Stanwell Tops, Australia, December 12, 2005
I could hardly sleep last night with the excitement. The opening of the bridge yesterday was something as a local that I had really been looking forward to! Unfortunately cyclists were not allowed on the bridge yesterday due to the 10,000 pedestrians who had won the privilege of walking the marvel.
My alarm was set for 4.30am this morning and I was out the door for my training ride before 5. I headed down Bald Hill and straight to the bridge. My heart rate was increasing rapidly. I really wanted to be the first local to ride the bridge! I felt such a rush as I rolled onto the bridge at Coal Cliff, the sun was rising, the sky looked beautiful and the temperature was just perfect!
This piece of road is going to be my motivation to do the 'Gong ride this summer. It's a ride the NSW and Australian Institute of Sport boys do every Wednesday. Occasionally, we ladies attempt the ride with them but often fear not being able to stay with the bunch on the way home! The ride departs from Sutherland at 7 or 8am and will now take the new route through Stanwell Park and across the Sea Cliff Bridge to Wollongong. The hill training on the way home had previously included Bulli Pass or Mt Keira, but it is most likely that we will now return via the Sea Cliff bridge and continue through the National Park to Sutherland for the extra hill training. No doubt we will organise a sprint finish at the south end of the bridge to incorporate into our training ride. The road surface on the bridge is very smooth and will encourage us to start racing. It's slightly up hill heading south and will make a perfect mid-ride effort.
The past couple of years due to the road closure, I developed the habit of heading north for my training rides (from my home at Stanwell Tops). I'd head into the National Park or out to the expressway. With the new Bridge now open, I will do most of my preparation for the Commonwealth Games on the roads between Stanwell Tops and Jamberoo.
This Sunday I will be attending a promotional ride with Mike Tomalaris and the SBS crew, which will commence at Sutherland and finish in Jamberoo. The ride will be aired on SBS and feature the new Sea Cliff Bridge.
I am on a high after cruising up and down on the bridge this morning; I really do live in one of the greatest parts of the world for an elite cyclist...I could not wish for a nicer place to do my training!
I can't wait until my European team mates come out to Australia in February. I'm looking forward to showing off our beautiful area on some long training rides.