I’m currently in Halden waiting for the Ladies Tour of Norway stage 2 to start. It is overcast but the town has been glowing, fireworks lit up the sky last night and the prime minister of Norway showed up for the start of stage 1 of the UCI World Women’s Tour event.
This road season has been a really enjoyable journey.
I finished off my track season in Hong Kong with a silver (Team Pursuit) and bronze (Madison with Amy Cure a classic where I spent a lot of the race laying on the boards). I was so proud yet disappointed that things hadn’t gone quite to plan and the journey for the rainbows continues.
I switched my focus to the road after 10 days off the bike. I like to go ‘off grid’ in my down time so I ventured out to my grandparents farm, before I started to rebuild my road fitness.
Two weeks later I was on a plane back to Shanghai, China to race my first Women’s World Tour race of the season. Luckily the Tour of Chongming Island wasn’t too physically draining as I certainly wasn’t at the level of fitness I needed to be and from the team perspective we did well Sarah (Roy) finishing 3rd in stage 1 and 4th overall.
From Shanghai we flew directly to Spain to join the rest of our Orica Scott family for training camp. What a stunning place to go to work. However I spent that week of camp dragging myself around trying to keep up with the girls.
The first few races in Europe were tough. I was really struggling in the back end, but I was surprisingly a lot more confident in the bunch and was able to contribute in playing the game. It was really encouraging and exciting watching the team snatch up a few wins and podiums. After a month I started getting some form and I was really happy with how I was tracking.
My highlight of the season came the day Roy got away with a small group on stage 4 of the Tour of Britain and won! We were all having a rough day but somehow it turned into our favour. With Roy away I was given an opportunity to sprint in the bunch for the first time. The girls immediately backed me when the instruction came from our DS Marv. I was shocked at first. But with some encouraging words from Nelle (Jenelle Crooks) and Gracie (Elvin) I was ready. Gracie took me into a perfect position and I sprinted to 7th overall (4th in the bunch) and I was stoked. As I crossed the line I saw Roy hobbling along and I wasn’t sure if she had won or not. Turns out she had! You can read more about how that happened here. It was a day I will definitely cherish for a long time!
The next plan was to go into a training block but instead I found myself in the Giro Rosa. That was another challenge all together, but the experience was awesome and I am very grateful for the opportunity to have raced it. As a team we had many highs and lows but we got through it and came out a stronger team for it. My creek swimming teammate Vluety (Annemiek Van Vluten) was an inspiration winning two stages and finishing 3rd overall and Spratty (Amanda Spratt) finished 5th overall!
The tour of Norway is my last race of the road season and what a stunningly beautiful place to finish, a lot has happened since the year started in Buninyong, Victoria for road nationals. As a team we have had a great year. I’ve gotten through a lot of mental barriers this season, making big improvements since I first came to Europe in 2015. I still have a long way to go but i’m loving the racing and it’s nice to be able to notice some progression over the past couple of years.