Australian Open Road Championships - CN, Australia, January 12-15, 2005
Race 4 - January 14: Women's Road Race, 104km
I am currently sitting in the Gloria Jeans at Melbourne Airport. It is 6.45am the morning after the road race in Echunga and having hailed a cab 5.30am to catch my 6.45am flight to Newcastle that apparently doesn't leave until 8.30, I am slightly bleary eyed and very annoyed. The quality of the coffee isn't helping my demeanour, nor is the memory of my dismal performance yesterday. But it is all part of a bigger picture, isn't it?
The numbers the Queenslanders had in the race yesterday and the professional way they rode the race is a credit to them. They were the only state prepared to lay it on the line and make the race aggressive. They were also the only team who clearly had a plan - and riders who were very prepared to play the team game. Oenone and I were really behind the eight ball with only one of us being fit and only having the two of us chase what seemed like countless Queensland attacks.
Lorian Graham capitalised on the numbers advantage and rode away in the last lap. Unfortunately I wasn't even there to witness this, but according to my room mate, Nat Bates, Oenone chased numerous attacks on her own in the last couple of laps (including one from Nat) and had nothing left in the finish to go after Lorian. Sara Carrigan led out a relatively large group to claim silver and Briget Evans scored the bronze.
The Echunga course took its toll on the whole field after only one lap and though the hill isn't as long as the one on the Buninyong course, it was steep and the second half of it was excruciating. There were plenty of good spots to attack and it is very easy to get out of sight quickly. With the Echunga community getting right behind the racing, in true Adelaide style, it is a great place to race and a fair course that will hopefully encourage some aggressive and exciting racing in the next couple of years.
So a disappointing day for Nurnberger and especially for this little black duck. I haven't seen the rear end of a bike race so early in a long time and I am pretty annoyed with myself for not being there longer to do the chasing for my team mate. But there is only so much this set of heart and lungs can handle at the moment and it is nothing short of frustrating. HOWEVER, a few mentors (namely Anna Millward, Naomi Williams and Liz Tadich) dispelled a lot of self doubt last night over a few wines. It is only early and I do have bigger fish to fry... I believe this, I do...
For domestic women's cycling, I think the lesson in yesterday is that winning road races requires either a touch of the smarts or a strong team or both. It also requires some form - something I am going home to try and find.
Well done, Lorian. A deserved win for Queensland.