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.

A photo posted by Von Micich (@v0nm) on

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!

A photo posted by Von Micich (@v0nm) on

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!

2016 Rapha Womens 100

It was a cold dark morning in Melbourne as I rolled out from home to the start at All Press Cafe in Collingwood.

Photo: Dean Tran

Nadine from Rapha Australia had organised coffee for the ride leaders to start and we signed our waivers and were briefed on the details for the day. 8 groups of approximately 12 riders were lining up for the challenging 100km course, but the focus was on fun.

A photo posted by Nadine O'Connor (@oconnorn) on

As the first group to roll out, there was just enough time for Mary Hall (my fellow group leader) and I to gather the troops and brief them on the first part of the ride.

Over the icy bridge off the Kew Boulevard and out through Ivanhoe. It was nice to meet and introduce a new group of riders to the backroads out towards Kangaroo Ground. First challenge was the Mount Pleasant route which was familiar to a few locals.

Photo: Dean Tran
The route was pretty lumpy and consistency was important. The second challenge was descending down Pidgeon Bank Road and climbing up the other side. It feels like the edge of the world, but at least the road is pretty straight and you can use the momentum to carry you part-way up the next face. This was a real wall for a few in my group, one stopped on the descent and had to walk down (while other groups passed us at +70kmph) I turned back to check on her and we rode the last part up together.

Another lady who had made it down and walked/climbed up Pidgeon Bank Road AND all the rolling hills after that was in tears by the rest point. It is a massive undertaking as a new rider to use all the skills, concentration and fitness to complete that section! Big Kudos to all ladies who joined us on the day.

H-Van and me all rugged up at the middle of the ride
The last section was a nice gravel section to the half-way point at Sugar Loaf Reservoir. After a coffee, a bathroom stop, some sugar and hydration all bar one rider had accepted the challenge to continue on to the 50km home.

Photo: Dean Tran

As we rolled in it was a lovely sight to see all the bikes lined up and tables full of ladies milling about to share stories. I piled up my plate with sandwiches and Kirsten poured me a champagne. What a day :)

I didn't eat ALL the food
The ride leaders lingered on a little longer, nibbling on the last parts of chocolate brownies and having one more coffee for the road. I managed to fit a couple of brownies in my pocket to snack on while watching Le Tour de France later that evening and dreaming of the warmer days to come.