Jess Douglas

Aust Open Road Cycling Championships...the wrap up

20 January 2008

Sometimes we all believe we can do something...even if we probably can't, but just believing gets us half way ahead of the rest of the pack.

After hanging around the SRAM neutral spares pit at all the Bay Crits races and realising how good I was feeling after riding the mountains over Christmas and having a cracker of a ride at AMY'S ride, I decided to enter a full on proper ELITE road race.

I don't even really race the road bike, only one Crit at St Kilda and a handful of club races.  

Thankfully when I told everyone what I was going to do, they agreed, why not, what is the worst that can happen?

I got an entry in on the Monday 7th Jan, the race was Saturday 12th of Jan.  Without even planning it, I really did have a good lead up to the race, the best lead up I could have without even knowing it!

My hill climbing had improved hugely after Hotham, and the speed and kms in my legs had been improving weekly since the Kona 24 hour.  However, all week I was nervous as could be, wondering what would happen.  You see, it was the unknown...what was I really capable of with Australia's best female road riders?  I was also apprehensive that what if I enjoyed it or was any good at it, would it effect my aspirations in mountain biking? 

 

 

Just like in the days before the Kona 24 hour...the time ticked by and I was looking Saturday 12th January in the eye with all the normal nerves and trepidation.

Before the start, I mean, within 10 minutes of being on the line ready to go, I was nervously riding up and back within 100mts not wanting to sit still for even a minute.

Placed myself about mid pack for the start.  Looked around and low and behold I was next to Kathy Watt and I could see other familar faces around me.  They all looked very professional with their earpieces in and sponsored international kits.  Torquay Cycling Factory had paid for me to be able to wear my gear at C.A  events, so I am not saying that I did not look professional, I was just me...on my own, a nobody.  SCARY AS...!  

You know what...I don't even remember if it was a gun or a horn or what, but we were off.  Less than a minute and we were on our first climb of the day.  3km climb up MT Buningyong.  Very controlled on lap 1, with a breakaway of 2or3 riders, no one was worried and counter attacked this early on, so off the lead bunch uncontested...as the remaining 80 odd female riders clogged the whole width of the road as we climbed at a reasonable pace.  The first thing I noticed was the heart rate, up around 180 already and this was lap one.  Me and my 24 hour endurance body was saying this was all wrong...what about preservation of energy and muscle fatigue for the coming 23 hours?  What a shock to the body to work at this load so early on.

I watched the speedo click by the 100 mt blocks so that I knew how far up the hill we were.  I had not ridden or even driven the course so had no idea what was coming up next.  The K.O.M finish was a blind one, and had you thinking it was over long before it actually was, and even then the climb kept on until part way through the left hand bend after the climb.  From here on it was HAPPY DAYs...oh Happy Days!  Descending and undulations with sweeping bends and shade to boot.  Delights of pleasure to be enjoyed and to subdue feelings of vomitting to a dull reminder of the pain just endured.  But what suprised me here was the amount of braking going on and the "lack of smoothness".  Maybe it was just because I was mid bunch and all but it was bad!  I was so careful just to feather my brakes and not make any abrupt movements, as I did not want to be in or cause a fall of any sort.  

10.2kms of road slipped by nice and easy for lap 1.  You can guess the rest...it got harder! (and there was 10 laps to be done in total) By lap 4, I had to work hard to finish at the back of the bunch on the hill climb but by the time we got to the descent I was back midbunch no problem.  No doubt the mountain biker in me saved the day with my confidence and determination in each descent.  The 5th lap saw the lead girls take the chance and make an attack to start trying to catch the breakaways.  Of course, as all good cyclists do, they waited until the rest of the field was at their weakest, at the last 200mt(the steepest too!) of the K.O.M climb.  That was when if GOOGLE Earth was taking satellite pictures of the area at that exact time, they would have seen what may have looked like a B Double Semi with its load falling and scattering out onto the road as it kept moving foward at 100kmph along the road. 

So it wasnt just me thank goodness, a very large portion of starters were turfed out at this stage and we struggled to regroup into some sort of bunch even if it was a pair.  At this stage, I started to cramp and thought I better do one more lap and then I might call it a day.  I did not want to commisairre waving me off the course.  I ended the day with 6 laps under my belt and could say I rode with Oenone Wood!

I loved it so much I am looking into what road race I can do next...I think the Baw Baw classic looks promising! 

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Jess has not only first hand experience in coaching, but is a qualified fitness coach & cycling coach. She is a 3x Australian and 3x World Mountain bike champion and loves helping people be the best they can be.

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