chase down the break, as I don’t think they had full confidence with their rider in the lead group winning the race. As soon as we were absorbed back into the peloton another 6 riders representing the bigger teams rode away but I was too exhausted to respond. Unfortunately that was the winning break and we had no riders from our team in it. I finished with the peloton in a sprint finish and placed 17th. I was pretty disappointed to miss the winning move but I was very happy with my ride as I did have an impact on the race and felt a lot stronger than last week. Optum road a perfect race and did a great job to take the win.

The NCCH p/b DEC Express girls at team presentation

The NCCH p/b DEC Express girls at team presentation

I have spent one day back at home before heading off to Minneapolis tomorrow morning. I guest ride for Specialized-Lululemon in the North Star Bicycle Festival starting on Wednesday. I’m really excited to get this opportunity to race with such a professional team and can’t wait to work hard for them. The race is a 5-day tour, including a time trial, 3 criteriums and 2 road races. You can check out the tour here. I will keep you updated throughout the tour.

Philadelphia (No, not the cream cheese)

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The Philadelphia cycling classic is a very famous and prestigious race in North America. It has a long history and is known for the brutally hard ‘Manayunk Wall’ climb on the end of each lap. This year was a very special year as the 2014 Parx Casino Philly Cycling Classic offered $62,000 in prize money that would be split equally between the men’s and women’s fields. It came to no surprise that the women’s field had 122 starters across 17 different countries; being one of the best quality women’s fields they’ve ever seen at this race. The atmosphere of Philadelphia was incredible leading up to the race. Everyone knew about it, café’s and restaurants had signs out and discounts on beer and food and all the residents were just really excited that this bike race was racing around their hometown.

The women raced 5 laps of the 12 mile circuit (yes, I have to start thinking in miles now) with a total of 61.5miles (98kms). I was really excited to race this event as I’ve never raced in America before and from what I’ve heard, it’s an awesome experience. I thought the 5 repeats of the famous ‘Manayunk Wall’ and ‘Lemon Hill KOM’ were going to be the biggest challenge but the 55km/h pace on the flats between the climbs proved to be just as hard, if not harder if you were slightly off the back of the leaders over the climbs. The pace was on from the start and I don’t think I’ve ever raced in a race as aggressive as this one. I couldn’t believe how fast we were going. Allison Powers (UHC) rode away solo on the first lap and stayed away for 3 of the 5 laps. I didn’t even realize anyone was away until they held a sign out saying ‘45seconds’. How she stayed away solo for so long is incredible and goes to show why she is the current US Time Trial, Road Race and Criterium Champion!

Each lap I appeared to be struggling more and got dropped from the peloton on the 3rd lap. I worked hard with a few girls to stay in the race but the commissaires pulled us out with one lap to go as the course double backed on itself and it was simply too dangerous having riders riding head on towards each other. I was pretty disappointed with my result as I’ve been training really well and thought I could’ve had a good crack at this race.

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However, I really enjoyed this race and it’s definitely one I want to come back to again in the future. The spectators and race organizers were so enthusiastic and supportive and would cheer on every single person. We really need more races like this where the women’s field gets the same amount of recognition as the men’s. I’d like to say a huge thanks to Jordan Broad and Maddy Vit for all their hard work managing the team over the weekend. We really appreciated it!
I’d also like to wish Karol-Ann Canuel, (my team mate from last year) a speedy recovery after a nasty crash in the race at Philly.

I am now back in my hometown of Ancaster and will be driving to Gatineau, Quebec tomorrow for the UCI GP Gatineau Road Race on Saturday. I’m really looking forward to it and am eager to get a solid result 🙂

CANADA EH: 

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For those of you who don’t know, I am spending this season racing, training and also working in North America. I’m living with a lovely host family in a cute, small town called Ancaster in the provence of Ontario, Canada. I am racing for a Canadian team called the NCCH p/b Dec Express. This team caters for all levels of cyclists from 7 year old beginners, through to masters. This year the team has a men and women’s U23 squad that will travel and race the North American circuit.

After arriving only 3 weeks ago, I have raced to one day road races. The first one was after only 5 days of landing and boy i was feeling rough. We travelled 2 hours north to a town called Collingwood where we raced the ‘Grey County Road Race’ as part of the ‘Ontario Cup’ Series. Unfortunately, i got dropped from the lead group with 40kms to go in the race and then had a mechanical and was a DNF. I was disappointed with my first performance here but my team mate Karlee Gendron had a fantastic ride and placed 2nd!

The following week i raced in another Ontario Cup called the ‘Niagara Classic’ in the beautiful region of Niagara. This was a tough 11km circuit with a very steep, punchy climb every lap, followed by a slight incline to the finish. My legs had finally gotten over the jet lag and i had a fantastic race. I found myself in a lot of solo break aways but unfortunately nothing was going to stay away in the strong winds. The race ended in a small group and i placed second in the sprint finish…yes a sprint finish. For those that don’t know my style of riding, i can tell you that i lack immensely in the ‘sprinting’ category so i was very happy with this result.

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Following that race, i’ve spent the last week training hard in preparation for some bigger races and more importantly tours comig up. I head to Philadelphia on Friday to race the prestigious ‘Philly Classic’ on June 1st. There are going to be some world class bike riders there and I am really looking forward to competing in my first ever American race! I then head off to Quebec for a UCI one day road race, ‘GP Gatineau’ (June 7th), followed by a guest ride with professional women’s team Specialized Lululemon in the Nature Valley Tour in America (June 12-16). It’s going to be a busy few weeks but i can’t wait to get into more racing and hopefully come back with some good results. I’ll keep you all updated 🙂

 

Welcome to my new website/blog!

I’ve been wanting to set myself up a website/blog for the last couple of years and i’ve finally got around to doing it! (My computer skills have improved dramatically ever since). I’m still getting the hang of it, and will continually be editing, but i think it’s now ready to launch.

I want this blog to be used to keep you, my family, friends, sponsors and supporters up to date with my training, racing and whereabouts around the world.  The website can also be interactive so i would love you to please comment, like and follow as i will be posting blogs frequently.

I hope you enjoy it and please let me know if there is anything specific you’d like me to post about 🙂

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