2017 on the bike

It's been a big year in many ways. Here is a quick rundown and review:

January 2018:
Mars Nationals Gran Fondo
Les Mills RPM class in Sydney
Cycling trip to Tour Down Under inc Rapha Women's Ride ADL

February 2018:
Herald Sun Tour Prologue Ride
Cycling/work Trip to Seattle, USA and snowboarding in Canada
Rapha Women's Thursday Rides

March 2018:
Ella Cycling Tips Ladies Ride
Lots of commuting via bike
Rapha Women's Thursday Rides

April 2018:
Memorial Ride for Mike - Indian Pacific Wheel Race
Cycling Trip to Vegas
CVR World CUP - 5th in the WORLD!
Whittlesea Challenge
First KISS Australia-East eCrit Series Races
Rapha Women's Thursday Rides

May 2018:
KISS Australia-East eCrit Series Races
Rapha Giro Transfermento
Thornbury Washboard ride
Horsham Weekend rides
SKCC Women's Annual Ride and Luncheon
Rapha Women's Thursday Rides
June 2018:
KISS Australia-East eCrit Series Races
Rapha Women's 100 training rides
Rapha Women's Thursday Rides
Magnetic Island Trip

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July 2018:
Rapha Women's 100 training rides and ride leader on the day
SKCC Trophy Race
Cycling trip to Perth with Shane and Slane
KISS Australia-East eCrit Series Races
Rapha Women's Thursday Rides

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August 2018:
LamaPaced up Deans Marsh climb with personal best time!
Final Zwift - KISS Australia-East eCrit Series Race (1st overall woman)

September 2018:
Cycling trip to Adelaide with Nik
Fondo Pie Ride
Zwift Academy Rides/Races
Rapha Women's Thursday Rides

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October 2018:

Rapha Women's Thursday Ride
Zwift Academy Rides/RacesMove house to Ballarat
Ride to work Day - Ballarat to Melbourne
Bowral Classic
Crash on Black Hill - first gravel rash :(

November 2018:
Unlock of Zwift level 25 (5277km & 53,700 m climbed indoors)
Fight MND Charity Ride all month long (1538kms)
Bass Coast Challenge
Introduction and first rides with the Ballarat Hummingbirds

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December 2018:
Final Rapha Women's Ride with Nadine <3
First Ballarat Crit on the new surface
Ride to SuperCrit - Ballarat to Melbourne

With 2x USA and Canada trips and 2x Adelaide trips, 1x Perth and 1x Sydney there was a good amount of variety. I met and made some great connections with women from all around the world.
Special mention to Kate V who I rode with at TDU and we met up in L.A. Lindsay G who I met in Vegas and set the next level as SUPERMUM rider inspiration. Anne-Marije who took me out on a massive adventure in Seattle. Nicole M who got me back on the bike and re-motivated after I got sick in August and after my crash at the end of October. Nadine for the weekly Rapha Women's ride that anchored my week and added some social to my week. Shane for towing me, motivating me, sharing the latest bike tech with me plus a few cameo appearances on the YouTube series - LamaDrives.
While my whole year has been less kms than ever before, November was a bigger km count than ever before! It was my first charity ride that I wanted to get involved with and I want to thank ALL of you for the donations and support to keep me going. Last but not least - Thanks to Go Active Outdoors that supports my cycling and keeps Australia in THULE products.

A few hints at what 2018 will bring:

2016 Review on the Bike

Just over 12,000km on the bike for the year of 2016, averaging 1,000km and 40hrs a month on the bike. A different type of riding this year - focus on long kilometres and different structure to training and keeping fit. Included in that is 2,552km indoors on Zwift.

Perth for work
Spectating at the Nationals in Ballarat
Spectating, driving women's TDU convoy - Zwift Academy Announcement!
Organising and celebrating Mum's 70th Bday Party in Ballarat

The Ascent course recon, ambassador work and photoshoot
Work in Canberra 2x and Gold Coast conference
Ride long weekend on Gold Coast
RACV The Ascent training rides

Canberra for work 2x
RACV The Ascent training rides
Easter on Magnetic Island hiking and swimming
Commence Zwift Academy training rides - prep

New Subaru Outback
Canberra for work 2x
Rapha Prestige - Merricks
First ever 100km indoor Zwift ride with Shane
RACV The Ascent training rides
Zwift Academy Rides
Bright Cycling Long Weekend

Zwift week in AU. Events in Sydney, Melbourne
SKCC women's ride event
Canberra for work 2x
RCC Giro Transfermento Ride + Pizza & Beer
Rapha Womens 100 Ride Leader Recon
Zwift Academy Rides

Horsham bunch rides
Canberra for work 2x
Zwift Academy Rides
Cairns Ironman spectator for Kat Lee
Maap Womens Ride
Melbourne Roobaix
Zwift Academy Rides & Live Streaming workouts

Rapha Prestige - Brisbane
Tour de Babes - Farewell Amy!
Rapha Womens 100 - ride leader
Canberra for work 2x
100km metric century indoor Zwift ride
TDF late night watching
Perth Long weekend and rides
Zwift Academy Rides

Sydney for work x2
Cairns for cycling and hiking
Zwift Academy Rides
Darwin rides and Top End Gran Fondo
Falls Creek snow long weekend
Zwift Academy Completes

Wonthaggi Long weekend with Deb
Canberra for work 2x
DZI 100km indoor Zwift ride
Fathers Day ride - first cycle with Dad
Amy's Gran Fondo and Great Ocean Road Long Weekend
RCC Dirty 130 Pilgrimage

Mt Buffalo ride and flood dodging
Around the Bay 210km completed
Canberra for work 2x
Sydney for work
Horsham Bunch Ride
Rapha Prestige - Margaret River and Perth rides

All month in Sydney for work
RCC SYD - Brooklyn, Palm Beach, Wyong

Le Tape at Jindabyne
Sydney for work 2x weeks
Spectate the Ballarat 1/2 Ironman with Fi!
Horsham Bunch ride
Spectate the SKCC Supercrit
Rapha Festive 500

I hope to keep up the momentum in 2017 as the love of the bike - climbing, descending, railing corners, social chats and travelling is still going strong. Try and keep up!

Catch up 2nd half of the 2016

The last few months have been a blur finishing off the Zwift Academy, so here is a recap of the adventures to date.

Shane and I made a secret mission to join 6 of our family members in a stealth mission over to Perth to surprise my sister for her 40th Birthday! Needless to say it was a total surprise, there were tears of joy and we spent the remainder of the weekend with the family catching up and cycling our favourite places.

After we got back from Perth I had a couple of days in Sydney for a work conference, then spent 5 days in Cairns to relax with Hannah, my sister and Stephen Lane (Slane).
The second day we met up with Fi (one of Slane's athletes that he coaches) and took a ride out around the sugar cane.

The third day we went and challenged a local KOM called Copperlode.

The fourth day we went and checked out the gorges/waterfalls and went for a hike. The fifth day we re-visted Copperlode again.

I had one final break in August before a big block of work and booked in a trip to the Northern Territory to coincide with the Top End Grand Fondo. It was super hot and I just missed out on the podium with 4th place, but it was great to visit another place on my bucket list. Last state is Tasmania. Not sure I can fit it in this year, but that would give me the complete set!

I also got talked into doing a crit on a semi-technical circuit. It was steaming hot, but good to get out there again. Finished in the bunch mixed in with C-Grade men so I finished up with a surprise second place.

Work started up again and Shane went to Europe for Eurobike. The next time I touched the bike was for Amy's Gran Fondo. Thanks to Thule and Go Active Outdoors we had entries and new kit to wear.

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Unfortunately the weather turned to drizzle and cold day out so it was pretty miserable through to the great ocean road home. We had the best fish n chips and our housemate Chevonne Arrowsmith won her age category. She did so well!

With the big goal of Around the Bay looming up, I didn't want a repeat day like the gran fondo, so I kept on riding through September and signed up for the first day of the Rapha Transfer ride to Wagga Wagga. We took a train from Melbourne to Seymour then rolled our way to Rutherglen. It was an interesting day as the weather just held out for us.

We had a delayed start with a tree that had fallen down on the train tracks, then flooding in the area meant we may have to re-route, but the police checked that we could get through on our ride. Arriving at a local pub, it was a line-up for the two showers, but with a record 11 ladies completing the 200km day, I was feeling pretty chuffed. Another bucket list item completed - 200kms in one ride.

Unfortunately I got a head cold from riding in the rain from Rutherglen to Beechworth the next day, then cycling up Mt Buffalo into the snow, so I had a few days off the bike before Around the Bay.

The day before the big event, the weather turned quite bad with gale force winds. My team had abandoned the ride and if I was going to do it - it was going to be solo! With the change in plans, I decided to ride to the start and it ended up being a LONG day out jumping from bunch to bunch. I set a new personal best kilometre count with 240km, and set a new Strava QOM record from the Westgate Bride to Queenscliff.

Wind assistance helped for sure as the trip from Frankston to Melbourne City was abysmal and pretty much solo.

Here is the interview that Shane put up on YouTube for Around the Bay.

The next big event was Rapha Prestige Margaret River over the Melbourne Cup long weekend. I was pretty excited for this event after the Brisbane Prestige. Rachel Edwards was keen to come along right from the outset and had sorted out some sweet kit from ZOCA in California. I wanted to get a few local ladies on the team as well, so Erin Kinnealy joined us for the 180kms. Melissa had to pull out in the last week, but signed up Sabine Bird in her place.

We had a great time out and about, though I wished that I had have continued riding after ATB to have a bit more fitness under by belt. Stunning scenery was at every corner, but the weather did not play too nicely with the wind and drizzle setting in for the second half of the day. Totally worth the trip though and many thanks to Subaru for the car.

A little bit of off road
Here is the post ride interview Shane put up on YouTube.

The next day after WA, I was on a flight to Sydney for the next block of work. I left my bike in the bag and re-packed my work gear around it. Now I am training for L'Etape Australia. A mega benefit of joining Rapha cycling club this year has been to keep consistent in riding in a city I don't know.

Sydney is not the easiest place to get around, but with the high pressure I am under for work I am very glad that I brought my bike. Only 12 days to go before the race. Looking forward to doing some new hills!

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Ciao from Margaret River

Zwift Academy Graduation

The virtual confetti has fallen to the ground and I'm kicking around balloons and wondering what to do next...

It was hectic in the final weeks of the Academy. I was so close to finishing, but running out of time to fit it all in around life and holidays I had planed months ago.

There was a little added stress with work throwing in some unplanned travel that meant I was either getting up early or staying up late for the final workouts.

Just to add to the tension, Zwift sent an update out the day before the final workout was due and it changed the naming structure of the workout files, so my last qualifying workout did not auto register. I was trying to stay calm and did not raise a support ticket until the next day - hoping that it would be identified and resolved before I woke up the next morning.

In the end I did it and I was 1 of only 15 women from Australia that completed the qualifying stage. Considering how crazy busy I have been (didn't even have time to write the update blog posts) I am really happy that I completed it and saw a measurable improvement in my fitness.

Thanks to all the women who joined in, did double day work outs, shared their stories online and bad jokes on the Thursday night AEST workouts.

MASSIVE CONGRATULATIONS to the 10 women who were selected to go to the next round. I wish them the very best and will be following their journey onward in the academy.

A little more on the selection process from the panel of expert judges:
Identifying the 10 semi-finalists was a long and comprehensive process that was meant to ensure selection of the most fitting and top performing ZA riders. Starting with the results of the FTP tests, we identified a list of top performers. The first filter we then applied was w/kg which, while not perfect, helped us identify riders who were capable of racing at the World Tour level.
If a rider made it through the first two checks, we then verified the Zwift test performances using various inputs:
* performances on ZA group rides and workouts,
* Strava and TrainingPeaks data (outdoor rides),
* power at HR,
* power sources, etc
Once test results were verified, we dug deeper to get a more complete picture of each athlete. This included extensive research on each contender: race results, Google searches, questionnaires and more. If a rider showed up on the roster of a pro team, they were deemed ineligible as per ZA criteria. In short, we used a combination of objective and subjective screening that we believe left us with a well defined and deserving top 10.

Final indoor training plans released

The final plans for the Zwift Academy have been released! There are 9 new sessions to complete and two main things that strike me when looking at the list:
1. Another FTP test is on the cards
2. There is A LOT of time in the orange and red zones

There is still time to complete all workouts and group rides by the end of August.

Next Steps... Semi-Finals

10 riders who have completed the qualifying program will be selected to advance to the Semi-Finals.
A panel of judges led by 3 accomplished cycling industry professionals (Beth Duryea - Sports Director of CANYON//SRAM, Mike McCarthy - Professional Pursuit World Champion, Jon Sharples - Founder of TrainSharp) will carefully analyse data from the group training rides and Zwift Academy Workouts. Participants’ outdoor rides will also be considered and correlated with indoor performance using data from Strava and TrainingPeaks.

Will you make the cut?
I still have a little work to do!