Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Evolution is inevitable

The final touches to my website are being added, so I am now taking the plunge and continuing my blog there. The address is: http://www.davinasummers.com/ and I have named the tab for my blog "my cycling life". You will need to re-register with feeder if you want to be emailed when new updates are added.
Thank you for reading and supporting my journey through cycling-land.
On a final note (how cool is this...a whole cycling article on me): http://www.cyclesportnews.com/aus/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2031&Itemid=48
And...I finished 2nd overall on the NRS http://www.cycling.org.au/?page=17813&format=

Monday, September 22, 2008

All these people in the race, there is only going to be one winner, do you want it more than everyone else?

NRS- Celtic Country Classic de Femme, Northern NSW – 96kms
Glen Innes to Inverell (via Elsmore Loop)
(The women’s race of the Grafton to Inverell)

1. Davina Summers (Fleet Cycles/Plan B)
2. Kirsty Braun (MB Cycles)
3. Jodie Willett (Virgin Blue Cycling)
4. Leonie Burford (Illawarra CC); with a FAB lead-out
5. Carly Hibberd (MB Cycles)
finishing times

The weather was beautiful for today’s race, the sun was shining, some were saying it was hot, but I love racing in the heat. There was headwind, but no rain so I was not complaining. I felt better than yesterday, not FAB still, but I had come to the race with what I had. At sign-on our bikes were fitted with the timing transponders, and we were informed that Chloe Hoskings (ACT) had scratched (it was cited that she was focusing on training post Junior World Championships).

The neutral peleton was lead through town in a show lap for the locals, which was great. Some of local women were kitted up nicely in the Inverell Cycles kit and were very welcoming. With a relatively small field of just under 30, there were riders from all over the country for the final NRS race. The pace was steady through the undulations, as expected there were attacks on the QOM climbs, Leonie had a good solo attack about half way through the race and stayed away for a bit prior to the final QOM. The whole bunch missed the spot sprint, except Miffy Galloway (who won it), we were all wondering what she was doing and realized as we crossed the flag and line. The 2nd sprint held a great deal of prestige with the winning of the sapphire from a local family in memory of their son (I found this out at presentation) Kirsty Braun won this.

After completion of the Elsmore Loop and over the final hill, the remaining kms were all downhill. By this stage we all knew it would come down to a bunch sprint, with 13 women left in the front bunch. As expected, MB Cycles teamed up pretty well for the finish. A massive thank you to Leonie Burford (Illawarra CC) for leading me out for the finish. No act of kindness is ever wasted on me and in this wonderful team sport of road cycling, the favour will be returned. Anyhow, back to the race…I kicked and was now pedal for pedal with Kirsty, with the line approaching. I was just in the lead, to make sure I threw on the line. I have been well advised not to celebrate or ease up until it is all over. Not that I am a victory salute kinda girl anyway. I usually just smile. Again, I love getting my name and photo in cyclingnews

The local race radio coverage was a nice touch that allowed support people and the race audience a chance to follow the race, we could hear how the men were traveling before and after our race over the loud speakers.

The presentation dinner was a good feed, that could not come quick enough. We sat on the “WA table” with Chris Thompson (CWA CEO, and 2nd place getting in Division 2), Megan Harrison (CWA Program Co-ordinator), Brendon Nichols (Aussie Crates), Jody Lenson (CWA), and the Michaels. At the end of the presentation dinner, Carly Hibberd was presented with the overall NRS winner jersey. It was a little disappointing that most of the audience had left with the end of the night being announced prior. Winning the 2008 Women’s NRS series jersey is a prestigious achievement, in my opinion it should have been one of the premier presentations of the evening.

In line with the Team Summers/NAM&S Financial support I have received to enter/transport and lodge for this event, we stayed in another quality hotel in Inverell. What you pay for is what you get, Andrew reminded me. The Glen Innes hotel at least had shower taps that matched and no mould on the roof, the hwy noise had been replaced with the bass from the band next door at the local pub. You get the idea. The commentary on the motels is more for comical value and I could have slept in the car for all I cared after my pleasing result.

A special thank you to Fleet Perth for arranging a Polar display unit for me to be able to see race distance today (it was very helpful). Pretty good work by the Event Managers (pictured here), hope to see them again next year.

There is nothing to fear, but fear itself (someone important).

‘T was the night before race day, registration was done, bike was ready and the rider was feeling uneasy. I have been here before and just have to remember that I don’t travel well (mental note: this is the last time I am catching a midnight flight to race anywhere, I don’t care how much cheaper it is…my body hates me for days afterwards). I am stretching, resting and doing everything right to feel good for the race, remembering to have faith in my training.

One of my road cycling aims for 2008 was to place in the top 3 of the NRS. I have come to this event to protect my current third placing. The standings are currently (and don’t ask me how they work out the points, I am still waiting for a reply from Cycling Australia):
1. Carly Hibberd (MB Cycles) 684 points
2. Bridie O’Donnell (AIS) 510 points
3. Davina Summers (Fleet Cycles/Plan B)441 points
4. Carlee Taylor (SASI) 380 points
5. Kirsty Braun (MB Cycles) 335 points
I need to note also:
7. Chloe Hoskings (ACT) 245 points

Winning the race would be the best outcome, but securing the points over other riders is the reason I am here.

Today we drove/rode over the course to ensure I was familiar with it. The overall gradient is downhill, but there is consistent undulations (I would call them hills, others may not). I struggled to ride with lots of aeroplane in my legs. Luke saw an echidna and mooed at the big cows.

We have been sitting on the edge of our seats like some sort of thriller movie, watching the stock markets. It was great to hear the Australian market rallied back up again today- I would not like to be retiring in the next few weeks.

The drive from Brisbane was largely uneventful, I managed to sleep in the car for one of the first times in my life. We did get caught up in Brisbane peak hour traffic and a cattle crossing however. My instructions for the accommodation were “cheap cheap”. Over the last 12 months I have discovered that being a ‘financially struggling’ cyclist has resulted in a re-adjustment of my princessness. I once had an attitude of “work hard to have nice things” but women’s elite cycling goes against this (in my experience anyway, or I perhaps I have not yet worked hard enough). Luke couldn’t believe that I was pleased with our 3-star accommodation as it smelt nice and was clean. That was all I need to race my bike.

Goodnight xx

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

If it is to be, it is up to me

I have 30 minutes before we are off to the airport and thought I might let you know what I am up to. Tonight Luke and I are flying to Brisbane, then driving for about 6 hours or so to get to Glen Innes, northern NSW. It is a romantic getaway, with a cycling twist- the final women’s NRS race for the 2008 winter season. I have made these events a priority this year and supported the series as best I can. Being a good wife, I packed up Luke’s bike this arvo so he can also get some riding in, in preparation for some more SPR group rides.

The race: Celtic Country Classic de Femme which is effectively Glen Innes to Inverell (via Elsmore Loop)- 95km. There are some other competitors from WA going, but no women. The men are racing a longer course and commencing in Grafton. We will see them at presentations.

The current start list looks pretty good, with some good riders having a hit out. The consistently strong MB Cycles girls, Leonie Burford and her team mates racing under Team Kinselas, Myfanwy Galloway and Chloe Hoskings.

In an effort to pack more bikes into my house, Steve has loaned me his BMX bike for a little while. I will need to see just how BMX fits in with my current training program, but I am quite excited to get back into some sprint BMX efforts and get better at jumps.

Goodluck to everyone racing the State Team Time Trial this weekend, I hear of another women’s team that will be quite strong, should be good clean fun.

I just got the ‘5 minutes honey’ call, so have to catch my plane…

Sunday, September 14, 2008

“Welcome sports fans” (Art T-town velo announcer)

Cyclosportif 108km- A distance
Macquarie Bank Sur le Rivet a York Grand Fondo
Plan B Team event- York, WA

Registration was great, there was heap of riders (and their supporters) that I had not seen for ages…of course I had to stop and say hello. We parked up next to Paulie (whom I have been in many a Cyclo team with) and Brad (elite triathlete). I was waiting for one of the team members to locate me to give out the final timing transponder and race number so my warm-up was non-existent. As Cyclosportif is a participation event, warm-up is not usually required so I was not that worried. We hustled to the start line and before we knew it were off.

As the racing was effectively a handicap race, but with the ‘glory’ (it is not a race remember) going to the fastest team time using the transponders, not necessarily the first across the line. I expected that we would ride it as a handicap, working the combined 5 teams together, rolling it over. I could not have been more wrong. I became worried about not warming up around 30 seconds into the start when about 10 of the guys smashed it off the front right from the word go. Pleasingly both Neil and Duane were in there, but the team time was going to go on the top 3 times, so one of us Ladies needed to have a go to bridge and get across. As I started to go, Neil came back for us. I jumped on his wheel and he towed me up to the front group.

The front group (from our start time of 9:55am) was catching teams in front and collecting riders that could stay on the wheels. As it was a Grand Fondo, there was no necessity to stay with your team. Some teams chose to ride together, others were out for a ‘race’. I stayed with this group for about 40kms, doing what I needed to, the wind made it very hard, and against the men I was not strong enough to stay with them for any longer.

I dropped back to the group of about 50 who had been sitting on our ‘front group’. We picked up Bobby Barnes along the way for a bit. I would like to credit the Elite Racing Cycles Team (K) for keeping this group together and keeping the pace high and consistent…until the crash. Around 90kms in we were single-file overtaking three riders who were on the inside. I felt someone clip my rear wheel and then heard that terrible noise. This obviously splintered our group. With some riders still going, some slowing to make sure everyone was okay and others stopping to help (or were on the ground).

This was about the time that I was starting to feel my extra training from yesterday and didn’t have a great deal left in the tank. I knew that I was still the third rider for our team so did what I could to get to the finish as fast as I could. But I will guess (without my polar as it getting a new battery) that I was not very fast solo into the wind at this point. The timing mats could not come fast enough and I was very glad to get off my bike for the day.

Yummy lunch was served in the usual fashion (see photo), feeding a massive 660 bike riders and their support is no small feat itself, but pulling it off so we are not all waiting in line and have a seat to sit on, was impressive. It was good to have a chat to Neil Manning (Plan B Racing Team rider) whom I have not met before, and some of the Plan B Corporate Team riders. Hamish (who took Ryan on for last week’s SPR Saturday Sprint) was riding for them.

The gang (Bec, Anna, Brett, Steve and I- pictured here) had a bit of a catch-up before the journey back home.

And for the rest of the non-cycling world, we finally have a decision with the WA state election. We got there in the end.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

The decisions, outcomes and achievements of today, affect tomorrow. There is no clean slate.

The week in summary: too many hours on the bike left little time to plan and organize. Base kms, base kms, base kms…just ticking them over. Thankfully I have had plenty to daydream about this week. It has kept my mind off not drinking diet coke (for the most part) anyway.

Luke and I are going away next week to NSW (for the final women’s NRS race of the year- Celtic Country Classic de Femme). This 95km race is from Glen Innes to Inverall via Elsmore Loop. It will be a nice chance for us to spend some quality time together.

This weekend our Plan B Team is entered into the Cyclosportif Grand Fondo- 108kms. Bec H will pick me up extra early in the morning for the drive to York. She is racing in a team with Anna, Brett and Steve. With 640 riders total entered into the event, just finding my team mates will be interesting. Plan B team will have: Neil Manning, Duane Johansen, John Dunlop, Davina Summers, Josie Tomic and Sarah Kent. I love Cyclo events as there is so much bike candy everywhere.

I tried some dry needling with my massage this week. It was an interesting experience (see the attached photo). I didn’t have any spots that are so tight it was required, but in preparation for this time, Patsie (Subiaco Sports Massage) was good enough to entertain my curiosity. The needles are hard to see in the photo, but it was a little bit freaky. Nothing about my tan lines or chunky legs.

Today the Plan B girls went motorpacing with Darryl. I was up for extra kms so took the windy option down the coast to Fremantle. In total 7.5 hours that I was on the bike I got rained on about 5 times. But the good thing about the tragic weather is the lack of people out and about. I got most of the bike path to myself and there was little traffic on the road. The tail wind was awesome and...well the head wind will only make me stronger.

Fleet Cycles have arranged for me to try some new pedals that some of the girls in the USA were raving about. The (new version) of Speedplay pedals/cleats. I wanted to try them as you can clip in on either side of the pedal, which is faster. The girls with Speedplay pedals in the USA were the ones going from the gun in the Criteriums. I had to spend the first few laps just making it back to the front if I didn’t clip straight in. I will have them on my bike next week and will let you know if they are all that they say they are.

On a final note, because of the interest shown in my blog I have decided to set up a website. Currently it is half-functional and the address is: http://www.davinasummers.com/ If you have time to take a look and let me know what you think or have any suggestions. A very special thank you for the help in getting this set-up.

Til next time- ride lots.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Bonkfest and beyond

Sunday 7th September- SPR Hills ride

A reasonable turn out for the Fathers’ Day ride, pleasing to also see quite a few of these were women. I was not overly excited as it is still a little cold in the mornings (I would much prefer to ride in the sweltering heat than the cold) and we had ridden about an hour from home to get to the start. Luke joined me today for the first bit of the ride, which was very ‘cute couple’ for us to go riding together. I was planning a big day, I needed to take it steady.

All was good until we got to the base of Greenmount and Luke had decided that he had ridden far enough before work and turned around. A few hills later we lost a few of the women, then the crash. A few of the guys in front of me went down, the crash was happening in slow-motion and it was like…is this really happening? All were okay minus some lost skin, a broken rear derailleur and the usual bike scrapes.

We all got back to it and it was about this time that I was starting to feel “the bonk”. I had eaten my usual breakfast, but have changed my diet slightly and was certainly feeling the affects of limited liver glycogen levels. I reached into my pocket for my snack bar and managed to get it down whilst waving the guys on, telling them I would meet them in Kalamunda…when I got there. So in the throes of my bonk, desperate for food; coke (full strength) and a chicken sandwich came to my rescue.

After a little rest at the coffee shop I was as good as new and ready for my favourite part of the hills ride, the descent. We were smashing it down Welshpool and then continued pushing it once on the flat. Back at South Perth, I was feeling pretty good (although a little cautious to avoid the nasty sequel ‘return of the bonk’). I stuck to my original plan to have a big day and tagged along with Steve and Brendon as they did a lap around the river before heading back north to home. Just over 170kms for the day- nice.

My training focus for the moment is base road kms, so my speed work will be a little ordinary (and is for the record), but it will hopefully pay off in the summer- when it counts.

For anyone interested in inquiring about Altitude training- please send Andrew Ivey an email on: andrew@elitesportz.com.au

Ciao ciao xx