Below is the first part of a daily diary I’ve been keeping for Peloton Cafe an Australian Cycling Website.
“The Warrny” as it is affectionately known by Australian cyclists. It is the second oldest one day cycling race in the world and one of the most highly prized in Australia with recent winners including Gerrans, Walker, Decker, Pearson and Goesinnen. Despite having never raced it before, there was something incredibly alluring about the 265km race, renowned for windswept roads, strong crosswinds and hard-fought victories. This race was number one on my goals list, set right back at the end of last year.
The sixth and final round of the Benchmark Homes Elite Series was held at the Farringdon Subdivision just out of Rolleston, incorporating a team time trial and the iconic ‘Hell of the South’ road race. After a solid performance in round five, I went into the final round as the series leader but on equal points with Tom Hubbard while Joe Chapman was only one point behind. Being only week before my big target for season the Melbourne to Warrnambool, I was feeling very confident about my form heading into the race.
The four stage national capital tour was held over three days in Australia’s capital City of Canberra 20-22nd September. It opened with a fast 16.5km TT at the National Museum on Friday before a tough 120km road race on Saturday around Stromlo and finishing up the challenging climb to Honeysuckle. Sunday consisted of a fast inner city circuit race before a tough closing criterium outside Parliament House in the afternoon.
Confidence found from my win in previous Hokitika round, as well as the disappointment of my recent disqualification at the Tour of Murray gave me a lot of motivation to do well heading into Round Five of the Elite Series held in Queenstown.
Yes, one month after the race and I have finally got around to writing about the Tour of Murray. It was a real disappointment for me and I was almost inclined to skip over it altogether but In the interest of capturing all of my races for future reference, I’ll give a quick rundown.
After a couple of days spent in Melbourne, I finally find myself back at home, in front of the key board and in a position to reflect and report on what was one of the most memorable weeks in my cycling career, the Tour of the Great South Coast. The effort put in by everyone in the Budget Forklifts team the entire week was immense and I feel even a blow by blow novel of the entire race would struggle to capture this. Today I am going to stray from my usual blogging format and instead focus on the key moments of the tour.
Before I launch into a report on the Tour of the Great South Coast, I should mention I had a successful trip over to Hokitika the weekend prior, for Round 4 of the Elite Series. Racing in the familiar colours of the Benchmark Holmes cycling team, we loaded up the two team cars and headed west on Friday afternoon, with the rain falling more heavily the closer we got to the destination.
Gippsland was an overwhelming success for Team Budget Forklifts with the Overall Win, Team Classification and Sprint Classification and a Stage Win being shared out amongst our tight knit team. Not to mention a further two riders in the top ten and multiple podium spots on individual stages. It was the sort of result that makes all the sacrifices, the long days of training, time away from friends and family and the time off work, seem worthwhile.
Round five of the NRS, The Santos North West Tour took place last week with the towns of Narrabri and Coonabarabran in the North West of New South Wales playing host to the race. It was certainly no easy task getting there with two flights, first to Brisbane and then onward to Newcastle being followed by what seemed like an eternity spent in the team van. This particular race had attracted some pretty negative press the year previous for poor traffic management and lack of road closures however there were certainly no issues in this year’s edition. It was a well run event and in particular I think the organisers should be commended on their choice to allow time trial bikes in the opening TT stage. I was pumped to finally get a chance to get my Cervelo P5 out for an NRS round.