The Team Evolves – moving our way towards NRS registration
The team travelled to Bright at the beginning of December for the hotly contested Tour of Bright, a three day tour which is a part of the Victorian Road Series, and which is targeted by the country’s best climbers. The team welcomed aboard two very accomplished interstate riders into the team, both of whom will be continuing with the team in 2016. Jessica Lane brings an enormous amount of experience to the team. A high performing criterium and track rider, and sprinter extraordinaire, the Tour of Bright was not to Jess’s strengths, but we were grateful for her expert assistance in getting our climbers positioned at critical points of the race. Karla McKinnon has some serious road results under her belt, and considers climbing one of her strengths, having competed at the TOB in 2014.
Lucy Barker Victoria Veitch Christina Teniswood
Team Captain Lead GC Rider
Stage 1: 16th Stage 1: 19th Stage 1: 42nd
Stage 2: 17th Stage 2: 10th Stage 2: 31st
Stage 3: 21st Stage 3: 14th Stage 3: 28th
Overall: 19th Overall: 12th Overall: 28th
Time: +15.29 Time: +10.33 Time: +21.40
Jessica Lane Karla McKinnon
Stage 1: 51st Stage 1:51st
Stage 2: 48th Stage 2: 29th
Stage 3: 48th Stage 3: 31st
Overall: 48th Overall: 33rd
Time: +96.59 Time: +24.46
Individual C Grade
Stage 1: 13th
Stage 2: 14th
Stage 3: 16th
Sprinter’s Jersey: 2nd
Stage One: 13.5km Individual Time Trial
Some people actually like time trials – mostly they’re just crazy people….Like Captain Lucy, who combines worshipping time trials with paying homage to Darth Vader. Rumour has it, Lucy sounds like Darth as she powers along, looming up and sailing past various victims. Consequently, Lucy was leading her team mates at the end of stage one. The team was ranked third overall after stage one.
Stage Two: 91km Kilns Gap Loop
The event was blessed with excellent weather conditions and very little wind, but handling was still a sticking point for the fields as they were restricted to use of the single lane, which at times was reasonably narrow. Unfortunately the cramped conditions were likely to have contributed to a nasty crash 500 metres out from the first sprint point. Team rider Jess, who was planning on contesting the Sprinters Jersey, was caught out and her run to the line baulked by the crash. All team riders stayed clear of the fray and placed their concentration on being well placed into the two major climbs of the stage. The first climb, the Category Two Rosewhite Gap Hill climb, had in previous years been attacked at warp speed. Perhaps because of the earlier crash, the field was somewhat subdued, and the pace only went on in the later quarter of the climb. Consequently, the field regrouped quickly.
The major climb of Tawonga Gap loomed quickly, and there was no hesitation in the pace of the climbing as set by the event’s front runners. The climb was ramped up to warp speed – essentially a time trail added to the end of the 91km. It was also now extremely hot heading up the very sun-exposed side of Tawonga Gap. The team was placed fourth at the end of stage two. Taylor Ford was having a frustrating race, with her grade pulled over on the side of the road at multiple points in the race, to allow the graded men’s fields to pass. This essentially nullified the racing, as any attempts to form breakaways were totally wasted when the fields regrouped on the side of the road. Taylor was having good results in the sprint points however, grabbing second place in both of the sprint points for the stage.
Team Photographer and Support Crew
In between stages, the team took time to kick back and recover as well as possible. We were lucky to have an idyllic set of cabins nestled in a valley with mountain views. When not tinkering on our bikes, washing our kit or collecting our recovery drinks, team photographer and supporter extraordinaire Ben Auld was harassing the local wildlife – not all of which were native species
It is with enormous gratitude that we acknowledge Ben for all our fabulous photos is this and our other team updates.
Stage Three: 58km Anchor Point Hotham Ascent
It’s at the beginning of a stage which includes a climb such as the epic Mt Hotham, that the riders have an opportunity to collect their thoughts, and possibly even evaluate their current mental health.
“All hail Hotham! Those that are about to die salute you!”
“If I pretend it’s not happening, it won’t hurt as much??”
“I’m going to smile the whole way up the mountain – better get the face warmed up.”
Hotham delivered all it promised and more. The first hour of the race leading up to the bottom of the climb was muted. Even the sprint points ruffled barely a feather. The team, being largely a team of climbers, was solely focus on good positioning at the approach to Hotham. A few kilometres before Hotham loomed, the MBAB ladies started to move themselves up through the peloton. Jess Lane exerted her experience in bike handling and positioning as she gave Victoria a perfect sling shot into a space on the front line. Unfortunately for everyone who had worked hard to position themselves at the front, the riders leading the peloton at the time had suffered from a catastrophic navigational brain fade………and abruptly turned left into a random street at the bottom of Hotham!!! It cannot be fathomed how the mistake occurred, but Victoria was subsequently at the mercy of the bunch as the front runners all followed suit.
Victoria recovered quickly and flew up the bottom of Hotham to re-join the leaders. Victoria, Lucy and Christina were digging in to stay with the leaders as long as possible, but the bunch began to splinter before one of Hotham’s nasty little pinches – the Meg. Victoria was only just in contact at that stage, but there was a fairly major problem – she was on terrible legs and her breathing was out of control. She managed to survive with a bunch of riders which had formed an effective chase bunch, and by the time the mountain levelled out, Victoria had managed to recover and finished the remainder of the climb in a fashion resembling her regular climbing aptitude.
Lucy had held good position up to Harrietville and made the selection heading onto the Meg, but also lost contact as the pace surged prior to the first QOM point. Lucy safely installed herself into a third chase group which held good speed on the flatter sections, but Lucy was having to work hard to motivate and keep the group moving at good speed through the steeper climbing sections, resulting in critical time loss. Eventually, Lucy left most of her group behind, and when the climb kicked again through the steep CRB hill section, she began reeling in riders tailed off from the second chase bunch.
Luckily someone was having fun………..Karla smiled the whole way up the climb
In C Grade Women, Taylor continued to have good success with the sprint points, rounding out the stage with a 2nd and 3rd place. This placed her second overall for the sprinters jersey, which had been hotly contested between three riders jostling with only scant points separating them. Bright was a fairly steep learning curve in terms of climbing for Taylor. It was the biggest climb she had ever tackled, so to finish the stage in 16th made the Tour of Bright a solid all round performance.
There’s not much more to say about the tour, other than to thank our fabulous guest riders for helping us fly the team flag. The team finished in overall 4th place, heartbreakingly only 30 seconds down on a podium finish. We could torture ourselves by saying that three of us only needed to climb 10 seconds faster, but it’s a pointless debate. Not one of our ladies left 10 seconds in our legs on that bloody hill! It’s a fitting final phots then, to represent what we had thrown at Hotham – Victoria, at the top, unable to speak or stand. Sitting and thinking…….about next time!