How to watch CX world champs

For those playing along at home, here's a great article by on how you can follow world champs live. If you have other methods which work well in Australia feel free to add it to the comments below. The race is at 3pm Hoogerheide time on Saturday, which is 1am Sunday in Melbourne. Thanks everyone for the support and well wishes. I'm going on a social media lock down now until after the race, so see you on the other side.

Ride happy.

Fan mail

One thing that cross races seem to have in spades is crazy fans. Mel and I have had our fair share of interest from friendly locals wanting fan cards and photos. Some of the locals we've met have been lovely - sending pictures of the races and coming and chatting to us when we're freezing on wind trainers. Others have been a bit... well, unusual. I got this message on Facebook a few days ago (I've changed the name):

hello Lisa

i am Pieter von Trump from Hoogerheide the Netherlands where you gone ride next weekend but i have a question and i hope i can get a answer on it

i think you get this question a lot more

do you maby have a cyclingjersey for me i am a collector of it and i hope you can give one.(it musn't been a team jersey i can also be a selection jersey)

i hope i hear something soon

kind Regrads Pieter von Trump

I didn't reply, but a couple of days later I got another message, exactly the same. And then today I got a third message, just with a '?' Pieter was most insistent that he have a jersey. I'm not sure how successful his technique is but Mel got exactly the same messages so perhaps it's a finely tuned game plan.

Not wanting to disappoint Pieter, I replied today:

Ssup Pieter

Sorry I haven't replied earlier. I don't have any spare Team Australia jerseys, but I have a jersey I got from Around the Bay In A Day once that might fit you. It's back in Melbourne but you are welcome to pick it up and I can chuck in a Lampre bidon that I found too. 

Here's a cat video I found on You Tube that I thought you might like. Sorry it's not as good as a jersey but it is pretty cute.

Pieter replied straight away:

yeah it was a fun video yeah it is fine but what do you mean with that about that one jersey 

LJ: Around The Bay In A Day is a prestigious one day race held in Melbourne each year. It is quite hard and for some people it takes two days.

Pieter: a oke it's fine when you think i can pick it up is i come Friday to the training, saturday to the race and i can come also maby to the hotel if it is not to far from the hotel

LJ: Oh no the jersey is in Australia. Sorry, I don't have any team jerseys. I need them to wear. But the Around The Bay In A Day jersey is pretty cool. Here's another video though.

Pieter: a oke i understand

I am not sure when Pieter is planning to come to Melbourne for his jersey but perhaps if he has luck with other riders he won't need to. Full high fives for his chutzpah though. Why don't we have passionate fans like this in Australia??

Cyclocross World Championships: the rise of the Babushka

A long overdue post. We have been in Bergen op Zoom, NED, for around a week now. So far we have clocked up:

  • 24hrs of plane travel (and 60kg of bike luggage)
  • 2 Belgian CX races (and 1 win!)
  • 1 case of food poisoning
  • 1 jar Speculoos
  • around a million loads of washing
  • some new friends in Hoogerheide

I have been meaning to write a post for so long but I've just finished a couple of interviews and I'm sick of telling the same story again. (You can find a much better article here anyway.) So here are some photos.. and all the exciting details will follow later.

Ride happy.

PS - Hi to Donna's ice hockey chicks - and thanks for the cheers!


Winning in Desselberg, Belgium


We ran around 50% of the Desselberg course - muddy as, bro


Australia's first CX team at a world championships


Look out Hoogerheide... the Aussies are coming

2013 Australian CX championships

Phew! Sorry it’s taken me so long to write this up. If it weren’t for the horrendous conditions today at Falls Creek you’d have been waiting another week to read this. So hurray for global warming (anyone? Anyone??). Last week was the 2013 Australian CX championships. You can read more about them here, here and here.

Last year was the first year Australia had run a national CX series, and it was loads of fun. The series generated so much happiness that this year we had not only a national series, but a national championships as well. This meant that not only could we all wear onesies for an extra day in the year, but that we could fight it out for the honour of wearing a national champion's onesie as well. In onesie circles, this is quite something.

Cipo: The benchmark for lovers of onesies

My hopes of defending the national series title from last year were curtailed somewhat following [what I optimistically reflect on as] an ambitious estimate of my ability to manage responsibilities. I got run down, sick and missed the first national rounds in Adelaide. Turns out you can't work full time, study, take on corporate governance roles AND train as much as a full time athlete. Who would have thunk it?

Fortunately, the Supercoach is well accustomed to my spectacular form implosions and we put together a plan to aim for the CX national champs instead. Luckily, my neighbours are tolerant of 6am ergo sessions and the Pirate is tolerant of 9pm bedtimes, so the plan started to get traction. And there's nothing quite like the prospect of finishing out the hoop as defending national series champion to incentivise you to work hard. So I worked my ass off, got some race strategy ideas at the Sydney national CX rounds, and sent a few post-ergo hate emails to the Supercoach, which pleased her greatly.

Amongst all this, Apollo in the background were putting together a super-fast CX race weapon - a carbon-framed, disc-braked, race-wheeled machine that was a dramatic step up from the $1,500 rrp model I'd raced the national series on the year before. It was all very hush hush, mostly because none of us really knew whether it in fact existed. Rumour has it that NASA noticed a missing engineer and a shortfall in their carbon supplies one day, and the next day my bike was in production.

CX Holding bike facing camera

It wouldn't be a good race story without an exciting lead-up, and there was excitement aplenty. Because  the bike was super dooper special, it was off getting the rockstar treatment at Apollo's trade shows and it wasn't until 2 nights before the national champs that Apollo Production Manager Murray Fenwick was able to bring it back to Melbourne. VIS supermechanic Ryan 'Diamonds' Moody and John Groves came to the rescue, with a bike build that finished around 11pm on Thursday night and involved multiple trips to the servo for compressed air (but none for ice cream, to Grover's disappointment). I think pretty much everything that could go wrong, did go wrong. I won't say I was entirely relaxed during the process, but it may have been the sound of the tubeless tyre exploding off the rim at around 10.30pm that put me on the edge. (As a side note, WELL DONE Grover for suggesting we pump up outside. I am still cleaning sealant off my front door.) The excitement continued the next day with an emergency rescue and some creative mechanicing from Paul at Adrenalin Cycles Ringwood during his lunch hour... and finished on Saturday morning with an offer of a wheel lend and a last-minute race tune from Paul Larkin. It's fair to say, without any exaggeration, that without any of these blokes I'd have been toast. The day belonged to them.

CX holding up bike Andy Rogers

So the bike's first ride was the national champs, and it was pretty freaking awesome. I'm lucky to have guys like Simon and Murray at Apollo who do so much to support VIS riders and to support me personally, and it's a privilege to be able to race such beautiful bikes and to be able to repay their faith with a good ride on Saturday.

On race day, everything seemed to come together, which doesn't often happen in racing. In 2011 I devoted 6 months of my life to trying to win road nationals. I've never worked so hard for anything in my life, and when it didn't work out it was a huge disappointment. This time, my year has been a big year, but not on the bike. It's been a year in which I've been given some awesome opportunities in my career and in sport, and training has become something I fit in where I can. I worked bloody hard, but with the sole purpose that whoever was going to win CX nationals would have to freaking earn it. When I crossed the line I was pretty emotional. It was a response to the stress of the previous week, but also just that I had worked so hard, and been written off by so many people, that to turn it around was immensely satisfying. I don't usually go that crazy, but after the season I'd had, and the build-up leading up to the race, it was impossible not to celebrate.

So thank you - to Apollo for a beautiful race bike (which you too can own for 2014), to Moody, Grover and the Pauls, who each saved my ass on separate occasions, to the Supercoach for being the brains of the operation, and to the people who continue to back me despite their better judgement: VIS, Perfect Pilates, Neo Pro and Swiss Eyewear,, and the indomitable peloton of TE.

2013 Cyclo Cross Nationals

Ride Happy.


The Good Karma Haircut

On Thursday I got a haircut. My hairdresser is a Japanese gentleman in Ivanhoe named Hiro, who apart from being a great hairdresser is a life drawer, photographer, and gentle lover of life. He reminds me of a small boat, gently rocking in the ocean, buoyed by nature and happy to go wherever the winds take him. Hiro also assures me that his haircuts are unique in that they impart Good Karma. This I love. As it happened, this week I was in particular need of some Good Karma. In no particular order, highlights included being nailed at work, moving house, dealing with a spineless prick, and spending more time than I cared for curled in a foetal position vomiting. Don't get me wrong, my life is generally awesome, but this week was not-in-any-way-pretend-it-was-awesome. With the exception of a lovely dinner with a friend it was absolutely shit. Hiro's haircut came at just the right time.

Hiro's Good Karma kicked in the moment I arrived in Ballarat on Friday night and reconvened with the VIS chicks (@VIS_Chicks, for all you Twitter folk). It is a rare treat for all of us to be around at the same time and national champs is one of those times. The 2013 roster comprises Jo '2nd at NATIONALS!!!' Hogan, Chloe 'The Enforcer' McConville, Kendelle 'Timmy' Hodges, Taryn 'Star Recruit' Heather, Jess 'Jallen' Allen and myself. Led by the Donna 'Supercoach' Rae-Szalinski and Ryan 'Diamonds' Moody, it is a fun crew to be a part of. They always make me laugh and going on tour with them is one of my favourite things in the world.

The decision to race nationals was one made 3 and a half weeks ago when I was caught off-guard during the VIS training camp and there were too many witnesses to back out of it. Actually, it wasn't a decision so much as a case of trickery and entrapment, but that will teach me for taking on a freshly-caffeinated Supercoach. (As you may recall I committed to taking the Summer off racing after  a certain bike race in East Timor...)

And so, following my week riding the porcelain express I arrived at the start line sporting a PB for number of pre-race poos (not good) and a secret stash of toilet paper in my race bag. Things would be fine, I thought, so long as I could do a couple of laps, look after Jo and bow out gracefully. But the thing about road racing is that, much like ordering off a chinese-only menu, you never quite know what you're going to get. When Lucy Coldwell from Holden Racing went off the front in the first 400m I figured I could cover the move early, then I'd have done my bit and could exit the race with a clear conscience. But then we were joined by Jessie McLean from Orica-GreenEdge and Bec Werner from SA Specialized and suddenly all the major teams were represented. So the bunch stopped chasing, and suddenly our gap was out to over 2 mins (we hit 3 mins 14 at one point) and we were 65km into a 106km race, the four of us still out there. And I was shitting myself (fortunately only figuratively).

Knowing my predicament, the rest of the VIS crew were on the job and shortly after I imploded JoJo arrived on the scene leading the bunch up the climb, joined by Taz and McConville. Jo's 2nd place capped off some pretty awesome teamwork by all the girls. You don't always see the full story of a bike race if you're not in it, and behind the results sheet lie strategies, efforts, counter-moves and mind games. Every one of us worked our asses off for one collective purpose. I was pretty stoked to be a part of it.

A few people have asked me why I was smiling during the race.  I was smiling because, after the week I'd had, I thought I'd just be making up numbers today. And because this time last year, I was a full-time athlete, in the form of my life, and having less impact on the race than I was now, working full time and having endured The Week From Hell. As I imploded going up the hill after I'd finished in the break and started going backwards, I heard the commentator on the race radio say, 'Well, I would have expected more from Lisa Jacobs' (both a compliment and an insult, if you know what I mean).  But to me, it was such a nice surprise. Thanks to everyone who cheered, because it made my day. Yes, it would have been nice to have had better legs, but that's about it. And a top chick won (the awesome Gracie Elvin, who survived the AIS Selection Survival Camp and just keeps getting stronger). So there were lots of reasons to smile. It was a great day.

Ride Happy.

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.

Tour de Timor 2012: Peace begins with me

I have just returned from East Timor, where I spent a memorable week suffering racing the Tour de Timor, one of the world’s toughest MTB stage races. I am in equal parts (1) exhausted and (2) worried about this mysterious new rash that has just taken over my neck. This is not good news. As the experts say, don’t come back from a third world country with a rash.

To Twitterise the TdT in 140 characters or less:

  • 6 days
  • 6 stages
  • 600km
  • 40 degrees in the shade
  • No showers
  • Definitely no Facebook

I had agreed to do TdT in a weak moment in January, when September had seemed far enough away not to matter. Grover’s boundless enthusiasm for adventure and shitting in small shallow holes was infectious. Much like my new rash. Everyone I spoke to was positive:

‘Oh, you’ll love Timor!’

‘It’s such a great experience!’

‘I had so much fun!’

No one mentioned the inescapable heat, the 4:30am starts, or how, by day 3, you would probably be unable to stomach the food or warm Powerade. To be fair, Grover did mention the overflowing long-drops but by then we’d already paid our entry money.

Here is some advice for aspiring TdT-ers: Anyone who tells you that TdT is ‘BRILLIANT!’ and that they ‘LOVED it!’ is lying. They do not have your best interests at heart. They want you to go only so that you can suffer through it just like they did, so that you will appreciate how incredibly tough they were just to survive it. Next time someone tells you with shining eyes, ‘Do it! It’s AMAZING!’ you have my permission to smack them in the face. In fact, tell them it’s from me. This tour is so hard it made the AIS selection survival camp look like a stay at the Hilton.

Now that I’m home, I can appreciate how incredible the race is. 6 days of racing mountain bikes through a country that most white people don’t even see on television was culturally eye-opening. On its own, racing up to 5 and a half hours a day in 40deg+ heat on mountain bikes is a massive challenge. But that’s only half the challenge. Add to that not being able to cool down (EVER); being constantly dirty; trying not to get sick from the food, or the toilets, or the water; struggling to sleep on your crappy thermorest camping mat; struggling to eat in the heat… this is what makes the Tour de Timor EPIC.

The highlight, as anyone will tell you, was meeting the Timorese people. Every day as we passed through the villages they lined the race route, and as we rode the kids would cheer and clap and smile for us. I’ve never seen people so happy with so little. In a country that has been ravaged by war, where the average Timorese earns less than US$1 per day and where maternal mortality and child malnutrition rates are amongst the highest in the world, it was humbling and beautiful. Less humbling and beautiful were the soldiers with machine guns on stage 5, but it turned out they were only there to fend off the cannibal tribes who roamed the region and had developed a taste for tourists.

Team Apollo Bikes had assembled in Dili, each of us fresh-faced and with 7 pairs of clean knicks. Masterminded by John Groves, the only man I’ve seen cross a finish line doing the ‘Superman’, the crew was bolstered by MTB superstars Nick Morgan and Pete Kutchera who stayed at the pointy end of the race all tour. As the sole girl on the team, my job primarily was to remind the others how grotty boys were. Given the state of the men’s toilets though, they hardly needed reminding. The guys are all classy riders and together they got Pete into the yellow jersey at the best possible time. Pete would have taken out the tour had it not been for an unlucky mechanical, and in the end placed a close 2nd.

Personally, I struggled with the heat all tour and never really felt good. I won the first mountain stage on day 3 (with super domestique Grover), but Peta Mullens well and truly deserved the GC win. My tour ended in the back of a UN ambulance on stage 5 with heat exhaustion, and to be honest without the help of the awesome Laurent (a fellow rider who saw me in trouble) it could have been much worse. Laurent rode with me for the best part of an hour, sometimes walking, sometimes sitting, and eventually walking both his bike and mine as I could no longer push my bike. He fed me bananas and kept me talking, and then flagged down a motorbike to take me to the feed station where I could get medical assistance. Thank you Laurent! From there it was a 3.5hr trip bouncing down the mountain in the back of the ambulance to the next campsite, a quick trip to the race medical centre for a weigh in, some medication usually reserved for chemotherapy patients, and then a trip to Dili.

I’m glad to be home. I’ll need a few weeks to get back to normal. But Tour de Timor IS a once in a lifetime race. Go on, do it. You’ll love it.

Ride Happy.

CX, lugs and rock n roll

[Photo Brian Mangano] I must admit I have been a late convert to the world of cyclo-cross. I saw pictures of the Dirty Deeds CX series last year in Victoria and thought it was cool, but couldn't make any of the races. I've always enjoyed seeing photos from Euro CX races (cowbells, beers and frites... what's not to like?). But it wasn't until I was looking up something else on the CA website that I saw that there was an Australian cyclo-cross series starting this year.
In the spirit of the Roadie Project, this looked like fun. And, it must be admitted, I'd been eyeing off the new Apollo Xact (one of CyclingTips' top picks for CX bikes under $2000) for a while. But, most appealing of all, here was a sport that gave a fighting chance for roadie scum to match it with real MTB-ers. And, as luck would have it, entries for the first round hadn't yet closed. It was fate.

CX is so new in Australia that it represents a great leveller in bike racing. Everyone is in the same boat (unless your name is Lewis Rattray). Whether you're a roadie, a MTBer or just enjoy playing in mud, cyclo-cross offers something for you. I love that FUN is the one thing bringing cyclists from all disciplines together.
The first race was in Port Melbourne on Saturday  and offered a rare opportunity to sit at threshold for 45 minutes, pausing every so often to fling your bike over a barrier or run through a gravel pit. Thanks to some wet weather during the week, the race course, which had started off relatively firm and Aussie-like, got steadily boggier and more Belgian as the day progressed. By the time the elite men and women's races started in the afternoon, the crowd was practically Flemish. Full Gas Promotions did an awesome job of starting the series off with a bang.

I ran into Tim Decker from SASI at the first race. It was good to see another roadie there. The conversation went something like this:
Me: Hey, um... what PSI are you running? 
Tim: Pretty low I reckon.
Me: Like, 75?
Tim: WHAT?
Me: 50?
Tim: You've got to stop thinking like a roadie. Try 35!
Me: But my tyres are skinny!
Tim: Think like a mountain biker!
The first race hurt a lot. It was like a crit on steroids. But on a fun scale of 1 to 10, it was an 11. The second race, held the next day in the hipster heartland of Darebin Parklands was equally awesome and much muddier. (Thanks to Dirty Deeds CX for all their efforts) The crowds were noisy, the heckling was ripe and the winners got giant loaves of sourdough from Vegan Baker (SO hipster). MTB superstar Mel Ansett put everyone in the box early, just like she did on Saturday, and did it with a smile. I was too far into the box to muster up more than a grimace, until a heckler told me to smile (thank you), after which I remembered to have fun. Thank you heckler. Also thank you to the lovely gentleman trackside who offered a pick up line mid-race. It was very flattering.
The next round is in Adelaide, and I'm really looking forward to it. My parents don't often get to see me race and I'm quite excited. Even better, the tradition of Skinsuit Sunday (unsuccessfully launched earlier this year by VIS mechanic Moody and I) will live on for at least one more weekend.
Ride Happy.
Note: The cool photos in this post were largely from Facebook - sorry I can't remember who posted them. If you drop me a line I will put your name in! The bad ones are mine. 

Lisa's Mum goes to the Canbrrrrrra Tour

[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.

Ride happy.

North West Tour - on the road again

I'm on the way to stage 3 of the North West Tour- so please excuse the short post as it's from the back of a van.I'm here at the tour as a team of 1, as the rest of the VIS crew couldn't make it and wanted to remind me how much I'd miss them.

Luckily for me I've been adopted by the good people at Team Suzuki who are kindly letting me join them for the week. Highlights so far have included Bernadette's awesome cooking, some projectile vomiting (get well soon Laura) and entry into thr inner sanctum of the Suzuki girls' pre-race preparation. I must admit I had not previously appreciated the importance of race nails and go-faster braids, but I will go home from the tour a more complete rider for it.

The first stage Prologue (3.6km) was followed by a crit which was about as confusing as they come. A rider had crashed and the stage was neutralised, but an abundance of yellow, red and green flags and some unclear instructions meant that no one really knew when we were racing again. I suspect it was a little too convenient for riders to yell 'Neutral!' when someone attacked and they weren't in the mood to chase, but I suppose that is part of the tactical genius that is involved in crit racing.

We are now heading to the Queen stage, a hilly 76km around coonabarabran. i just love the town names around here.

Ride happy .