Meriel's Perth Diary

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merils nat 2013


The Perth Festival of Cycling (UWCT) and Cycling Australia Masters Track National Championships April 2013

Would you like to push the boundaries a little bit further? You could consider training for National Masters track and road events! Next year the Track Masters' Championships will be in Melbourne. And the Master's Games are in Geelong very soon!!

You'll never know how much fun you can have or far you can go - if you don't have a go!
This applies equally to riding along the beach, to the shops, up Mount Lofty or a competition with friends, new and old. Competition is not for everyone. A quest for fun is what brought most of us to the Skinny Lattes!

Following is a "blog" about my latest, and most unlikely "cycling story"... hopefully it will make you go... "If she can do it, I *@$%^ will too!"

After an impressive crit season and sparkling debut at Masters' State Championships, Skinny Latte, Kerri Maccini decided to enter the Masters Track Nationals.
Last year Sharee had talked me into doing the Nationals in Sydney. We went and had a great time, doing stuff we would never have imagined just months before! So I thought I would go along with Kerri.
Anyone can go to Track Masters (chronological giftedness is the main criteria ).
This year the Masters Track Nationals were held in Perth as part of The Perth Festival of Cycling.
This meant that there was a UWCT Individual Time Trial and a Road Race for Masters riders as well as the prestigious National Road Series for the young guns all happening within a week!

Kerri found us a four-bedroom house to rent for a week, at a reasonable price; we booked our flights and teamed up with PACC super-stars Kel Hards and Sam Farrell.

When you go, consider renting an apartment or house, preferably with a garage – the rent shared between several people is reasonable and you have kitchen and laundry facilities & maybe an outside area and undercover places for bikes. Kel & I brought old sheets and towels to protect the cream carpets – but of course our bikes are squeaky clean 

Unfortunately Kerri crashed during a Vets race, several weeks before the championships and was unable to travel with us 

Kel's dad (Wayne) and Sam's dad (Ted) came along to help fetch and carry. Bringing a "man-slave" or "swanny" is strongly recommended. There is soooo much to carry. For example: I took three bikes, about 9 wheels, 2 helmets and my wind trainer. Luckily Patrick brought one of my bikes and some wheels later in the week.
Kel even brought a spare bike along with an arsenal of wheels!
We each hired a Rav4 – perfect to fit multiple bikes, gear and a helper!

At Midvale Cycling Australia Masters Track National Championships April 2013

The Perth velodrome is not shiny and bright like our SA SuperDrome, but once you get
on the boards and whiz around a few times it is ok.
Kel and I went the day before competition and signed on/registered, rode around checking out our opposition.
My "main opposition" – a lovely woman called Jenny Sammons, was swamped by blokes helping her with her brand new BT. It looked impressive with front and rear discs. I was a bit fazed but thought I should just focus on what I could do with my own performance.

I hadn't realized I actually "needed" better wheels until a few weeks before we left.
Kel's eyebrows went sky high when I said I only had the wheels on my bike- Kel offered me her front wheel.
Then Sam offered me her super duper rear disc wheel. This was very kind of both
women, because those wheels cost more than a lot of my friends' bikes!
I ended up with an even better front wheel for my IP when one of the SA (legend) blokes offered a swap, if I would loan him my aero bars cos he had left his own in Adelaide. Lucky for me! He also convinced me he would swap them over (wheel and bars) in the 5 minutes between our events. He cut it very fine, but he did it!
I didn't start well in the IP and despite not riding those wheels before and with a new set-up with the bars, I took 12 seconds off my PB and got a silver medal! Have to be happy with that...(for now).

Kel entered everything over 5 days on the track. She rode really well and achieved several PBs, a silver and a bronze medal. Her silver in the scratch race was exciting and has motivated me to have a go at scratch races in the future. You can read Kel's blog on her Face Book page.

Sam had a battle with the officials and showed remarkable patience and poise to take out a silver medal under duress!

The IP was the only event I entered on the track this year because I wanted to also do as well as I could in the UWCT time trial and road race.

The UWCT is another whole realm of excitement...just waiting for YOU!
Here's what their web site says:
The UCI World Cycling Tour (UWCT) is a series of UCI-sanctioned races held all over the world. Some 15 qualifier events will qualify the top 25% in each age group to the UWCT Final, the former UCI Masters Road World Championships, where the champions are awarded with the coveted rainbow jersey. After its launch in 2011, the UCI World Cycling Tour enters the 2013 season with additional events. For the first time, we will also have an event in Asia.
While promoting high level competition for Masters and Amateur, one of the aims of this series is the globalization of "Cycling for All". With that in mind, the geographical spread of the events is very important, alongside with strict organisational and sporting criteria, and a certain tourism interest.

The 2013 UWCT ITT (road time trial): was on Rottnest Island. Catching the ferry with lots of other Masters riders and their bikes was exciting. The NRS boys were already there doing their own elite time trial and road race – so the whole island was "lycra-to-the-max" – much to the bemusement of innocent tourists and the quokkas.

Time Trials are all about timing (and training ;-). The preparation before the race is vital. Timing your warm up to finish at just the right time to get your gear on and get to the start line. It's a perfect event for people who like to connect with their "inner control freak".
The course on Rottnest was hillier and windier (technical/blind corners) than I had expected. Mental note for my inner Control Freak to check out the profile a few weeks/months before - next time.
I was pleased with my time. Couldn't have gone any harder without crashing. Jenny Sammons took out first place in our category. I was just over a minute behind her and posted the seventh fastest time out of all the women.

The UWCT Road Race in Perth:
Kel and I were apprehensive about our 7am start time and the 96kms.
This meant preparing bikes the night before and getting up at 4.30am to eat our breakfasts, get to the venue (sussed out parking the day before) and do a really good warm up to make sure we could go with the fastest at the start.
All the women started together WITH the men over 55. There were other groups ahead of us.
As I lined up I realized I had forgotten to fill one of my bidons and Patrick (aka Swanny) was no-where to be seen. Kel was up the front somewhere. Jenny Sammons lined up behind me. The race started. I couldn't get my foot in my cleat. The front-runners tore off around the corner and up the first hill (not the flat course I had assumed either!). Eventually, foot in, off we went.
There were 12 laps of 8kms. The hills were fine early on, but they got steeper each lap! A couple of big, fast younger bunches whooshed past and a few riders from our bunch whizzed off with them. One woman was literally grabbed by a bloke and hauled into his bunch. I decided that I would try and "jump" into the next bunch that went by. Yay! Success! Some blokes and I had left Jenny behind! After a few kms a Commisairre drove by, wound down his window and told us we weren't allowed to ride with that bunch. Jenny caught up to me with a bloke she was riding with. Oops embarrassing. She and he dropped me as we rounded a corner to climb a hill. I lost touch and rode with people I caught or caught me.
I was told it is important to eat something during a 96km race. I had lolly snakes in my pocket. I had put them in a re cycled plastic sandwich bag. Unfortunately it had previously been used for laundry powder. The snakes tasted really vile. I wondered if ASADA or anyone had tried performance enhancing laundry powder? I chewed and spat out jellied bits of snake that stuck to my arms in not a very attractive way. Won't do that again. A major achievement though, was grabbing a bidon of water from the feed station. That was a huge relief. Also a relief that I didn't blow bubbles!
Jenny beat me by about 4min. The next cat 6 woman was a fair way back. It felt like a major achievement to complete the race. There was a lot of nice camaraderie afterwards. Leg cramps were experienced by all of us and made for interesting body language as we variously writhed or leapt up from the grass in agony!!

A couple of weeks after returning to Adelaide I received and email from the UWCT. It said:
Dear UWCT Qualifier,
Congratulations on an outstanding effort during the UWCT Perth Event. This email is to formally acknowledge your position as a qualifier for the Australian UWCT Team at the 2013 UCI World Cycling Championships. This year they will be held in Trento, Italy.

Whatttt??? I emailed back quite seriously, and suggested they had probably made a mistake. But they said they hadn't!

I'm not really ready to go to Italy/The Masters World Championships. You know I have only been riding for 2 years and 5 months and 21 days. I have no idea about tactics and I vague out when I should be paying attention...

But what if I don't go and something (life) happens? I went to a friend's funeral this afternoon. What if I don't qualify next year?

I have decided to contest the ITT. Patrick and I are already travelling in Europe at that time. We are watching the last week of the Vuelta and after, ...instead of "chilling" in Majorca, we will go to Trento (Italy!). Just to see how far/fast I can go. This year 

I honestly don't know how this all happened. I was just trying to get fit, learn a new sport and took opportunities/risks as they arose.
I do know I wouldn't be going to Trento or getting an Australian kit (!) if it wasn't for the Skinny Lattes and John Murray.
John is our very special Skinny Latte coach.
John says encouraging things all the time. He didn't push me when it took me four sessions to get onto the boards and off the black line! He let me faff around in the middle until I was ready. John says little things that stay in your mind and awaken possibilities. Like when he told a group of us we should enter the Masters Games in 2011.
I asked John what I should do during the week and he gave me a "program". I just stuck to that program.

It's not all about competing or winning; it's about being fit and healthy and being the best we can be. I'd like to win. But, we are all winners because we have discovered cycling and can ride our bikes. Most importantly we have fun doing it!

So, don't wait any longer! Get along to Geelong!

meriels track bike