Tour of Gippsland 29 July - 2cnd August.
Stage 1: It started at Traralgon and finished at Boolara. It started with
20km neutral then the race was on about 500m into the race someone fell in
front of me, I just stopped in time but by the time I got going again there
was a big split in the field and I couldn't get back on and lost almost 4min
on the main group with another 20 to 30 riders.
stage 2: started from Traralgon South and finished at Yarram. I started the stage a long way back in the bunch and when we were about to start the climb I made my way up to the front half of the peleton but getting there tired me out for the climb so I ended up in the second group but on the tricky descent in the wet my confidence was down and lost contact with my group. We also had to go over wooden bridges after the descent I ended up losing 9min on this stage which put me 88th overall for the first day of racing.
stage 3: Trafalgar Criterium around a 950m circuit we did 30 laps my legs weren’t feeling the best and with 143 riders in the race it was going to be tough to get to the front. I tried to but couldn’t and got dropped halfway through the race.
stage 4: Trafalgar to Wahalla. We started with a stretch of road where there was about 20km of crosswinds my legs felt crap and I got dropped in the first 4 to 6km. I kept chasing going in behind the cars when I had the chance after about 6km of chasing I started to close in on the peloton so I pushed harder using every car I could. When they got to a corner they slowed up and then I only had a 100m gap to close with a tailwind and I did that very quickly. The next 10 to 15km was recovery for me and to try and get to the front for the upcoming climbs. The cat 3 and 4 climbs came and I slowly moved around people and by the top of one climb there was only 50 riders left and I was just hanging on. The next climb was steeper than the last and I made my way to the front and then attacked but not long after a Praties rider came after me then so did everyone else. Going into the last 10km riders were making it back to our group after being dropped and suddenly there was 70 riders in front of me. I made my way past a few but not enough before the final climb so I ended up in the second group 17 seconds down. A good result considering the way I felt at the start.
Stage 5: sale criterium 30 laps of 1.2km circuit. this was a fast course but my legs were feeling better and I made my way through the bunch down every straight about half way through the race someone crashed in front of me so I got a lap out which helped me to get to the front of the bunch then I just took it easy until about 6 laps to go I made my way through the bunch as the pace picked up one of the laps I averaged 48.6kmhr just to stay in contact with the bunch but I dropped of with a lap to go.
stage 6: sale to Licola the queen stage of the tour with a cat 1 and 2 climbs in it. It started with 40km of dead flat roads with big crosswinds and head winds early in the stage. Cameron Hughes started a second echelon which I was in we caught up to the 1st group when we turned into the head wind. When we got to the climbs everyone stayed together on the cat 4 and cat 3 climbs while there was a break of 20 riders up the road. When the 2nd category climb the bunch started to split and I couldn't hold the pace and dropped back into the 2nd group behind the chasing group. We got back on after the descent and the front 3 groups plus another couple of riders joined the front group. The start of the cat 1 climb I just went into my rhythm up the climb knowing I couldn't climb at there speed. I passed a lot of riders as they got dropped and went over the climb about 20 to 30 seconds down the group I was with. I chased on the descent and got back on with 5km to go. I finished 23rd and moved up to 54th on GC from being 78th at the start of the day.
Stage 7: Bairnsdale Criterium 30 laps of 1.1km circuit. This day my legs were really sore and couldn't go with the pace of the other riders.
Stage 8: Bairnsdale to Lakes Entrance. I started out just to try and recover over the first few kms and did. I started one climb at the back and had to really push to get to the front up one of the climbs while a lot of riders were getting dropped I got on the the back of the group at the top of the climb and there was a lot of riders behind with only 50 in the front group. A lot of riders made it back. With about 5km to go the crosswinds where really strong at about 50 to 70km/h. We turned a corner with 500m to go and there was a steep climb in front of us at about 15% gradient I made my way up towards the front after being at the back at the start of the climb finishing in 38th 52 seconds down on the winner of the stage who was in the break. Scott Davis won the stage.
Stage 9: Paynesville. Final stage 40 laps of a 1.1 km circuit criterium. My legs were feeling very good I had an attack on the first lap but the pace was high and got brought back. I stayed towards the front narrowly missing a crash by going up a driveway and down a gutter. I then got a hold of Leigh Howards wheel (joining team Columbia HTC next year) and made my way to the front to have another attack but was jumped on straight away and dropped back in the bunch to have a little rest. With 4 laps to go a few riders crashed in front of me and I had no choice but to come of my bike but cause of the crash I got the the same time as the bunch and finished 54th on the GC. Overall a good tour against a really strong field. It is on TV on the 16th of august at 12pm to 1pm. Next up I am in the tour of Geelong which starts next Wednesday. Bye, Brodie.
I'm back home now. I would just like to thank everyone that helped me out with selling chocolates and the club for paying for my international licence.
Not much has happened since the last email.
Been doing some hard training in the hills and I can notice a difference in my
fitness with my resting heart rate dropping. Danny has had no luck in
finding any more races since and it doesn't look like we will. We were
unlucky because there is a Cyclo Sportif on Saturday but I will be back home
then. The Cyclo Sportif over here are very big, with big prize money, pros
used to do them before and won all of the prize money. Anyway will see you
all in the coming weeks before I head of to New Caledonia and hopefully do well
there. Good luck to the riders doing Cootamundra this weekend.
about the delay in emails not much has been going on. There hasn't been
many races in the area of France where are in. Danny is still looking and
contacting people to find any available races. I have been training hard
in the mountains around Le Cheylard. On Tuesday the 5th of August we traveled to
the bottom of Mont Vonteoux in the Rhone Alps region. We stopped 10km outside of
Bedoin which is the bottom of the climb so we could get a warm up before the
climb. I started out at a comfortable pace because the last 2 major climbs I did
I put myself into the red zone early in the climb and slowed down a lot in the
middle section. But this time I gradually increased my effort for the
steeper section which is from the 4th km. The climb had an average
gradient of 9% for about 6km, then when we came out of the trees with 6km to go
the landscape changes completely to a moon like landscape. There is
a sign with 6km to go at an average gradient of 7.5% so I accelerated out of a
hairpin and tried to finish it in 18 min but couldn't hold the tempo. The
last km was 9.5% so the pace came down a little but put on a good smile for the
photographers as I rode past them. They gave me a card to have a look at
the photos online. That day showed me my endurance and strength has
improved greatly. We then descended down the other side into Malucene where we
had lunch. A couple days later I got a sore throat from Ben and became a
little sick. But with a couple of days rest I have still done a hard week
of training and back stronger and lost no fitness. I will send another email
next week before I come home, and if I raced it, will have how I went.
Otherwise I will see you in less then 2 weeks.
another race called the 'Grand Prix Cycliste de Longes', it was 8 laps of a 12km
curcuit making it a 96km road race. The start was going to be very fast
and unluckily for me and Ben we only registered on the day so we had to start at
the back of the bunch because you go up to the line in number order. As
soon as the neutral section was over there were attacks going up the road.
Because I had started at the back of the 120 rider field I got stuck behind
slower riders and due to the pace being so high I was on my limit for the first
lap. Very shortly into the second lap a group of riders gave up in front
of me which made me lose contact with the bunch. I chased hard for a
couple of km but I only managed to get to within 50m of them but couldn't get
any closer so I formed a group with a couple of other riders and swapped off
turns with them for the next couple of laps. Around lap 3 I started to
recover from the first lap and was doing more in the group and just using it as
a training ride. Then on the 6th lap a couple of the French riders were
getting angry at me for the pace I was setting up the hill, so I sat up and let
them set the pace up the hill. A rider attacked so I steadily went to the
front to gradually pulled him back but they didn't like that again and when we
got to the line they had a sprint and I found out that it was a sprint prime for
our group. The next lap I originally thought was the last lap, so I put an
effort in to pull back the guy that attacked us last to try and get him before
the finish, but when I got to the finish I found out I had another lap to go.
It was the worst feeling because I was riding on the limit to catch that rider
and finish that I put myself into the red zone but luckily a couple of riders
weren't far behind and we rode together and caught the group in front and I
ended up finishing with that group. I'm not sure were I came cause they
only put the results down to 21st but
next time we are going to try and enter before we get there so we have a chance in the race. I will let you know when I am racing next and I will send you another email.
Just did my second race, it was a 70 lap criterium around a 1.4km circuit. The category was one up from the race we did on the Sunday and was national and elite riders in what is Cat 1. It all started really in the second lap I managed to get myself off the front with a couple of other riders and we had a little break on the bunch. We got to contest the first prime on the 4th lap, but unfortunately I got 4th and they only paid till 3rd. Not long after that we got pulled back into the bunch and another rider went so I jumped onto his wheel. There was another little gap on the field but by the time I got to the front no one came through for a turn and I went back to the bunch which now I think was in 2. I decided to just sit in for a few laps to get my breath back. While I was doing that it started to rain a bit which made 2 of the corners very slippery and a couple of people were leaving gaps which caused a group of 6 to get away and open up a gap which put them out sight due how dark it was getting. Around the back straights you could barley see the riders in front, luckily we had white numbers on so we could see where a rider was. About 25- 30 laps into it 2 riders in front of me started to leave 30m gaps which took a lot out of me to get back on the bunch. Then I started to get a little worried around the bottom corner because going out the corner I started accelerating too early and my wheel slipped out and in a couple of laps I ended up getting lapped by the break so I thought I had to pull out. After I pulled out I found out you could keep going around to try and get primes which were on every couple of laps. I think this race has giving me better understanding on how to ride the crits around Europe and I feel the next one I should be able to either pick up a few primes or even get a place. I might also be racing on Sunday again so I will send another email after that.
Just had my first European race ! First lap was a 40km loop, reasonably flat with 1climb of 1km. Then we did 5 circuits of a 14km lap which had a brute hill in it at 6.5% avg gradient and in some places reaching 13% gradient with it being all down hill to the finishing town of St Vallier were you had to navigate around tight and twisty streets till you get to the finishing line in the middle of the town. When we got to St Vallier me and Ben went and signed on. When we got to the start line we saw a lot of teams with the same bikes and riders from a development squad of AG2R. We rolled out of town to the starting line were we wait for the commissaries to start the race. He counted down and we were off straight away, there was an attack and I was straight on his wheel waiting to see if we were clear before moving through, but we were clear with 15 riders of the 70 starters. We got ourselves into a rhythm swapping off turns around the 40 km loop we may of dropped 2 or 3 riders but not sure. Going into town knowing that it was tight and twisty I accelerated on the front to get clear and out of any trouble and out of the tight and twisty section there was one rider on my wheel, he was one of the riders from AG2R, as we went through the finish line. We started the first circuit going straight up the vicious climb and straight away riders were dropping off. There was only about 5 riders still on while me, the guy from AG2R and another swapped off turns, the way we were climbing reminded me what happens in the big mountain stages of the tour. We got to about 500m from the top and there was just the 3 of us the I got put into difficulty and had to drop of to try and recover and hopefully pick them back up. After the top was the sprint prime and then it continued to climb up and I decided to wait for the rider that caught me at the top, which one of his team mates, was just behind so on the descent I went in the draft of the two team mates. On one of the corners I locked up my brakes and thought I was going over the edge but I managed to keep control. When we started the hill for the second time it wasn't long before the two other riders dropped off the back of me but because I knew that they were better descenders than me I went on ahead. At one of the hairpin bends going up I saw another rider coming so I tried a little bit harder to get on his wheel but my legs dint want to go. On the descent I was caught by one of the riders I rode with the last lap and rode into town with him. I quickly dropped him again but this time there was another group coming through I tried to get on but my legs wouldn't let me so I rode up at my own pace just trying to stay in the top 20 the last 2laps. I had nothing left, the heat had got me and the climb felt like 20%. I got onto anybody's wheel I could but couldn't hold on up the hill I ended up getting caught by Bens group. The last time up the hill I would've stayed there but some guy decided to attack and I couldn't go with it. I ended in 28th, 1 place behind Ben. Considering how on the last two laps I was by my self I managed to finish the hardest race I have done. It was a good learning curve on where I am at and where I will be in 6 weeks because with that type of racing my fitness will increase a lot. Should put me in good form for New Caledonia where I hope to either earn the yellow jersey for my self or help my teammates get the yellow jersey. The winner of the race was the rider from AG2R who is on my wheel in one of the photos.
everyone from Le Cheylard, France.
The flight was awesome from Sydney to Singapore cause we were on the the new airbus a380. The first week has been very exciting with first couple of days riding around the village and riding one very steep hill which was 8% gradient over 8km with the first 4km avg 15% gradient. Then on Tuesday we set of in a bus to the heart of the alps where we started the climb of the Col de Glandon, which if you can remember is where Floyd Landis lost a lot of time the day before he got caught cheating with synthetic testosterone. The climb was 20km at 7% average gradient which it took me 1hr 19min36sec to climb which I consider the toughest I have climbed so far. We then rode down the the mountain from the top of the Croix de Foir because the two climbs are on the same mountain. The Croix de Foir is the climb they did of the stage of the Alp de Heuz. We went down the descent and to were we were staying for the next couple of days in Vif. The next day me and couple of other riders rode out to Bourg de Oisans early in the morning and got lost but luckily we managed to figure that out before we went any further the wrong way. When we got there the bus had our food and drinks to take us up Alp de Huez to find a good spot to watch the race from. It was a long and hot day waiting for the caravan to come which is a bunch of cars giving out free stuff, then not long after the first rider came through and it was Carlos Sastre and everyone went crazy then a little while longer all the favorites came past with Cadel Evans giving his all to reduce the gap with Andy and Frank Schleck on his wheel. The next day we were all going to ride to the start of the next stage at Bourg de Oisans but we thought the roads closed a bit later. So we had to walk alot of the way but we still didn't make it to the start so we watched down the road were I got a good photo of Fabien Cancellara on the front of the peloton. We then made it the rest of the way to Bourg de Oisans were we met the guy that Danny has contacts with to race in France. Then me and Ben Dyball set off up Alp de Huez to do a timed effort. Ben is the other rider who is over here to race. In the timed effort it was 31 degrees and it was magnified by the rocks, we got to 3km from the top and had to go a different way cause they were still cleaning up from the day before. We then descended back to town and had lunch and rode back to Vif to have a shower and get back on the bus back to Le Cheylard. Today we found out that we might be doing a race this Sunday down the road will let you know how i go. Steve the tights have been helping heaps after rides and on the plane thanks for them.