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Maccie’s year abroad

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Maccie Carter has been coached by Kelly Cycle Coaching since Maccie was 15 years old.  He came to KCC as a raw inexperienced cyclist, keen to “make it further” in cycling.

After 3 years of learning how to train, Maccie started to apply race tactics and skills and experimented with learning how to race, with some success.  He was a late developer, so he was smaller than his peers and with less strength until he reached U23’s.  This meant that as a junior, he had to rely on holding a wheel and maintaining good bunch position, rather than muscling his way to the front by facing the wind.

We find that junior cyclists who are late developers have a greater sense of tenacity and determination. They have learnt to fight to hold a wheel, and they have experienced getting “dropped by the bunch” many times until their bodies mature. They have experienced many failures which ultimately teaches them how to succeed, in cycling and in life.

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Year 11 was a big year for Maccie.  He finished 3rd in the Oceania Road Championships, attacked and won the State Road Championships solo, and was selected to represent Australia at the U19 UCI Road World Championships.  These achievements fired up his desire to go further in cycling, and the plan was hatched to apply for teams and try to race in Europe in 2018, after finishing high school.

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Maccie finished his Year 12 exams in November 2017 and frantically started to get fit as news came in that he had been accepted to join a french team for the coming year.  So Maccie took a gap year from his university course and headed to France, two days after the National Road Championships, where he had spent 90kms off the front in a break of 3, before heat and fatigue caught up with him. This was a monumental leap for any young cyclist, fresh out of high school.

Maccie has now returned from his year abroad and we caught up with Maccie to ask him what living abroad was like.

1)      Firstly, congratulations on your European season abroad.  What was the name of the team you signed with and where was the team based?

Thank you Helen!! VCP Loudeac, they’re a french amateur team. 

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2)      How many team mates did you have and were they mostly your age?

From memory there were about 15 or 16 of us and about 9 or 10 of us were U23s, so majority of them were around my age.

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3)      When did you arrive in France to start your season?

I arrived at the start of January 2018 and into the harsh reality of a European winter, which was pretty rough to start off. But after a few weeks i was coping reasonably well.  

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4)      What brand of bike did your team ride?

We were on Orbea

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5)      Were you living with a French family between race events? And speaking of living arrangements, did your host speak any English?  Or communicate completely in French? 

Yeah so after each race i would go back and live with a french lady. Once i arrived i realized what i had gotten myself into, but i was chasing a dream so if i could train well and had a bed to sleep in i was happy! I was living with my DS’ mother, which was very lonely at times but she was very welcoming and kind and made my transition into life in France much easier. There was no English spoken, so I got very good at French very quickly. 

6)      How would you rate your French now compared to your high school French when you first arrived in France?

You can’t compare the two. Because in France you learn more conversational French than here. But is remarkably better there is no question about that. 

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7)      Can you think of a funny misunderstanding when someone said something to you in French and you misinterpreted it.  (When I lived in France I accidently said I had eaten the horses, instead of saying I had given food to the horses).

Yeah when i first arrived i said “my key is in the garden?” instead of “I keep my key?”, which was quite funny. I realized as soon as I said it, so I was very quick to correct myself! 

8)      Did your DS do the team meetings in French or English? 

All team meetings were done in French, which took a while to get my head around, but by about  May i could understand about 80%. I was also very thankful that one of my teammates is fluent in English which i am forever grateful for!

9)      Was it difficult in the first few months to understand what was going on in team meetings?

Yeah it was but my DS and few teammates could speak enough English to get the message across, which im very grateful for!

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10)   And did your team mates speak to you in French or English?

It was a bit of both, about 5-6 of my teammates could speak a little English, but by the time i had got the hang of it. We would communicate in French which was easier for them and made me think and i could master the language which i thoroughly enjoyed!

11)   So what was your first race in France and was it like anything you have experienced so far?  I recall you telling me it was more difficult than the U19 UCI World Champs in Duho!!

My first race in France, whats like nothing i had experienced before it was next level crazy. There was no neutral zone and it was full noise and there were never cruisy moments. It was junior worlds with way more intensity and just full gas the whole time. 

12)   How would you describe the aggressiveness of French racing?  Is it at all similar to our Australian racing?

Racing in France is like everyone is robots and can keep riding for 4 hours at 100%. The racing style was very aggressive, but the attitude in the bunch was gentlemen-like which was a surprise. 

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13)   They say that racing your bike is the easy part of living abroad and all the off the bike stuff takes time to adjust to.  Would you agree with this?  What were some of the harder things to adjust to during the season?

I would agree with that 100%. Riding your bike getting out there and exploring new roads is the easiest part. Within 3 weeks i had 3 bike changes which wasn’t ideal but something I had to cope with. The hardest thing by far was always being isolated, not having friends around and going into town to make friends was extremely difficult due to the annoying and frustrating language barrier, the culture and adjusting to new life are also aspects that i really struggled with. 

14)   What were some of the fun aspects about this season?

The racing was just insane. Everytime i raced i got an extremely addictive buzz, something that i had never experienced before and finally getting the chance to race in Europe with a european team was a huge lifetime goal for me. I also did quite a bit of travel which was also amazing and I made some life-long friends. 

15)   With such a busy race calendar did your training need to alter to allow enough recovery between races, before starting the next block of training?  Did this take some time to adjust to?

Yeah, as soon as i got there i was shocked at how much they raced. In Aus, i would normally do a 6-8week build for a race and in europe you race every week so you recover during the week and then you have to go again. Also because the intensity of the racing is insane your recovery is extra important! It took me about 2-3 months to fully adjust to the intensity of the racing and the frequency of it. 

16)   Being in Europe means visiting many countries to train and race.  What different countries did you visit this season? 

We had a race in Belgium and Italy. But i went down to Girona for 2 weeks to check it out, which was rad. I also went to italy 2 weeks before Giro Valle D’Aosta which was amazing!

17)   What was your favourite race this season and why?

My favourite race was Circuit Mene, which is a very big espoir (u23) race in Bretagne which i enjoyed a lot because it suited me to a T. Classic Bretagne conditions, windy, wet and freezing cold which i loved!

18)   Where was your favourite training area this season and why?

Lake Como, was just amazing. Ripper views, good company and even better made preparing for races a lot easier!

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19)   Were there other aussie’s living abroad that you connected with this season?

There were other aussie in Europe at the time, but i was living in the north and they were all in south and with my racing calendar changing every hour, it made it hard to catch up, but that is life as an elite athlete. 

20)   A little birdie told me that you’ve become quite the chef and frequently whip up one of Donna Hay’s recipes! Do you enjoy cooking? What are a few of your favourite savoury dishes you like to cook? 

Haha, I have enjoyed cooking since i was a little kid. Just gives me something to do and switch off from cycling. I really enjoy a eggplant parmigiana and a prawn chili pasta, but sweets are my go to!

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21)   Was there a favourite French pastry or treat that you enjoyed in France that we don’t have in Australia?  Do you prefer our Australian cuisine or you quite like French food? 

All of the French pastries are positively evil, but i did love the odd tarte aux frambroise. But then again you can’t go past an Aussie muff. I love the aussie cuisine, but the French cuisine is pretty hard to miss. 

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22)   So how was driving on the other side of the road?  Did you adjust to this easily or did you have a few scary moments?

It was funny to start off. When i first arrived Steve (my DS) essentially said “maccie the team will give you a car for the year”, my gut reaction was “shit not sure that this is a good decision” and it turns out my gut reaction was correct. So we went to the garage out the back of the service and there was ‘my car’ a 1998 peugeot SW. Long story short i jumped in the car (it was a manual and i had never driven a manual before), i got the car going in the garage and we are heading straight for this pole and we weren’t stopping, realizing i was pushing the clutch instead of of the brake we stopped half a meter before this pole. 

 

So this peugeot was no longer ‘my car’. A month later i sorted out a long term rental car and I had no issue with driving on the otherside of the road, which made life easier. 

23)   How important is the support structure of a rider living abroad?  And did you feel you had a good support structure around you to help you get through your first season? 

The support structure is everything. I had a very good support structure around, i defiantly felt like i was being supported and was always motivated so it helped a lot. In a sport like cycling living conditions and support structure is rarely perfect and if it is it all depends on the individual as well. 

24)   What would your advice be to someone who is about to embark on the same journey you took this year?  What could make a rider feel more adequately prepared?

Just to go over and enjoy living in a different culture and immersing yourself in that, and not really caring too much about the bike. Just to go with flow and expect the unexpected because your normal routine and what you normally in Aus will be completely different in Europe. Also don’t go over with huge expectations as living in another country where you don’t have much idea about what’s going on is harder than you realize. 

25)   On reflection of your first season abroad, do you feel changed by the experience?  Grown in maturity and independence? 

I am definitely a changed man now. I think i have grown in both but i also appreciate the sport much more now, because when i was at school i was a bit delusional and didn’t realise how challenging it is and how hard living abroad is. I also appreciate where i live and the crazy amount of support that i got to pursue a dream of mine. 

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26)   They say pursuing your dream is a bitter/sweet experience! Has your first year abroad, helped you understand there are sacrifices involved in pursuing your dream?  What things did you miss the most during your season away?

Yeah 100%, the sacrifices i made to go to junior worlds two years ago were big. But moving to France this year the sacrifices were huge, but when you have an experience like this and your dream comes true at the end of the day it is all worth it!  I mainly missed not having something else going on, whether that was uni, friends or another hobby so when i returned i made the most of that!

27)   Were there events or an experience this year that helped you understand the often bumpy road of racing full time?   

Yeah for sure. Mainly just the sacrifices that you make, and when you don’t fulfill your expectation or bad luck fell your way in a goal race you question whether if its worth it, to sacrifice this much and put your life on hold and move to Europe to pursue a childhood dream.  

28)   You’ve definitely had a big first season abroad, with many new experiences both on and off the bike.  You have coped with many new challenges: a new culture, a new language, different style of racing, a new team and the list goes on.  Are there any final thoughts or comments you would like to make about your season?

It sure was a season and a year i will never forget, and i am forever thankful and grateful to my support network both in Aus and in France. I couldn’t have achieved what i had if i didn’t have that behind me. 

29)   And finally, I hope you are enjoying your end of season break.  A chance to recharge your batteries, enjoy time with family and friends and perhaps whip up another Donna Hay delight.  Thanks for taking the time to talk to me today.

No worries

Aussie title for Hildred

Wayne Nationals Title

Wayne Hildred from Bright, Victoria, has “been there, done that”, having raced in Australia, New Zealand and in Europe as a pro.

He returned to competitive cycling a few years ago under the watchful eye and guidance of Bob Kelly.  Wayne has years of tactics under his belt and his skills are some of the best we have ever seen.  Anyone who can descend Tawonga Gap without touching their brakes and staying on the correct side of the road is skillful in our eyes. Bob’s job was teaching Wayne how to rest and trust the training he has done, leading into major races and events.

The Masters Nationals titles were held in October in Metung, Victoria.  After some great international racing including a podium in a regional Italian race, and a top 10 finish at the World Masters Champs, Italy in August, Wayne knew he had the form to do well.

Wayne Overseas July 2018

Known by his peers as the Cyclone, Wayne has a powerful kick which he unleashed in spectacular style to take the Australian Masters Road Race Title.

Well done Wayne. Wayne Nationals Title

 

Jonker 3rd at TT Nationals

Podium 2018 TT

Congratulations to Kelly Cycle Coaching athlete, Kerry Jonker who placed 3rd in the women’s U23 National Time Trial Champs at Buninyong, 2018.

It was a hot and windy day and a particularly hilly course which made conditions tough for all competitors.  This was Kerry’s first attempt at the TT at a national level so a very pleasing result for her.

 Getting Interviewed Kerry Jonker  Kerry Warming Up
 Helen and Kerry ITT Nationals  Podium 2018 TT

Burt wins final stage of TOSW

Paddy TOSW

Congratulations to Paddy Burt who won the final stage of the Tour of South West in a solo late attack.  He was part of a small break that went early in the final hilly stage of the tour. With 3km to go, he made his move to take a comfortable solo win.  He also finished 3rd in the general classification.

Paddy TOSW Paddy with the womens team pre race chat

A great result Paddy.

Airport Toyota

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Kelly Cycle Coaching is proudly sponsored by Airport Toyota.

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We wish to thank Pasquale Scaturchio for his support in our cycling team and coaching business.  We look forward to taking our Toyota vehicles to road races, mountain bike/CX events and other cycling challenge events throughout Victoria.

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Carter reflects on his U19 worlds experience

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One of our Kelly Cycling athletes, Maccie Carter competed in the World U19 Road Championships in Doha in October, 2016.  We recently interviewed Maccie to ask him about selection process, how he prepared for this event, and what the experience was like.

 

How old were you when you decided to get coached by KCC and what level of cyclist were you?

I was 12 when I started cycling but didn’t start to take it very seriously until I was 15 which was when I started to be coached by KCC. I wasn’t very competitive either as a bottom age U17 rider, I was constantly getting dropped.

 

What were your aspirations when you started cycling?  

When I first started riding competitively my aspirations were to make to a high level in the sport, even though I didn’t think that was possible at the age of 14.

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Did you ever think you would represent Australia at U19 level?

Not really, but I always had it in the back of my mind, seeing a lot of my mentors represent the country at U19 level. I thought it could have been possible through a lot of hard training in the summer, but I didn’t really think about it too much.

 

So as an U17 rider, how strong were you relative to your peers at a State and National level?

In first U17s I couldn’t even compete against the top teir guys. By the time I hit second year I was a lot stronger so able to ride at the front at state championships and junior tours but couldn’t do that at a national level. At u17 nationals (2nd year) I was about in the top 25% in the country.

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So about 12 months ago you made a goal to make the U19 worlds team.  When you set this goal, did you struggle at times to believe it would happen?

Not at all, I put my focus on the three selection races and to race well in each of them. I took them all race by race and they were my little goals within the big goal of making the team.  I didn’t find this season that hard and that I would struggle to make the team but there is always doubt.

 

What selection races were part of the worlds selection events?

The three races that were a part of making the national team were, Oceania’s Time trial and Road Race, Mersey Valley Tour and the National Time Trial and Road Race.

 

We decided to compete in the Oceania road race only.  This decision was largely based on the heat which was in the 40’s.  How did Oceania’s go for you? 

We made the call quite early in the piece as the TT was on a course that didn’t suit me and the heat would’ve made me tired from the following day, in my eyes I believe that we made the right choice. The heat on the day of the road race was insane, but it was expected. Oceania’s couldn’t have worked out any better for me as I didn’t really expect a whole lot.  I was very active throughout the day being in 3-4 man chase groups to bring back eventual winner James Fouche. I was pretty cooked by the time we hit the Mt Alexander climb so I didn’t expect a whole lot. I climbed well to stay in the main chase bunch with riders being dropped on the stretch after the climb to the finish mainly due to the heat factor but I thrived on it and so did my team mate Alastair Christie-Johnston. Then it was really all or nothing to the line to catch the lone leader (James).

 

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Mt Buffalo hill climbing champs were removed the from selection criteria but we decided to race it anyway to help build towards Nationals.  How did these events go?

National hill climb wasn’t great for me as I had no taper for it and coming off Oceania’s I had high expectations. But it was a good race to do to get some intensity and solid climbing in before Mersey Valley tour. Even though I was quite fatigued leading into the race I still placed 4th overall on GC

 

Next came Mersey Valley.  What happened there?

Mersey Valley was alright for me. It started off very well with a 7th in the ITT which I was very pleased about. Then came the first road stage, I was looking forward to this stage the most as it had the infamous Gunns Plains climb which suits me very well. With a very quick start to this stage with attacks up the first KOM only 10km in we knew were in for a hard with cross-winds and misty rain all throughout the day. As we were going down the descent leading to the bottom of the climb there were many crashes which just added more carnage to the day. As we hit the climb I was feeling amazing and ready to go with any moves, we were about 2km up the climb when the first attack went I immediately went with it and then when I tried a counter attack my back wheel slipped out from under me and I came to a complete stop which put me behind the two leaders (eventual winners) and in the main race bunch of 5.

Stage 3 had come around with storm warnings the night before it was sure to be another rough stage, with 1900m climbing on the cards with 3 times up Weegena rd (2.5k climb averaging 9%). As I got stuck on the inside when the winning break went 7km into a 109km stage as I was not going to try and spend the whole time bringing an 8-man break with Seb Berwick, it wasn’t to be my day finishing +4:05mins down on the winner. Overall the Mersey Valley was great racing. I had great form coming into the race I just had bad luck due to the shocking conditions.

 

And the final selection event was Nationals.  You chose to do the TT and road race.  How did you go?  Did you race aggressively in the road race?

The TT suited me very well as it was quite a punchy course with not many flat sections to sit on constant power, I ended up with fourth which I was very happy with. As road race course wasn’t as hard, myself and my team mate CJ went in with a radical plan, which was to light it up last time up the climb and win 1-2. I was aggressive from the 2nd lap attacking up the climb to string out the field. Being in multiple breaks during the race to make peoples legs sore was another tactic that we went in with. Coming around for the last lap CJ let go a stinging attack that only I could follow and we bridged to the lead two riders about 30 seconds up the road. The attacks I initiated early in the race took it out of me and I died about 3km to go as the field was closing in on our 4 man break. They caught us up the finishing hill with about 200m to go and i finished a very close 6th with CJ just missing out on the title.

 

So you get the “phone call”, that you’ve made the U19 team.  Describe how that moment felt.  

Very surreal, you have that goal for 12 or 18months and you know you have done everything to get there. But it’s such an emotional moment that I can’t really describe.

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Winning the U19 State Champs before heading to the World Champs

 

Preparation for Worlds.  This was the hardest block of training you’ve ever done.  Was it tough both mentally and physically?  What kept you motivated during the days when your body was fatigued and you couldn’t find the power you wanted to?

It was so tough both physically and mentally, I was mentally fatigued from school and riding and I was just drained from going back to back everyday. I was kept motivated by the thought of showing people how competitive I can be in the world and and how much of an honor it is to represent your country. These are the things that kept me so motivated.

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How many hours were you trying to do in these weeks?  

I was doing about 20 hours a week, which is a lot more than what I was doing leading into the selection races.

You headed to Perth for a final 2 week preparation camp with the other two riders, Harry and CJ.  Was this block also hard?    You did some heat adjustment training – did this help prepare you for Doha?

The training block in Perth was really heat simulation sessions and doing threshold tt efforts to simulate what the race would be like. This block very hard with double sessions most days with the heat chamber and with limited recovery days, we were well and truly cooked by the time we hopped on the plane to Doha. The heat chamber was a game changer, and this helped a lot for Doha as we knew what to expect when we arrived. We can all be very thankful for everybody’s work at WAIS to make this happen.

 

So landing in Doha must have felt like walking into an oven with a hair dryer in your face.  35-40C and just roasting hot.    How did you warm up for the TT and stay cool at the same time?  

The warm up for the TT was very well setup as there was a purpose built house with every nation having a room to warm up in, and inside the house it was about 24-25C. The soigneurs were putting my towels around our necks, ice down our skinsuits and giving us bottles of ice for us to keep our core temperature down which was very important in such a warm location.

How did you stay hydrated?

I was having a lot of water before, during and after warm up. I took a 500ml bottle for the TT and got about three big sips in which was great to keep your mouth wet.

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The TT course had over 20 roundabouts and hair pin turns.  It was very twisty and hard to maintain any sort of rhythm.  How did you go in the TT?

I liked to the TT course a lot, it probably wasn’t a course that suited me but I felt that I could carry good speed through the roundabouts and it was relatively easy to kick out of them. I had a great rhythm in TT from the first roundabout, I finished 14th at the end of the day with an extended time in the hot seat. I was happy with my performance and gave it all my beans. I had nothing left at the finish.

 

Next came the road race.  Our most important advice was to get to the front and try to stay there.  Safer and less braking and accelerating.  How did you feel before the road race?  Nervous?  How did the first lap go?

I put a lot of pressure on myself before the road race as it was my last U19 race I’ll ever do and I wanted to go out with a bang. I was very nervous as Harry told us that it’s a crash-fest and very hard to get to the front early. We didn’t have a priority start, so we started close to the back of the 180+ rider field. The first lap went really well as me and my team-mate CJ moved up together and in the first 5km I was 6th wheel with the Slovenia-train riding the front at the time. After the first lap things settled down a bit but it was still very intense. I think we averaged nearly 47km/h for the first lap.

 

What was your hydration and fuel plan?

Cycling Australia had an amazing hydration and fuel plan which definitely gave us a leg up in the race. We ran 2L camelbak bladders under our jerseys to avoid the chaotic feedzones and two bottles of water in our cages. Then we would consume gels as needed throughout the race. This lowered the chance of the crash and we were more hydrated than a lot of other riders in the field.

 

What happened at about the 90km mark?

At the 90km mark I was moving up on the outside of the bunch when the rider in front of me clipped the wheel in front of him and I was down before I knew it. The rider behind had ridden straight into my hanger so my bike was unrideable. By the time I had a spare bike the field was already 2:30min up the road so that was race over. I was pretty gutted not to finish my last ever junior race, but that’s part of the sport. It was an amazing experience, and I really appreciative of the opportunity and the support that was provided by the Cycling Australia HPU.

And finally, I would also like to thank my coach, Helen, at KCC, having a great coach has been such an important part of my progression as a cyclist.

 

So congratulations on an amazing experience Maccie.  What is next on your calendar?  

Well, I have just ridden my first Nationals at Buningyong in the U23s and finished 15th in the time trial.  In 2017, I am juggling Year 12 as well as my cycling but looking forward to adapting to the next level of racing now that I am out of juniors.

Most aggressive rider: Bec Stephens

Rebecca Stephens - Most Aggressive Rider, National Capital Tour, 2016

Kelly Cycle Coaching athlete, Bec Stephens earned herself most aggressive rider after stage 3 at National Capital Tour.  We asked her all about the event and how she raced the tour.

 

National Capital Tour: Rebecca Stephens

Prologue – what was the course like?

It was a short time trial, only 7km long but very tough. It started out flat for about 1km then a steep downhill straight into a steep uphill, turnaround, and then back down and up the same hills to finish at the start.

 

Was it tricky to race this style of course? (ie going out too hard, saving legs for the climbs etc)

I found it very tricky to get this right. It was not the type of course where you could just try and hold threshold, it definitely needed an ‘over and under’ approach but anyone who went too hard on the first hill to the turnaround certainly paid for it on the climb back up to the finish. I was in that camp a little bit myself. I was really struggling to put out decent power towards the end and lost quite a bit of time in the second half but I was treating this TT as a learning experience so wasn’t too worried.

 

Stage 1 – what was the course like?

A 77km long road race consisting of 11 laps of a 6.3km long loop course finished with a ride out to the top of Black Mountain. There was some confusion during the race and we were mistakenly sent around for an additional lap of the loop so ended up doing 12 laps and racing about 85km all up.

What did you like about the course?

The course was very exciting; it had a bit of everything. In just over 6km it included 6 corners, one of which was a tight hot-dog style corner, plus some descending, and a climb. It made for really dynamic racing as there were lots of good opportunities to attack and get out of sight, and it required good climbing legs and smart positioning in the bunch to save energy.

What did you eat and drink?

Probably not enough! The extra lap thrown in really made me hurt. It was quite a warm day for Canberra, the sun was really beating down and I think I’m just not used to racing in warm conditions yet after the Melbourne winter. I drank 2 full bidons of sports drink and ploughed through a couple of rows of shot blocks and gels. I was starting to cramp up by the end and could have used a bit more food and probably a saltier drink mix.

 

The final climb up Black Mountain – tell us what happened?  Was it all together at the base and then it exploded?

Specialized rider, Lucy Bechtel, had been solo off the front for quite a while and the bunch just caught her at the base of Black Mountain. The climb kicks up straight away into a double digit gradient and that did immediate damage. I was positioned mid-pack and was already picking my way through riders pretty much as we were exiting the corner onto the climb. The bunch got broken up into very small groups straight away. Black Mountain is only short, about 3km from the base to the car park, but it was steep enough to completely break up the field and most riders crossed the line on their own. I finished in 19th spots two and half minutes behind the stage winner, Lucy Kennedy from High5 Dream Team.

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Stage 3 – what was this course?

This was a much flatter course than the prior day. It started at the Stromlo criterium circuit and then headed back towards central Canberra for 3 laps of a 20km loop, then back to the criterium circuit to finish. All up the race was about 70km.

How did you race it? 

The plan for the team this stage was to be aggressive and try and be represented in every break. One of the riders for CBR, Emma Viotto, is quite a decent sprinter so we were working for her and trying to give the big teams plenty of work to do. I tried to initiate a number of breaks but the course didn’t make it easy as it mostly used big, wide, open roads. Pretty much everything was getting chased down immediately but I managed to get away on the last lap by counter attacking straight after another move had been brought back. I was in the right spot at the right time and attacked down the left hand side of the road just the bunch was drifting to the right and sitting up. I was away for a little while but only had a maximum gap of 20 seconds so I knew I was getting hung out to dry by the pack. I still rode it as hard as I could to maximise the work that other riders were having to do to pull me back. It all came back together about 10km from the finish and ended in a bunch sprint.

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Congratulations on winning most aggressive rider.  Is this the best result you’ve had so far in your cycling career?

Thank you! Yes, I’d say this was my best result. Even though it wasn’t for a win or a place, I certainly didn’t expect to win any jerseys in the NRS this year so I was pretty excited to get on the podium for something!

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And lastly, stage 4 – the criterium.  What was this course like?

The criterium was held at Stromlo Park which is a dedicated closed-road course. It’s pretty flat and has sweeping bends rather than sharp corners so the racing here is normally very fast.

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And the weather was horrendous.  How did this challenge you?  Was it hard to maintain position.

It had been raining for a few hours prior to the start of the crit and it didn’t really stop while we raced either. The course doesn’t drain well so there was a heap of water and mud on the track which made visibility incredibly difficult. I think everyone was very aware of how dangerous the conditions could be so a lot of caution was exercised during the race. Even so, I did find it really hard to hold good position and ended up floating close to the back of the bunch. Every time I pushed up I would then lose spots through the corners because I just didn’t have the confidence to go as hard as I normally would. I was a bit disappointed with myself about this because I recognise that racing happens in all weather conditions and you need to be comfortable racing hard in the wet. Something else to improve on next time!

Bec Stephens – Athlete Profile

Bec chatting

Kelly Cycle Coaching has been coaching Bec Stephens for 4 years now. She started with us as an entry level C grade rider. She is now the captain of our Pitcher Partners/Kelly Cycle Coaching womens A grade VRS team, and has been doing several NRS events this year.

We interviewed Bec to find out why she enjoys cycling and what makes here tick.

Name: Rebecca Stephens

Age: 31

Current occupation (if working): I work a head office job for ANZ.

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Academic studies achieved or currently undertaking:

Completed a double bachelor degree, Media Studies and Law.

 

Age you got into cycling:

I was 27 when I started cycling.

Bec Michael Paddy

What type of riding do you do (mtb, CX, road, etc):

Just road. I’ve been on a pump track once…on a road bike, but surely that counts for something!

Your favourite efforts you like to do:

Threshold efforts in the hills with maximum effort surges/attacks thrown in. So painful but so, so satisfying.

Bec chatting

Your favourite place to ride:

For local training, I think at the moment I’d have to say the Dandenongs. The scenery is just so nice there and there is such a great variety of climbs, you can always find something to cover off the efforts you need to do. Kinglake and the surrounding area is an extremely close second.

Your favourite food after you’ve done a long ride: Ha, how long do you have?

OK, after a long weekend training ride I love scrambled eggs with sourdough multigrain toast, avocado, and maybe some haloumi or fetta. Plus coffee, always coffee. Everyone who knows me will know I’m fibbing if I don’t also disclose that I’m quite partial to a cake or pastry of some sort if the ride justified it!

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What is your biggest cycling achievement so far:

This is a hard one because when I started riding I came from such a low base that I can still remember many ‘big’ achievements along the way which now don’t seem so huge. I can recall the first proper training ride I attempted in 2012 where I covered 25km and was totally spent and felt I’d achieved something pretty major! I used to think hill training meant going to the Kew Boulevard, not even kidding.

So I think I’d have to say the biggest achievement hasn’t been a specific race or particular outcome, it has been maintaining resilience and persistence and continuing to believe that if I kept working I would keep improving and the next level of competition would slowly come to be within my reach.

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What used to be hard for you in cycling that you can do now:

I was terrified of descending or even going around any corner really when I first started out. With lots of practice and plenty of coaching I’ve been able to develop descending and cornering skills that allow me to keep up with the rest in high level races. Barring the occasional mishap, I actually really enjoy going fast downhill now!

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What are things that you are still mastering in cycling:

My bike handling skills still have plenty of room for improvement. For example, I can’t bunny-hop very well and doubt I could get enough air to jump a gutter if push came to shove. In general terms my handling skills aren’t at a high enough level to give me confidence to always hold onto a tight spot in the peloton but it’s something I’ll be working on. Time trialling is another Achilles’s heel of mind that I’m working to improve.

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What is it about cycling that you like so much:

Cycling works for me on so many levels! At the simplest level, the act of riding a bike is just so much damn fun. There’s something really exhilarating about the fresh air, the scenery passing by, the fun of using your own body to propel a fast machine, the whirr of wheels on road, and the simple pleasure of getting to the top of a hill or arriving at a coffee stop.

At a deeper level, I love cycling because it has taught me some serious life lessons. Cycling has allowed me to prove to myself that I’m not hopeless at all sports. People often ask cyclists who arrived at the sport later in life, “where did you come from?” meaning what sport did you transition from. When I hear this question, my answer is “the couch”. By tackling various cycling challenges of increasing difficulty, my brain has gradually cottoned onto the fact that I am actually a really capable person who can do hard stuff if I set my mind to it. Cycling has made me change quite a lot as a person.

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One of my favourite cycling quotes comes from Christine Majerus (rider for professional team Boels Dolmans) who said “It doesn’t matter when you start. You don’t have to be impressed by the boys and girls that started at eight, nine, or ten. Just keep going. Everyone can start at the beginning and go somewhere.” That’s why I love cycling.

 

Your aspiration in cycling is to: keep riding at a national level and become competitive there. At a stretch, hopefully get to race my bike overseas someday.

U19 State Champion

Finishing salute Maccie

Kelly Cycle Coaching athlete Maccie Carter, soloed to victory in the road race at the U19 State Road champs last month in Wangaratta.

Maccie has recently been selected to represent Australia at the UCI Road World Championships in Doha, so he was in a solid block of training during the State road and TT champs.

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Notwithstanding his heavy legs, he finished 2nd in the TT then attacked on the final climb up Taminick Gap and soloed to win by nearly 2 minutes.

Young Phoebe Thompson in her first State Champs rode well to finish 5th in the road race, after getting dropped early and chasing back on.  Well done.

Phoebe

 

UCWT Championships, Perth

Wayne Hildred - Australian Masters Champion, 2016 and former National Road Champion, Elite Men

Kelly Cycle Coaching had 4 athletes compete in the UCWT Road and Time Trial Championships in Perth last week.

Our best results were Seda Camgoz, 4th in the time trial and Wayne Hildred also 4th in the road race. They both missed the podium by 10 seconds.

Seda Turkish skinsuit Seda 4th Seda after her TT  TT Seda Wayne in Kelly Kit Wayne post race Wayne rolling out

Damian Bovalino finished 25th in his age category and James Black was 97th, in their road races.

 

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