Friday, December 21, 2012

Off in the Off Season

Now is the time to take a bit of unstructured downtime.  Time to recharge the mental and physical batteries so that they have what it takes for my 2013.  Which is going to be huge.  Lining up for a host of big races.  Battle on the Border, Cunningham, BIG TT's, and of course my priority the WEMBO 24 Hour World Champs on home soil at Stromlo.

So what do you do in the offseason?
I think it is whatever you feel like.  Ride, don't ride but whatever you do keep active.
I've been hitting the dirt with my bestie dirt skirt Mifflin.
Cupcakes & Rocks Rock.

Been getting out to a crit or two as well, just to keep the fitness there and to put some hurt on the boyz.
Twilight Series Points Race Podium.  Heat + Gales + Points = HURT.

Twilight Series Race One Podium
Getting stuck into it with TR-Frank.
Hopefully a week of cross training with a snorkel on the Great Barrier Reef will bring me back here ready to roll. 

Can't wait really :)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

BCRI Northshore Criterium

Koiled headed out to Hamilton Harbour for the BCRI Northshore Crit.  I was looking forward to a straight up women's race after some of the fun and games mixed racing has been dishing up of late - and I was not disappointed.  

What a great course.  With several tight 90' corners this was a course that gave away free speed to those who could ride the corners.  Locked and loaded that.  Added difficulty points were awarded as one of the water filled barriers was leaking onto the road, creating a wet metal drainage cover in the middle of the last corner heading into the finishing straight - made a mental note NOT to ride over that.

With temperatures well into the 30's it was a sizzling 30min + 3.  I decided to keep the pace up and did a heap of work.  Big props to the Data3 girls who were keen to ride hard and try and start something up.  Excellent racing!  

It is rare we get a prime, and I while some people allow the prime to go and concentrate on the finish - I never let the opportunity go.  What if I did, and I punctured? If you can contest it do - so I did and was surprised to find myself well off the front for the prime with no challengers.   That was one in my pocket.

Coming into the last three laps, I did my best to keep the pace up and make everyone work.  Last lap I figured I would use my mountain biking skills and I sprinted into the first 90' knowing most would not follow at that speed.... Ride of the day goes to Donna from HPRW who had a pedal strike and did exceptionally well to keep it rubber side down (even if a little sideways) in the last lap corners!  Mad skills.

I made it through the second 90' corner and into the straight and consolidated my effort.  I knew the girls would need to surge to get back on and it would hurt. Perfect.  Then I employed a tactic shared with me by my track fiend TRex Stef.  And it worked a treat.  The prime and the win - in a sprint no less. Thanks BCRI - quality race, quality prize money for the ladies, top location!   See you next year.

Dyane Hannan, Rach Edwards and Kirrily Tutt

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Interbikin. F' Yeah!

Interbike.  Those who know, know.

The biggest annual gathering (ok, 2nd biggest - eurobike you win) of the bike industry. The highlight of the year for many a bike company, launching new products and new year models.  Wall to wall bike celebrities and amazing amounts of bling - lots of which Australia will never see.   Koiled headed over with our usual brief to hunt out the high end products and see what we might add to our import portfolio delivering on the aim of bringing the best products to our shores.  As frame builders too, it is always important to see what is new and what components we may consider as we build up the trickest bikes going around.

First up - Outdoor demo.  Set about 30mins outside of Vegas in Bootleg Canyon Nevada - this place is home to some of the IMBA 'epic ride' trails.  The place was wall to wall demo bikes and a massive pile of nutrition companies keeping us fuelled for the day.  And rocks. Lots of rocks.

One of my favourite rides was the Spot Honey Badger 29er SS, belt drive.  Some interesting redesign of the rear stays made it one of the most compliant hard tails I have ridden. I could see it being a legendary 24hour bike for those lunartics (Hi Bec!) who are keen on SS. Unfortunately it did not pass the Duggan test with him flatting at the furthest point from HQ.  Damn!  While the 32-19 was a handful for me suffering in desert I still loved this bike.  Belt drive is weird. Quiet. Smooth.  Not completely sure I am ready to trust it yet ... but interesting nonetheless.

Next up plan was to compare the electronic shifting options of shimano and campag.   Campag had Athena EPS setups on Pinarello Dogmas.  This is a contraversial statement - in my hands Dogmas handle like dogs.  My current bike is about a million times more balanced and responsive.  Reassuring.  While I liked the lever redesign on the new EPS, reachable for small hands from the drops,  I did not like the speed of shifting.  It was direct and never missed, but it was slow.   Really slow. As in I just missed a wheel slow.  Not for me then.

kicking back in the SRAM tent while the boys set up my ride.
Another highlight was testing the new SRAM XX1 setup with the new gripshift.  A redesign of the internals, moving away from bearings to a much lighter action is a significant improvement.  I also found the 1 x 11 super comfortable.  Mounted on a Kona Satori 29er dually it was an interesting comparison to my usual 29er dually, the Santa Cruz Tallboy.  The mechanic looked frightened when I asked for a larger size and looking at my pink gear warned me 'it is a lot of bike to handle'.  I smiled.  He is right that it was heavy in the front end and ponderous at low speed but once I had it rolling on the singles it was smooth.  Still prefer my Tallboy hands down though as my kick ass race bike - maybe she needs some XX1 loving for the new season...

Shan preparing an Origin8 Crossbike..... for death.
Shan rolled this one on a crossbike. I wish I had trail pics, because a crossbike on that trail is mental.  True to form the Origin8 also failed the Duggan test, as he folded the chain ring again at the furthest point from HQ.  Walking in the Nevada desert sucks. The other notable ride was my first Tandem attempt on a Co-motion Periscope roadie. I can see why tandem touring is super fun.  Especially on a blinged out custom calfee tandem ..... hmmmm.  Calfeeee....

From the outdoor demo, it was then into three days of indoor, endless bike bling.
Cameras were banned unless you were press - so these few shots were taken with my phone on the sly!

I am in love with Adamos.  Michellie please find me a PINK one!
I have recently fallen in love with ISM Adamos.  And there was a super limited run of euro pink. Time to start begging - a Koiled must have!

Love this frame.  Not a decal in sight but I will bet TR's teeth it is a Pop's Fabrications. Can't miss them.

Cruisers were going off in a big way.  This Soul Cruiser had a couple of positions for BB placement to enable adjustment for laid back mofo's with differing leg length.  Bad Ass.  Mifflin has already ordered one.

The blingest shoes I have EVER seen.  Simmons custom carbons.  Get your feet cast and they fit like a...err.. glove?  WANT.

Designed to coincide with Interbike there was a tour across America of returned service men. This bike says it all. Respect.

Antlers are where it's at.  Apparently.

I cannot imagine why I would ever need one, but fat bikes are cool and in my opinion the surly moonraker is the coolest.  Mostly because I love the gunmetal glitter paint job - makes me think of a 70s t-shirt. 
Actually, now I think about it - if I was lost in the woods and had to make my own rollers from a fallen tree (Stef) then yeah - I totally need a FAT BIKE.

Riding those uneven, rough wooden rollers no hands...... chicks dig skills. 
And that was that.  Great way to stay inspired during an offseason!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

State ITT Champs - no words.

I am going to keep this one short. 
Key points. 
1) ITTs really hurt.
2) I am not as bad as I expected to be for my size.
3) UCI rules for technical equipment suck. 

The icing on the cake is the lack of consistency in the comms that are enforcing these rules.  I feel for the largely volunteer organisation that has to deal with the UCI constantly moving goal posts (or is that seat posts?) but the level of stress and inconsistent overscrutineering of effectively amateur events is out of step and in my opinion keeping people away.  I am not sure what the answer is, but perhaps a more pragmatic approach and consistent education/interpretation might help.

warming up and getting my head back in the game

My day in a nutshell - hell. First up, some unexpected bike setup issues of the unadjustable kind.  Fixed by pulling parts and swapping between bikes and a lot of help from Bear and Trickle - HECTIC. Warmed up got it back together and focused. Had rear wheel pulled in the drop out while being held by the wheel rather than the seat post for the start.  For those of you who don't know this means your wheel moves, and in this case jams hard against the frame - equivalent to having your brakes locked on.  Not the perfect start to a ITT.  Especially not when it is followed by having to get off, reseat, remount and get moving again.  I thought my race was over.   This was topped only by having the grudge driven locals head out to pour tacks all over the course taking out many a rider - including my main competition - who after my mechanical had it all but in the bag.  If I catch a volunteer without his hand dangerously close to my ass on the seatpost in my next ITT there is going to be a problem.  Man up people!

All you haters.......

I am proud to be the State Champ for ITT in masters2, but mostly I am disappointed that my ride time did not reflect my capability. It feels like a missed opportunity to post a kick ass number.  Still, all in all a golden day and a reminder of the great support in our team.

Team mates are great - like this one.  Trickle on the countdown.

I am into my offseason now, and next up a junket with Koiled to interbike!  Stay tuned for my roving report on everything awesome.

Monday, September 10, 2012

HPRW Womens Series - Race 3

HPRW Womens Series wrapped up with Race Three at Lakeside with a Road Race.  After a third and a second, I was in the hunt with Simone Grounds and Jess Toghill for good finish.  There was a tiny chance I could tie for first place overall if we managed a Rach, Jess, Simone finish.... somewhat unlikely but a chance none the less.

Conditions were tough with a strong and gusty westerly wind, making a tough job for me even tougher!  It also meant the places where I could usually get an advantage (up the final climb) were going to be neutralised by a strong headwind kicking into descent into the finishing straight.

We lined up ready to go with a few local stars out for a roll - Jane Walker, Corissa Smith and Lauren Leaver were all out for a ride - 45 + 2 laps.  Hang on - that's a CRIT not a RR.  I was expecting longer but hey, ride what ya brung!   We rolled off and Simone signalled her intention by immediately attacking.  Knowing she was one of the few here who could probably TT the entire thing and smash us I knew I needed to be with her.  Suddenly I wasn't too sad about 45 minutes.  It was going to hurt.  I rolled to the front of the bunch and then kicked hard to bridge, trying my best not to take anyone with her.  Now the ladies who went 1, 2 in the last race were off the front.  We pushed hard and it wasn't long until Jess Toghill also bridged and joined us.  The break now had the top three women in the series away and then bunch was napping.  

The break had formed.  Buckle up ladies this is going to HURT.
 I would like to say I was sitting in the break strategising how to win at the end, but the reality was I was 110% on the rivet trying to hold on and not get dropped.  We had a prime, and I decide to watch and see how the ladies wanted to sprint to perhaps get some ideas for the end.  Ok apparently the go is we slow right down, and then only take the sprint out from the 150m.  No wonder I always get smashed!  We continued to work and stay away and somewhere in there we started to lap the other grades, knowing we must be putting a good gap on the rest of our A grade field.

Longest 45 mins of my life.
At this point the field must have realised we were going to stay away and decided to do something about it.  Jane and Lauren worked hard to try and bring us in, but the damage was done.
Jane and Lauren make chase.

Coming into the bell lap I knew my only chance was to completely red line the last climb to force a gap and at least make the girls carry a much higher pace into the sprint. They were likely to get me, but I wanted to make them do it my way.  Both girls were descending faster than me because of a weight advantage and the headwind - but hey, I have to try something!!! I was on the back as we approached the climb, and I was surprised when the girls backed off the pace.  I dumped gears and swung around, did the best I could to bury myself.  I got a small gap but both girls responded hard.  I lead into the straight and tried to keep the pace up.   I could see from the shadows they were closing, and in the end Jess used her kick to get over Simone and I.

The final sprint - Jess getting away over Simone and then me.
A great series for riders of all abilities - HPRW is doing great things for women's cycling in QLD.  Thanks Karen!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Cunningham Classic - it's a Killer!

Saturday saw us line up for the Cunningham Classic - the jewel of the SEQ road racing calendar.  This race was running it's 30th anniversary edition and I can see why so many people love it.

The race runs from Gatton, winding 96km up the range and onto the tablelands before finishing in Warwick.  It is notorious for two reasons.  One is the never-ending climb - first 40km are uphill.  Second is the wind you get when you make it up onto the tablelands.  Always cross or headwind - never a tailwind!

With the weather forecast: -1 (negative one) to 0 (zero) degrees celsius at 6am it made for a seriously cold start but I knew given the climbing I would not be cold for long.  Jersey, knicks and arm warmers would do me.  The rest of Koiled were off in the Masters B1 grade as Shan, Nick, Bear, Tony and Trickle headed off to take their chances.  TR and Jimmy were our awesome Koiled Krew, and had headed up the road to the first feed station.

I waited another 20 minutes before Elite C/ Womens B was called up.  We had around 8 girls racing, most of whom I knew including Uni girls Anne and Britt.  Soon enough we were off.  There wasn't much by way of pace making as the lead car pulled the neutral flag in and set us free, but I knew when we hit the hills it would be on.  I settled in and concentrated on getting my legs rolling.

As we made our way out to the beginning of the climbs no-one wanted to work.  There was one awesome moment when Catriona, Buffy, Jane and myself were towing the bunch and Matt said to me 'only the girls want to work' shaking his head.  Catriona was from out of town, and I had not seen her race before but I was realising she and I were going to be racing.  I liked the way she was riding - consistently trying to go off the front and really giving it some.  I decided I would get into it with her.  I can't even call it mountain biker guilt - it was more feeling like I was missing the fun.

As we hit the climb, the boys went mental.

 I couldn't believe how hard some of the attacks were and I knew the one rule about this race was to 'STAY WITH THE BUNCH'.  Well, the bunch shattered - and all that was left now was about 12 guys.  I was riding well past where I really could, and I started to evaluate my options and my life insurance.
Both Catriona and came off the back, by about 100m and behind us was daylight....

I wanted to win the QOM, and had said to my team it was my priority for the event.  I am an idiot - I actually thought it would be a matter of riding up the hill solidly and there it is... but how wrong can you be.  After the ferocious attacks I was left wondering if I could make it up the hill at all!  If I wanted this thing, I was going to have to hurt for it.  Badly. There were no witnesses, and no cameras but this is how it went.  I knew the QOM point was around 41.8km so I watched my computer, covered Catriona and tried to get my body back under control.  I listened to her breathing and knew I could smash a hill better.  I stared at the road trying to see the QOM point so I could time my sprint.  I caught a 200metre sign and that was it - in the dog and out of the saddle.  My legs were screaming but I gapped her and held on.

 From there we could see the lead group up the road and we did everything we could to chase back on.  In the end it was Catriona and I for the entire lonely, windblown way.   We had one passenger briefly through the feedzone, but he didn't hang around long.

Steve and Jimmy waited in the feedzone, but I was good with what I had.  They yelled helpful commentary like 'get out of the wind'.  Not quite sure how you do that with a bunch of two!!!!
We both rode honestly helping and encouraging each other for the next 50km.  We found one guy who was cramping and ended up sitting on the back while we swapped the front (try some eLoad!)... but otherwise it was a lonely, lonely road.  Coming into the finish we ended up shoulder to shoulder in a straight out sprint, let the fastest legs win.  Again the koiled cheer squad was on hand with cowbells and encouragement like ' RIDE FASTER'....   should have listened! :P

Congrats to Catriona - well deserved, and super happy 2nd for me and a QOM.  A good day at the office.

Next up HPRW Womens Series Race Three!

Monday, July 30, 2012

HPRW Womens Series - Race Two - The ITT


HPRW Race Two took  us out to Closeburn for a tough little 20kkm ITT course.

Shan built me up an AWESOME koiled TT bike with a blinging custom paint job and I dug out the skinsuit and helmet.  All good bikes need a name, so I decided she should be called the TTime Machine....

I knew I was asking for trouble by having done no TT practice, and only getting my bike the day before but what the hell - MTBers have nothing to lose right!

My teamie Bear wasn't riding so he headed out to help, encourage and watch - being the TT fiend that he is.  Having done the TTT last year I think I got the general idea about how to ride one of these thing, but has no idea how to pace myself. Both he and Jaman provided me various bits of good advice.

I rego'd and jumped onto the trainer to warm up.  With nearly 40 ladies in attendance it was a great turn out. Superstar TTer Simone Grounds was there and I expected a strong ride from Jess Toghill.  There were also a couple of other strong ladies, with long pedigrees. And I was in unfamiliar territory. 

I didn't feel completely awesome with my heart rate was pinging high and fast, but it was showtime. Nerves I suppose!

I ran through the tried and true CCC warm up and listened to some tunes.  It was a bit rushed (how does that always happen?!) but I jumped off the trainer, and into my helmet/gloves and shoes and headed for the start line. I rolled up the road and u-turned and rocked up to find the first 5 girls had already gone! Eeeek.  Nearly missed it!  Slotted in as lucky number 7 and only had one minute to wait before I was off.

I'd been given lots of good advice, but I seemed to misplace it as soon as the starter yelled go.  Inside of a minute my brain had screamed LIKE A BOSS and I was already at 180bpm and going hard.  Save yourself they said.  FAIL.  It was a windy day, and the experience of my first real TT bar ride on rough roads with race wheels and crosswinds was a challenge to say the least. I hardened up and took my chances - what do you know, I lived.    I'd been told that I would think that I had a headwind going out but I wouldn't.  FAIL.  I was sure I had a headwind, so worked hard thinking the back end would be a tailwind. FAAAAIL!

I could see ladies in front of me and did my best to ride and catch, offering encouragement where I could.  I had ticked off the numbers in the first 9kms or so - but then I was also being hunted by Simone.  She got me on the turn, and with no-one else out front of us - my job became trying to limit the gap she was putting in. 
At the end of the day I turned in a 32.31 for the 20km which I think was a good effort. It was good enough to be given 3rd on the day, which has been corrected to 2nd  due to a EDIT*: timing error mix up with muppets entering the wrong grade or some such thing (better?)...  Anyway it's my first ITT benchmark... and we know what happens next! The hunt for time!!!

As always the day was shared with good mates.  For the ITT game fellow dirty bikers Brett Nelson and Jaman rolled the horned steeds.... Brett had a ripper ride with 4th in MMAS2, and Jaman attacked himself senseless, as you do.  We also had the boss, Shannon and Neil there as spectators and helpers - thanks guys!

Koiled ITT'ers - Brett, Jaman and Rach.... and the TTime Machine.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

training train

I am on it.  Not sure where it is going yet, but I am going somewhere.

The train always runs.  When it is dark.  When it is wet.  I am on the train.

Most times the train has passengers.  Passengers help the trains by providing a reason to run, when the timetable is not enough ya' know!

I like this train because it almost always stops at a cafe to refuel.
Dark, wet, cold, hard sessions with coffee, breakfast and good company.
What's not to love!!! ALL ABOARD!!!!!

*pic shamelessly stolen from Mifflin.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Behind the scenes - Saphora

Not too much has been happening of late... but a UQCC friend of mine launched a cool business aiming to bring some styling chicks cycling gear of her own to market.  I have left all the serious brochure shots out, you'll find them soon enough through Saphora if you are interested - but I do have a great collection of out-takes and generally inappropriate shots which tell the story pretty well.

As part of getting her brand off the ground she organised a photo shoot and rounded a bunch of us up to play bike-related dress ups and to roll for some pictures.  Fun!  What we didn't know was that the sites she had chosen were somewhat challenging.  And by challenging I mean stupidly epic hills.  The first was a nice 15% gradient.  What a good warm up. As we pulled up I realised  three hours on coot-tha was probably not the best preparation but what the hell, I figured pain only hurts.  Even better the plan was not to ride the whole hill but to start off part way down.  Standing starts anyone? We laughed.  A lot.  No idea if any of the shots were good as we were fully consumed with making it!

Glasses on or off?  Whitemans overbite? Mostly it was trying not to stall or tear a leg off.
Since the 15% was presenting some challenges with getting everyone er, relaxed (!) we headed to the next location.  Anne sent the girls ahead on their bikes carefully giving them wrong directions, down another big climb - ooops!  I took the car with Anne's bike and mine, while she ferried the patient photographer, Ben, up to the next vantage point. I was sent on retrieval and I found the girls hauling ass back up the wrong turn and they wisely retrieved their cars and drove up to the next point.  Anne and I stayed parked on the corner and tackled the next hill.   The one she assured me was 'not as bad'.  Not as bad in a car maybe, but definitely WORSE on a bike.  We were both testing our core strength as we laughed and tried to make it up the beauty below.  It was definitely approaching slalom material.
The Approach -Tiny Dot Rach says " that looks steeper to me"  Tiny Dot Anne says "no, it is not as bad"..
The crest - Rach says "for the record, that hit 22% in one bit"... Anne says " hahahhhahahaaa".....
We then attempted a few off the bike shots, though we had limited time before the 'locals' turned up on their dirt bikes and started chucking monos for the ladies in the hot bike kit.  Shocker.

The natives are getting restless.... do we look impressed?
Ok, we now had too many hoons on dirt bikes getting sideways so we moved on to the next location.  This was about as flat as it got - which is to say not really flat at all.   Then we were on the attack through the cutting. Light was fading so off to the last site.

 We attempted some cool pace line shots while record amounts of Sunday afternoon back road traffic appeared!  What are the chances?  Something else to laugh about.
Losing it as Anne tried to pop and spray the mini Moet...... Good times.
Anne then called a wrap and opted to pop the champagne.  She shook it for what seemed to be forever, and after a few false starts because cars drove in between - she tried to spray it.  Did the cork pop? Yep.  Dramatic spray?  Not so much!  Too funny.

That was a fun afternoon.  (and if you are wondering, yep the kit is pretty slick, chamois is great and the extra class touches like a complimentary wash bag are top notch... check it out.)....

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Avanti Classic - Handicapped Road Race

Lined up on Sunday for my first ever road race in a handicapped format.  What can I say other than holy hell, handicap races hurt.  It is fair to say I had no idea what I was in for.  The last road race I did was so sedate that I expected not to even need a warm up - FAIL.

Now I understand why so many people flinch and say they did the Avanti - ONCE.
It is a really weird, chaotic but ultimately honest way of racing if you put aside the whinging about handicaps.  Sure, the winners of the day invariably come from those dark horses who have jagged a generous handicap - but that is all part of the fun!  You effectively end up racing blind, with no idea where you competition is or what they are doing.  This leads to starting hard, going hard in the middle and finishing harder.

Fellow teamie Sean Dench described it as 'a blind date with your start group where you just come together and pedal like hell, and try to hold off the scratch riders'.  He was on the money!

I was lucky enough that I knew one other rider in my group - regular partner in crime Shannon. We always work well together so it was reassuring.  And of course before I started I figured that it would be a cruise and then get fast.  Fool.  I knew there were 12 girls off ahead so I planned to try and tick them off if possible.  Fool again.  It was impossible to count or remember in a VERY short period of time due to extreme HURT.

One lap down - (photo by Jesyn).

We were off at 22mins after the first riders, with 15 mins back to the Elite A boys on scratch.  As our group of 11 or so rolled off it dawned on me the pace was on when I found myself caught out grabbing for harder gears and smashing just to get on the wheel in front.  We were somewhere north of 40 pretty much immediately.  With a super tough handicapped crit (don't ask) in my legs from the day before I was crying and feeling certain of being dropped within the first 5 km.  I was thinking about what the drive home would be like after getting dropped in 5km... it kept me on the wheel. 
Matthew Gallagher another Uni rider (and brother to our great triathlete Jackie) was in our bunch too and helped me get comfortable when he could see I was in trouble early.  We had worked together in the crit the day before and I had earned some points .... good karma!  We quickly shelled 3 riders from the bunch and became the 8 riders that stayed together and took it tantalizingly close to the end.  The roads were rough, but my Mad Fibers and Koiled Ti frame smoothed it out!

Going Hard - (photo by Ben Manson).
Like most I found the climbs between 10km and 18km hard but could hang on.  These were probably the toughest part of the course for Shan.  I think it was here we lost touch with Matthew.  As we did the hills on the second lap I jumped in front to help Shan when a gap opened to help him through.  We got through the first climb and he came back around to lead on the down.  Then on the second climb he was behind a random we had picked up and was so focused on the wheel he didn't notice the gap forming further up the road.  FAIL. Our guys were up the road!  He gave it everything to get up the climb and then did an animal job to get us back on the bunch peaking at around 57km/hr.  I am pretty sure that effort cooked him and I know I would not have gotten back on without it (neither would have the other guy who sat on us).  Thank you animal.

The dead section of road with the slight headwind, slight uphill (wasn't it??) was the worst. It was hard for me just to hold a wheel let alone pull turns but I somehow managed to stay with the group.  I swallowed my pride and missed some turns the way Jacko taught me in this section knowing the group would be faster if I didn't pull a slow turn, and I did not want to get dropped.  Our bunch worked well for a group of complete strangers and everyone was clearly riding their legs off.  It was only when we would catch the occasional straggler who managed to hold on for a bit that the flow got messed up.  Simon from Uni joined us for a bit before he found the pace too hot and drifted off the wheel.

75km to go the scratch bunch caught us.  I think some legs were starting to blow in our little group then, and I focused everything on making sure I got that bunch - every man for himself!  I moved to the outside and made sure I could get into the passing line of riders.  I upped my speed and somehow got myself in.  Shan didn't make it on, probably because of the dam wall bridging effort and a failure to eat anything in the two hours!

money's worth of suffering.

Instant relief.  Not what I was expecting - but suddenly after a 75km TT with 7 riders I was now being towed by a bunch of 70!  I was reunited Simon and several others but was looking to see if I could see any chicks in the bunch.  Couldn't.  What chaos! Coming into town Dave and Simon offered an impromptu lead out... thanks boys!!  We wound it up but as I took the final corner at speed I lost touch with Dave with only myself to blame...  Still at this point I had no idea which girls were where couldn't see any in front but I couldn't see behind me either so I sprinted.

In the end, if I am reading the results right, I finished 3 seconds off the podium in 4th place.... so there must have been a woman right there in the bunch somewhere... Well done ladies!  On pure time I posted the 2nd after our NZ import Emma Ferguson, and did it pretty much all the hard way in a tiny TT bunch.  Extreme Suffering Managed.

Well done to all my Koiled folk - bear, trickle, dave and shan.  100% finish rate, and everyone rode their LEGS off.  Well done boys!!! [now do your job!! ;) ... ]