I proudly present you with TOMR SPR Women 2. From right to left:
Myself- Laurensia Rosana, Leigh Outschoorn, Lesley Burch, Helen Jones, Katheryn Dines and Janice Graham.
We have come a long way from being newbies at group riding to road racing around 6 months ago and then being competitive riders at the Tour. Thank you for Leigh Outschoorn for bringing us together. She is the star at the background. She gathered the team and supported us to race. I admire your work Leigh for being persistent in women cycling. I am grateful and thank you for the work you have done for us. SPR chicks rule!
Day 1 – It was nervous wrecking for me. I had not done a team time trial in my life. I also had minimal comfort from having practising together with the girls prior to the event. Looking back, I thought that I was more worried of letting the team down!
Anyway, we had a warm up at the SPR tent an hour before the TTT. All trainers were lined up. It looked as if we overkilled it. Well, I am glad we did. Having solid warm up was the key to a successful time trial.
We set off at 2:41 PM and picked up the pace. We unfortunately lost one member on the first lap. Not long after the first lap, we lost another one. There we were, the four of us working together to complete the last lap as fast as we could. Lots of talking to each other, calling out “last wheel” or “keep it steady girls!” Gosh I was pushed to my limit over 40 minutes. I was so relieved when I saw the finish line (although it is not reflected in the picture below!).
Our overall position was 6th out of 10 women teams. I thought we did well on the first stage.
Day 2 – 75 kms undulation with a final climb at 8%.
It was a big women group (around 60 people). If you never compete at open women race, it will make you nervous and intimidated. We were off with decent speed. The women sticked together until about 30th km. Some women got dropped. I also struggled in getting a great position in the bunch. I was at the back of the peloton since beginning. By the time we reached the last climb, I had nothing left in my legs. I had lots and lots of surging, which was a waste of my energy.
Overall, I was happy with my effort that day, finishing as the 34th of 55 riders. The girls’ position were Lesley 16th , Helen 17th, Leigh 30th, Janice 35th and Katheryn 42nd.
Day 3 was the highlight of the whole tour for me. The course was challenging with more undulation as the menu of the day! When we hit the undulating road, the group split up. I was again at the back of the peloton from the beginning. Not a very smart move Laurensia! I was getting tired from surging.
Yup, the inevitable happened. There I was, I got dropped…. What a disaster! The peloton was about 20 metres ahead but I could not pedal any faster. I noticed that Katheryn Dines got dropped as well. Not really great for us, I thought. We got ourselves sorted and we started doing short roll through. We took 20 second turns and we caught up with some ladies, who got spat out from the peloton too. With 30 kms in, ideally we should work together. I had doubt though, I did not know who these ladies were or whether they would want to be part of the roll through. It was a race after all!
But hey, they took part of the roll through. I was thrilled with the whole experience. The team work was just fantastic. I am proud to be part of that small group. We helped each other until about 5 kms to the finish line. The ladies picked up the pace and got into position for a sprint. We would not sprint for winning the podium but what the heck right? Haha it was exciting… Katheryn and I looked after each other and then the unexpected happened! Katheryn attacked!! It was about 1 km to go!
Everyone responded including me! Haha… Exciting and fun. We had our “sprinting” moments and it was priceless!! Thanks for the leadout Katheryn. I will never forget this! You are really an awesome team mate!
We finished the day with myself at 34th place, Katheryn 35th, Helen at 21st, Janice 30th, Lesley 27th and Leigh 26th.
Day 4- our last day ended with so much wind but I had great experience thanks to the SPR women teams. We had a team meeting before the race. The objective was clear: to help out Megan Thomas getting a podium position.
Gosh I never dreamed of having a role in a racing team. We took off at 1 PM. I could see the “greens” were moving continuously in the peloton protecting and positioning Megan. I wanted to play my part. I then took a big step, riding in the wind and forcing myself to be in the front of the peloton.
I was not sure whether I got the girls’ attention away from Megan for awhile but I gave it a shot. Hard work summed it up. I somewhat felt better and safer in the front because I could see what’s happening to the race! I learned right there that positioning is very important for you to safe energy and being part of the race itself!
Time flew really quickly, and we were on the last lap. About 4 kms to go, I was hung in the wind, I got dropped from the peloton and I again had nothing left in my legs.
I finished at 29th place. The ladies did well Janice (35th), Leigh (32nd), Katheryn (34th), Lesley (17th) and Helen (23rd).
It has been great experience and my fellow cyclists you should give racing a crack! I intend to go back where possible next year.
My special thank you to the volunteers. We would not make it through the four days race without you all: Peter Mah, Suzie and Belinda Evans.
Thank you for my fantastic coach, Toby Brown. It has been crazy 4 months and I thank you for your support.
To my team mates: you guys are amazing. I am proud to share this journey with each of you!