[Image (c) Mark Gunter Photography] Last weekend Lisa's Mum visited Canberra for the Canberra Women's Tour, the latest NRS tour in the ladies' calendar. Actually, she meant to go to Floriade but got the dates wrong. Mum does like a good chrysanthemum. Nevertheless, the racing provided a welcome distraction from the disappointment of missing Canberra's most prestigious flower festival.
Canberra Tour for most of us is known simply as 'The Cold Tour'. In fact, even when there were 2 Canberra Tours in Winter, there was one that was Pretty Cold and one that was So Cold That Your Fingers Felt Like They'd Been Slammed Into A Car Door Cold. Faced with the difficult decision to cut one of the tours from the race calendar, organisers wisely chose to retain the latter tour, presumably because they liked black ice and one of them owned shares in Icebreaker. Not that Lisa's Mum was complaining. On the contrary, she took great delight in finding weather that was cold enough to warrant wearing her fleece-lined, wind-proof, water-resistant, snow-proof bib tights. These tights hadn't been called into service since Lisa's Mum's days as an extra in Olivia Newton-John's 'Let's Get Physical' video clip, and she was pleased for an opportunity to bring them out again.
Lisa's Mum was gratified to find that the tour had been scheduled in the middle of Canberra's coldest spell of weather since 1936. It made her feel less awkward about adding anti-freeze to her bidon and wearing fur coats made from endangered animals.Lisa's Mum did wonder, however, at how cyclists in Canberra manage to get through a whole season like this. On reflection, she concluded that the Winters were probably the reason why Canberra breeds so many good professional cyclists. Everyone has an incentive to get good enough so they can bugger off to a pro team and a European Summer.
Mum was also particularly impressed by the standard of racing at the Tour. The 4-stage event was won by Taryn Heather, a South Australian who has the distinction of having raced more world championships than NRS races (well, almost). Taz's return to form after injury and illness is a sign of great things to come. While Taz conceded at the start of the tour that she was only at around 80% fitness, the rest of the peleton quietly hoped that their 100% would be as good as her 80%. It wasn't.
While happy to reunite with the AIS food hall, Lisa's Mum left Canberra feeling slightly disappointed. It wasn't so much the lack of sticky date pudding, but more the fact that the Curse of the VIS Women's Team had struck again, reducing the team to 2 riders. This time it was illness that was the culprit, claiming Jess 'Jallen' Allen, Supercoach, Moody... and slowly everyone else. The Enforcer, not one to shy away from punishment, performed the work of 4 teammates but in the end the VIS Chicks left a broken crew.
Before signing out... a shout out to a good friend of Ride Happy, Jarrod Partridge (aka Mr JXP Photography) who together with Cycling Cafe founder Simon Cadzow is riding the Tour de France on stationary trainers to raise money for Autism SA & The Army of Autism Awareness Angels. You can read all about his crazy adventures here. If you're feeling the cold this Winter, jump in and make a donation for instant warm fuzzies.