Goldfields, Cyclocross and all the stem you can chew

As of 3:42pm today, I am officially in the off-season. In the spirit of Jans Ullrich, the off-season will involve:

  • Pinot
  • Discotheque
  • A fairly relaxed attitude to skin folds
  • At least one affair with a model
It's been a long season. The last month has involved the final cycle-cross national round, an MTB stage race in Timor, and the last 2 national road series rounds.For the last 5 or so weeks I have resembled a small hermit crab. That is, mostly inside a shell, curled into a small ball, hoping no one will find me. You all know how Tour de Timor went. Enough said.

After coming home from Timor, I enjoyed one glorious, relaxing, slovenly weekend off the bike (during which I bought a house, hurrah!) and then it was straight into the final cyclocross national round in Sydney. I ate some dirt and tried not to drop myself, and luckily survived to win the national series. Hurrah!

At this stage I was still a bit fried from Timor. I was pretty worried I had done some permanent damage after getting heat stress in Timor. No one likes a whinger, so I limited the whinging to my Mum, who is biologically obliged to love me no matter what. Thanks, Mum. And I stopped training, because that's what heat stress does. No one offered me drugs, which is more than I can say for Lance.
After a week I emerged from my mollusc to race the Shipwreck Classic, a one-day jaunt around Warrnambool finishing at Allansford Cheeseworld, which is like Disneyworld but with fewer rides and more cheese. It had been a few months since the VIS chicks last got to race together, and I had really missed it. And fortunately the girls are very forgiving of teammates with questionable legs, so we all had a ball.

Four days after Shipwreck we started the Tour of the Goldfields, otherwise known as the Tour-To-Replace-Herald-Sun-Tour Tour. I do like Ballarat, and despite the announcement that the NRS would be extended by an extra tour having sunk my little heart a little further and my resolve to get post-Timor blood tests done a little firmer, it was super cool to be racing a tour with the team again.

Jess 'Jens Voigt' Allen, Chloe 'QOM' McConville and I were joined by Jo 'Flying Glutard' Hogan and Bridie 'TT Machine' O'Donnell who were fresh from their international seasons. (Actually, maybe 'fresh' is the wrong word. Does anyone come back from an international season 'fresh'?) Luckily, their end-of-season is still better than most people's peak form. So, for the first time ALL YEAR, the VIS chicks were A FULL TEAM! Oh world, look out.
Tour of Goldfields was 4 stages over 3 days and in a word it was ON. One of the highlights was the TTT, where we all got to wear matching onsies and enjoyed trying not to vomit while holding Bridie and Jess' wheels.

Quite unintentionally I ended up scoring the leader's jersey after the TTT. I can't really take credit for it - i just happened to be the one in the VIS wearing it - but it was a nice end to the TTT from that morning.

Going into the last stage we had a few cards we could play, but our best chance was to get Chloe 'Quads' McConville up for the GC win. It didn't work out, but it was one of the best days of racing the NRS has seen. Cross-winds, gutter action, breakaways - we did all we could to steal the jersey back from SASI but they held onto it after a battle royale that will be one of my fondest memories of the NRS this year.

So that concludes my 2012 racing season. I'm taking the next few months off racing, mostly because my body is a wreck post-Timor and I'm not in the mood to get really really sick, which is what is going to happen if I do any more racing anytime soon. It's been a heck of a year. I try not to get too self-indulgent on Ride Happy, but I am really proud to have won the Cyclocross national series and to have finished 2nd in the national road series. Neither were expected and both were fantastic. At the time you are just trying to survive till the next race, but looking back on it it's been just amazing. I am lucky to have the support of a top crew (including VIS and Apollo) who give us cyclists amazing equipment, coaching and support to let us live out this surreal existence. Most of all, I'm lucky to have Supercoach and Ryan 'Diamonds' Moody, who make sure the VIS trips are fun and professional. So thanks guys, it's been awesome.

Ride Happy.