Thursday, April 17, 2008

My first kermese race

Hi everyone,
Now don't fall over, 2 posts in 1 week, wow!
Anyway whats new......well we had our first kermese the other day in Belgium. It was a 6km circuit race and only 88kms which was pretty nice really. The big news is that our team won, yay! Emma Davies went pretty much from the gun with one other person, who happened to be an aussie and off they went. It was pretty good fun back in the bunch trying to control stuff and not let anything get away, and we were pretty successful. I couldn't believe how many riders they get along to these races, there must have been around 100 riders or more on the start line.

The team also raced the next day and picked up another good placing, top 5 so thats all good news. We have quite a big race coming up this weekend, Ron van Gelderland, which should be interesting. I'm hoping that I'm starting to find some form and have a reasonable race.
Training in and around Tielt winge is pretty good, although still get pretty disorientated most rides that I go out on. The best part is that the sun is shining today and although still cold at least the sun can make you happy.

Marina, my new zealand team mate arrived a couple of days ago, so now we have 2 kiwi accents in the house. Apparently we have pretty strong accents, I had never really given it much thought before but we seemed to get hassled about saying things like the 'rest' which apparently sounds like 'wrist'. Anyway it is nice to have Marina here to hang out with. Our house is getting quite full now as Wendy and Norm from Canada are staying as well. Wendy is trying to qualify for the Olympics in mtb, so hope that we pass on some good vibes to her and her campaign.

Well its off to the race track tonight for some motorpacing action. Zolder is a motorcar racing track but the local cyclists on a tues and thursday go out and do training sessions. This is my first night going but apparently there are several groups of riders, from the fast group to the next group down and so on. I think it will be good for some leg speed and general race pace conditioning. I don't think it is so much a race but people do attack off the front but not sure what happens after that. I'll give you the lowdown once I have had the experience of Zolder.

Well better go have a snack before training

Ciao for now

Friday, April 11, 2008

Its been awhile

Hi everyone,
Thought it was time to actually get around to updating my blog. I will endeavour to do it more regularly, anything can beat the 2 years since the last update - whoopsie!
Anyway I'm currently staying in the team house of Swift racing, located in Tielt winge, Belgium. This is the first time I have really spent anytime in Belg and is quite a change from little wee Limoux. Our wee village is quite wee, in fact it has one bakery (which is fantastic by the way), a Spar store, a bank that combines as a post office and a small belguim local. Still it is very cute and the riding is pretty good round these part, no mountains but nice all the same. I have yet to take heaps of photos but will post them up as soon as I do - hopefully today.
I had my first race last weekend, Flanders. It was a slight shock to the system and din't fair that well, although was pretty amazing to be part of such a famous race. I raced again the following day and felt much better, so hoping that I have started to find my racing legs.
Today its my first Kermese, should be fun. The sun is shining for about the 4th day in a row, so I'm excited by that. Our team is kitted out in pink, with an accompanying pink and white Swift camper, nice! The girls are all super nice and friendly, which certainly helps. Our team bikes are Museeuw bikes, that again have some element of pink in them. I'm kind of hoping that I might be able to meet the famous Mr Museeuw himself.
The training grounds round Tielt are pretty good, still don't quite know my way round be getting there slowly. Have cetainly found some good cafes to have my coffee stop at though. Leuven is only about 15km away, Diese and Aarschot 10km so not so far on the bike.
Anyway looks like we are about to leave for the race so better go, promise to write again soon and let you know how the racing goes today.
Take care everyone

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Toni's European escapades

2007 has been another busy cycling year for Toni. Currently based back at the BikeNZ training base in Limoux in the south of France, Toni is coming into form for a possible ride at the World Champs at the end of September.
In the recent Tour of Bretagne Toni placed 3rd in the opening stage and after slipping to 5th on GC midway through the tour, had a strong showing in the Time Trial, to lift herself back up to 3rd in the overall by the end of the tour.
Toni is currently contesting the Trophee d'Or feminin, one of the last big tours before the World Champs. With this in mind all the top teams are present, using the race as a last minute tune up. NZ has included Jo Kiesanowski in its line-up for this tour. Jo usually rides for her professional team, but they have decided not to contest this tour. Toni is relishing the chance to race alongside someone who is capable of placing high on the stage finishes and assisting Jo towards this goal.
During the 1st stage Jo finished 2nd, so the teams efforts were rewarded. Stage 2 occurred overnight and the text I received from Toni read simply..."wow, was a hard day at the office, I survived!"
I'll attempt to post results as they come to hand, although I can't find any results on the web yet.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Takapuna Crit

Feb 9th
Thrills and spills and full on speed and action. Friday night in Takapuna is already a thriving atmosphere, but on this night some of the countries best cyclists rolled into the main pub strip to provide some entertainment. The weather was great and the crowds came. Not a common scene in NZ cycling, spectators 3 deep around the technical circuit.
With all the stars racing - Sarah Ulmer, Meshy Holt and Linda Villumsen, the pace was frantic.
Toni was on a mission to escape this night, chucking it at them every chance she got. Crit racing isn't really her strong suit, but with her typically aggressive nature, she made life difficult for everyone and came close several times at instigating the winning break.
The photo above was taken when Tone had just lit it up out of the hotdog turn and was stretching out the field. On her wheel - Linda, Sarah & Meshy. The interesting thing about this was that when I showed the photo to Toni, she had no idea what damage she was doing. Maybe she should have taken a look over her shoulder.
In the end it was Marina Duvnyak, who was almost dropped several times, who stole a march on the field in the last lap and rolled in well clear. Marina has done this before but without a consistent high pace, she will continue to do so, such is her finishing speed.
Toni kept the pace high all night and will one day soon, have her day!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Toni back in action for National team in OZ

After a quiet few months recovering from her European campaign, Toni has not been forgotten by the NZ selectors, being chosen for the NZ team representing us in the Jayco Bay Criterium Series in Melbourne. Raced over 5 days with points appointed for top 10 finishes in each race, the Jayco Crits have a reputation of being the fastest crits in the world.

Toni has had very little racing, but equipped with her brand new Genius bike, she is feeling confident of a bold showing.

Toni will return to NZ on the 8th January to finish preperations for the newly formed National Elite Road Championships near Wellington on January 11-13.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Grand Boucle Feminin

After a short but successful trip to Montreal, Canada by Les Pruneaux d'Agen, (which saw Toni gain a solid 26th in the World Cup), Toni was looking forward to getting back to the team base in Limoux for her first actual block of training since leaving NZ. But it wasn't to be, with team directions to pack up and leave immediately for a 5 day tour in Spain. Toni started well in a classy field on day 1, but crashed before finishing the tour and strained a ligament in her knee. This put her out of the race and meant a week off to recover. Although still not fully recovered the break seems to have come at the right time and Toni is feeling her form improving.

This was evident in the next big race of the season La Grand Boucle Feminin. The tour kicked off with a 7.3km time trial, which was either up or down, including some very technical descent. Toni gained an excellent result, placing 5th on the stage, Nicole Cooke winning it.
Day two saw the girls racing 2 stages, 75km and 45km. Tonis team mate got in a break in the morning and won the stage, so Toni just finished with the next group in 11th. Whilst in the afternoon a shortened stage saw an interesting finish. The riders rode in a thunderstorm for the last 10km and the 1km uphill finish came off a wet and slippery descent. Toni was in about 15th with a k to go so I was surprised to see she got up to 6th at the finish. NZ's Jo Kiesasowski won the stage, go Kiwis.
Day 3, 100km, Toni 7th, again making the front group.
Day 4 was the gut buster day that would blow the tour wide open. 115km with the Giant of Provence - Mont Ventoux in the middle. 23km, 1800m of climbing and 39 degrees C. The race didn't finish at the top for the girls, with 50km of high speed descending and crosswinds still to go til the finish. Toni is climbing better than last year and crossed the summit in a small group in 4th place. However on the descent, she lost that group and as a result lost 3mins on them to the finish. Looking at the final GC, she was annoyed with herself because that cost her a certain 3rd on GC.
Day 5 wasn't a walk in the park either, another scorcher, 115km, hilly. Toni placed 11th on the stage to be 7th overall on GC, her consistency really evident. At the same time as looking after her own aspirations she lead her team mate, Zabou, out for several KOM sprints to get her the climbers jersey at the end of the tour.

Nicole Cooke of Wales won the tour, New Zealands other star at the tour was Jo Kiesanowski who finished 10th overall and won a stage.


Monday, May 22, 2006

Toni in France

Immediately after competing with distinction at the Melbourne Commonwealth Games, Toni took a break from cycling to recharge the batteries. This year Toni is taking up a proffesional cycling contract with Les Pruneaux dÁgen cycling team in the south of France. They are sponsored by a distributor of Prunes from the area near Carcasonne. The uniform is a little unflatttering (white with little brown prunes on it), but Toni wears it well.

Soon after arriving Toni and her other kiwi team mate Tammy Boyd, received their new bikes and kit and resumed training for a full-on season ahead.

First big race for the year was the Tour de Láude, one of the biggest womens stage races in the world. 10 days of tough stages in and around the Pyrenees.

Toni rode a very consistent tour with no real bad stages. Her team was lacking firepower with a lack-lustre performance in the opening Teams Time Trial, but after that Toni steadily improved every day to finish 26th overall, 2nd NZer and top finisher from her team.

Today Toni flies out to Montreal to compete in the World Cup there.