Wow, so much to write about and so short an attention span. I've just arrived home from Tour of Coleraine, a 2-day 3 stage tour in the Southern Grampians (VIC). It was the first race I've done as part of the VIS team since taking up a scholarship with them recently. It was sad not to be wearing the team kit of Fitzroy Revolution, with whom I've been riding (alongside NTID/SASI) for the past 2.5yrs. I've really loved riding for them and they have been with me through thick and thin. And they remain my #1 vote for best bike shop in Melbourne. Drop in on the guys if you are in Fitzroy, they will really look after you.
The VIS women's team now comprises myself, Jo Hogan and Stef Hansen (U19). It's an exciting time to be with the VIS as they rebuild their women's road program, and I'm looking forward to it. It felt a little odd seeing VIS painted everywhere instead of SASI - to the guys and girls in SA, I hope you'll still talk to me even though I'm officially no longer a crow-eater.
At the Tour of Coleraine this weekend, Jo had commitments to Prime Estate to fulfil and so was racing for them instead of VIS. So although we drove up together, wore matching t-shirts, put our St Mel race tattoos on together and shared the same room, we were both on a mission to crush each other like bugs. It went down to the wire but Jo won out and really deserved the win. She is riding really strongly and has come back from injury with both guns blazing.
Stage 1 went my way, with Jo 2nd in a 3-way sprint with Kendall Hodges (3rd). The 3 of us had broken away at 11km after the first KOM and stayed away all day in pretty tough conditions. This meant I wore the yellow leader's jersey going into stage 2 (my first yellow jersey!), but quickly lost it when the 2nd stage crit offered 2 sprint bonuses of 20 secs each!! Unfortunately despite my request the race organisers did not put a massive hill on the crit course and so my GC lead of 5secs quickly became 2nd by 12 secs after the crit. Oh to be a sprinter in Coleraine. Stage 3 offered some hope when I won the first KOM and a 5 sec time bonus but Jo was too strong on the 2nd KOM and ended the stage in 2nd to take out GC. I was happy with 2nd GC, but it's been a big couple of weeks and I definitely need some rest in my legs before I head to Europe in 2 weeks.
On Europe... I am heading over on May 10 to join the AIS girls as part of the national team for 9 weeks of racing and hi-jinx all over Europe. We start in Belgium, then Holland, then France, Spain and finally Italy for the women's Giro! I am so excited. It will be a steep learning curve but I am really looking forward to it. I'm a bit worried whether I can freshen up in time - I've felt a bit flat for a while - but Donna has her eye on me so I am in good hands.
And finally... you may have noticed lately that I have been dropping the words 'St Mel' into a few of my posts. St Mel (the patron saint of Melbourne cyclists) has agreed to take on the challenge of dressing me, off the bike (my Mum gave up years ago) and I am a much better-dressed cyclist for it. St Mel make some very cool casual wear and their tees and hoodies are wicked. And GUESS WHAT, St Mel has just released a ridehappy range! Rumour has it that Lisa's Mum may even get a guest appearance. I've put a pic of the tee above - you can purchase direct from St Mel herself at http://www.stmeldesign.com/. Tell them Lisa's Mum sent you.
Good luck to the U19s competing in their national road champs next weekend in Mooball, Qld. I have to warn you, the VIS youngsters are looking pretty sharp.