Last weekend I raced the Elite Women’s category at the K1 Road Race in the Coromandel on Saturday. The main aim was to get a good hard training ride in and also to see where my fitness was at compared to girls who are at the top of road cycling in NZ. It was also great just to race again! To practise race day routines and to get used to feeling all the strange emotions that come with racing, as it has been a while since I last raced anything.
The race started in Whitianga at midday and made its way over a mixture of big hills and rolling hills until it reached the Thames Coast Highway, where it then wound its way along the flat coast road to the finish line in Thames township.
Sitting on the start line and looking around at the other girls I was feeling slightly intimidated and was wondering if I would get dropped from the bunch, but then at the same time I wasn’t too worried as I knew the aim was for a hard training day so all I had to do was ride hard and not care about the result... which is pretty unrealistic for me as I am way too competitive and knew there was no way I would be happy unless I won.
Right from the go I was at or near the front of the race as that is where I like to be. And after the first hill, just 10k into the race I looked around and realised that the other girls were not quite used to my aggressive riding as half the bunch had already dropped off and it was down to approx 9 girls. Over the next hill I kept my foot on the gas and once we had descended I look around and saw this time it was down to 5 girls. This was perfect and exactly what I had hoped would happen, so I set about trying to motive the girls to rotate and keep the pace up. But again they were not all that keen to work hard; this was confirmed a few minutes later when I got told off for pulling through too hard and disrupting the flow of the rotation. Fair enough, but I honestly was not riding that hard.... After that I could hear mutterings about ‘triathletes’ and ‘blowing up’. This just made me smile to myself.
So this had all happened approx within the first 30-40km of the race, so I was hoping that this small group would stay together and work well. But as we started to climb Whangapoa hill which is the biggest hill on the course at 3.4km long I was starting to realise that this was my chance to get away.. why I wanted to break away before the halfway mark and with over 50km still to ride, I am not sure.. So I set off at a solid pace and two girls came with me, then a few minutes later I heard one of them say “it’s just me and you know” so I was like “cool, should we go for it?” “No just keep it steady”... So naturally I pushed even harder and a few seconds later she had blown. I crested the hill and heard I had 30sec on her, so proceeded to descend down the other side with minimal braking and a few fish tails (I remember thinking that it would not be ideal if my tubular rolled off the rim going 60kmh downhill).
At the bottom of the hill, the race director told me I had 90seconds, at which point I was feeling great, with plenty of adrenaline pumping. So I thought, right, catch me if you can girls!
The rest of the race was mostly a painful blur. I vaguely remember there being a flat part then more hills and then finally the Thames Coast Highway, which I remember slightly better than the rest as I have never hurt myself that much on I bike before.
At the bottom of the last hill in the race I was told I had increased my lead to approx 3min to the chase group. From that point to the finish line in Thames, it is 30km of flat, windy coast road. The longest 30km of my life!
When I saw the 30km sign I put my head down, and focused on keeping my cadence high and speed up. When I saw the next sign which said 20km to go, I almost died! I was certain I had gone further than 10km! And I had got to the point at which I could not feel my feet, legs, bum, head, back or arms and I was starting to throw up my breakfast.
Anyway not much I could do but keep going. Finally the 10km sign, less than a waterfront TT which I have done in for training a few times back in Auckland!
I was lucky to have my coach trailing me in a car. He had started out as a spectator but after I had gone off the front of the race, the race director asked him to follow me as he needed to stay with the main bunch of girls. It was great to have him there from a training point of view and also because I was asking him every chance I got whether they were catching me, which at the time I felt certain they were and that me winning this race was too good to be true.
When I reached the 5km sign I started to think that maybe they wouldn’t catch me... Then when I finally reached the outskirts of Thames I looked around and saw no one behind me I started to smile and man smiling instantly makes you feel better! The last 500m was awesome and when I turned down a side street and saw the finish line ahead I admit I did shed a tear or two. The best part was seeing my Dad jumping up and down like a mad man on the side of the road!
To sum up, I was very happy with the race, which is exactly how I think races should be won, by going as hard as you can for as long as you can.
I want to thank my number one fan Dad, my awesome Coach Paul, and my sponsors - AA Insurance, Sky Sport, Ben Marshall at Performance Bicycle Tuning and Blue Seventy.
Here is a link to the race report on sportzhub - http://www.sportzhub.com/site/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=13277&Itemid=1
In : Teresa's Adventures