by Lauren Kitchen
Now 2013 has definatly began, I have just arrived back to my European home of Breda, in the Netherlands to settle in before a big season really begins in Qatar on the 29th of January!
Last Thursday I competed in the National Criterium titles in Ballarat, it is a great race and one that always brings back some good memories. Without there being many whole teams entered for the event it was tough to consider the tactics of the other riders which lead to a very stop start style of racing that inevitably lead to a bunch sprint where I finished 6th. I was happy with how I rode throughout the race, looking for break opportunities but as I came through the last corner more then ten riders back I knew I was in trouble to make it into the top 5. I was forced to go very early due to my poor positioning but managed to finish 6th, a good hit out for the road race. Congrats to Kimbers for the win, great ride.
Heading into the Road Race I was a little unsure what to expect, I knew I had done alot of base training over the Aussie summer and had the kilometres in the legs as well as the intensity from the recent criteriums but I didnt know how I would handle the tough climb of mount Buningyong seven times. In the past I have always been focused on this event but have never been able to make the selection in the closing laps to really play a part, I was determined to prove myself this year that I could be a threat on a challenging circuit even with no team.
In the race I knew I had to wait for the climb to make the race. The bigger teams such as Greenedge, VIS and Specialized took control of the race and sent riders up the road early, but this breakaway was swallowed up by the bunch when we entered the closing five lap finishing circuit. With two laps to go I was part of the front selection of 17 riders as we headed in the the climb for the second last time. With one to go there was a small break that had established itself hovering at 1minute. The race was blown apart on the last climb and I rode myself into a group of 5 riders that worked together to the finish. I was rolled by Peta Mullens at the finish after hitting out a tad too early into the head wind but was very happy to see I had finished 11th at only 1.19min down on the winner, Gracie Elvin. Although 11th is not a win, it was a big step forward in proving to myself how competitive I can be on this circuit and also showed some promising form ahead of the Spring Classics!
The following day I jetted of to The Netherlands where I was greeted with a snowy drive home from the airport and a maximum temperature of -3 the following day. Over 50 degrees in temperature change in just a few days along with the trip has lead to a few days off and some structured recovery. I am back into it today with the Tacx trainer all setup.
Next up is the Team Presentation taking place in London next Friday on the 25th of January, watch this space for updates and photos of the new team, Wiggle Honda for 2013!