Tour of Margaret River 2017 – Stage 1 Race Report

ToMR Stage 1 – Amanda Nabi

Our journey to stage 1 started 6 weeks prior to the ToMR with weekly practice sessions.   A fortnight out from the tour we were on top of our game and confident we were going to achieve our first goal for the Tour…to make it into the top Division of the ToMR to race with the A grade women.  Unfortunately, our beloved Louise McKay had a mishap on the bike and was unable to continue her adventure with the team.  We grieved our loss and committed to continue on with a team of 5.   At the last minute we were blessed with the offer to have Veris Racing Team rider Stefanie Van Amerongen ride with us…we naturally snapped her up.  At this stage we only had one opportunity to practice our team time trial as a new team but that only built our confidence as we discovered that Stefanie was the perfect fit both on and off the road. The team was now eager for our long awaited adventure together to get underway.

Hot, hilly and smooth pretty much sums up Stage 1 of ToMR for Women’s Team 1.  Day 1 of the Tour arrived and it was unexpectedly a stinker of a day.  We adjusted our planned warmups accordingly to allow for the heat.  Before we knew it we were lining up at the start line, downing a gel and we were off!   Everything went to plan with the team rolling out steady for the first few kilometres before upping the pace slightly and settling into a smooth rhythm.  The confidence built as we passed a couple of teams.  Holden Women’s Racing passed us as we expected with little impact on the team…the pace and rhythm remained consistent.

We weren’t the quietest of teams on the road…we didn’t care as our aim was to ‘communicate’ and ensure that all our rider were supported and together.  As a team we wanted to have our less strong riders with the team for as long as possible.  Thus, we had them taking shorter turns and when they were struggling sitting at the back moderating the pace.

All was going perfectly until a kilometre or so from the turnaround point when I dropped my chain…arrgh!  I dropped to the back and told the girls to keep going, I’d get back on…this I did and the girls took the surprise in their stride.  We hit the turnaround point with Michelle leading the team in and out of the hot dog turn smoothly and with a good line.   As we picked the pace back up the second chain drop occurs…Vanessa this time.  Just as quickly as she called it she had it sorted with only a few seconds lost before we got back into our rhythm.

As we were getting closer to the finish it was evident that some of us were starting to tire whilst others were eager to push to the finish draining it all.  A couple of our riders were dropping off the back but Michelle was quick to read this behaviour calling for the front few to ‘ease up’ and her dropping back to pull them back on knowing we need 5 to finish with.  Minimal time was lost with Michelle’s savvy approach having us all back together.

Vanessa selflessly told the team to go heading into the final long climb…this was timed perfectly and the remaining 5 of us pushed hard to the finish before waiting for Vanessa to re-join us.

Stage 1 was done and that evening we celebrated the achievement of our first goal…qualifying for Women’s Division 1.

In reflecting, we had a magical combination for stage 1…hills climbers in Corrie, Stefanie and Michelle leading us up the climbs, Oleysa and I to take us down the descents and Vanessa guiding on wind direction and the best way to roll and echelon.  Most importantly though we were all ‘team players’ wanting to contribute what we could for the betterment of the team.

No time for jerseys.
Nutrition planning is important. Pre race…….
….and post race.
Dunsborough beach water. Scientifically known to provide health benefits. So I heard.

SPR Chicks. Strong.

Divman. When the chicks are around, there’s Divman Chun.
……………. and our Special guest Star STEF!!!!!
Don’t look at me.
Car. Choons. Chicks. Boom.
Olesya giving it everthing.
The only way is up!
UP, UP, UP, UP, UP!!!!
Smash time.