"Great experience, fantastic fun, we were a team" Margaret's reflection upon returning home from the Australian Masters Games.
Great competition in a friendly atomsphere is the hall mark of the Australian Masters Games and it has been the hook that has drawn many Skinny Lattes into the "sport" side of cycling.
With this in mind three members made the trip across to Geelong to compete in the recent Australian Masters Games, both Abbey-Leigh and Margaret W in the cycling events and Tracey switched back to her first love of running.
All three atheltes have supplied a blog of their experience at the games so take a moment and relive their journey.
Masters Games in Geelong, was everything I expected it to be! I have competed at the Masters games before in Ballroom and Latin Dancing. The type of competition was very different but the atmosphere very much the same. It was very friendly, supportive and lots of fun!
I was so inspired by everyone there but especially encouraged by the many older competitors. There were greater no.s of competitors in the 60 - 85 yr old groups than the younger 30 - 45 yr groups! I was nervous, because I am really new to cycling.
I arrived for the Time Trial on my own and had to work out where and how to attach the transponder! I had never heard of these until I was given one that morning! Fortunately a couple of guys where warming up near their car parked next to mine and were more than happy to attach it for me. They even pinned my no.s on for me. The race went well despite gale force winds! I suppose that would be why the course of the TT and RR were shared by a Wind Farm!!
The following day was the RR and once again EXTREME winds made it hard work! It was also freezing cold! But I finished and I was pleased with my average speed. Sat was Crit day and I was very nervous about this having never done one before. I had done some practise in Adelaide so felt a little prepared. I went straight to the sign on area where I was informed that they had changed the direction! So all of a sudden there was a very short and very steep hill to climb each lap! Not my forte'! "At least there was no wind" I thought. My age group was not to take off for another 2.5 hrs though. Just as the group before were doing their final laps the wind picked up fiercely and combined with a nasty hill made for a pretty slow and arduous first Criterium. Certainly no really fast cornering! But once again, I finished and was pleased with my effort. A very successful and positive Masters Games experience!
My first competitive running event since high school in 1985 was the 8 km cross country at Eastern Park and it was just that - through quite long grass and very undulating terrain. Not as stable underfoot as my training trails in Belair and I was happy with a PB of 42.41 to take out bronze in the 45-49 year olds in a challenging run. The low was being about the only South Aussie at the event and only non-athletics club affiliated competitor, however I was made feel very welcome.
My second event was the 10 km road run at Troop Loop in Barwon running pass landmarks including Belmont Common and Barwon Valley Golf Club where I surprisingly was the youngest competitor in the ladies events and won a gold medal. A highlight was having my daughter Ashleigh there to support and cheer me on. Entries on the day were affected by Melbourne marathon event conflict which was disappointing.
My absolute highlight was competing against Lavinia Petrie in both of my events, not your typical 70 year old and an absolute inspiration. Holder of multiple world records including the fastest ever 100k run by a female, Lavinia broke the 5000m world record earlier in the week after carrying the games flag in the opening ceremony. I also watched Kelly Ruddick anther Aussie World record road walking champion win the 10 km event to claim gold. It was also fabulous to be present to cheer on fellow Skinny Lattes Ab-Fab and Margaret in the criterium cycling events following my run on Saturday and to see them presented with their medals.
The atmosphere and games spirit was magic and I would encourage everyone regardless of age and ability to have a go in 2015 when they return to Adelaide in both the sporting and social events.
What a blast, what good fun.
Abbey Leigh and I attended the Geelong Masters Games and proudly wore our Skinny Latte jerseys for every event. We kept up the tradition of the Lattes cheering loudly for 'our' team. Go Skinny!! Which actually is in contrast to the other competitors who cheer for their friends as they should but we cheer for our team. We proudly told anyone who wanted to listen that we were a women only cycling team. I am sure many more women would cycle if they had women only clubs and events and got the encouragement and support we Skinny Lattes get.
There are so many stories from the games. People who have chemo and turn up for an event and use competition in sport to keep them motivated, active and well. A netball player who has had two total knee reconstructions who is in the over 60s and when not playing netball competed and got a gold medal in squash. A competitor in his 60s who rode his bike from Perth to NT and then down to Alice Springs to compete then set out for the eastern states, Tasmania and then across the Nullabor and home. If you are in your 80s and get on a bike and compete then you have my respect. Triple by pass just makes them keener and stronger. These stories and many others you hear tell the story of real heroes.
And then there are us lightweights. We had an absolute ball. I started off in the Time Trial so nervous with 4 women in the Category 70-74 and was thrilled to get the gold, To get anywhere in the Road Race would have been a bonus but I got the gold again. Then doing the criterium around the spectacular gardens and along the bay I managed to get another gold. Loved the company of Abbey Leigh who got a silver and a bronze medal. What a great competitor and a marvelous ambassador. The spirit of the games is hard to explain. Younger women cycling competitors came up to me and expressed their wish that they would still be cycling and competing in their 70s. If I could claim that I've inspired anyone to keep on riding and enjoying this great sporting event that would be a real win. I know that if I can do it then anyone can and that is the truth. Thanks Skinnies for without the wonderful support and encouragement of a women's only cycling group it wouldn't have happened. Go Skinnies!!