Monday, January 12, 2009

Australian National Championship & Columbia Pro Kit in the Tour Down Under

Lots happening at the moment, mostly very, very exciting.

In Australia, we have just crowned a few national champions in what seems to have been amazing hard racing at all levels and the two disciplines. I am not going to write any race report as I wasn't there but I will mention a few things that I gathered.
First, the double gold by Carla Ryan, a great effort. No wonder she has a contract with pro team Cervelo Test Team. In the ITT Alex Rhodes finished just over .5 of a second behind Ryan and Kathryn Watt, a forty-something y.o., came third. Another highlight was Sunshine Coast rider, Shara Gillow, taking 8th best time and a silver in the U23 category.

Happy Carla Ryan crosses the line

In the Men's ITT, Adam Hansen failed to deliver his promise of a double and came 11th to Michael Rogers gold at an amazing 47 plus km/h. Second place was Cameron Meyer, .06 sec behind.

The Road Races seemed pretty tough as most riders in the Men's and Women's didn't even finish. Carla Ryan smashed the field and a 30 years old bike mechanic from Sydney, Peter MacDonald, beat two pros (and team mates for Columbia/High Road) in a sprint finish. Now, that's the way to win a National Championship!

What a feeling!

Team Uniforms

A couple of things on that.

Firstly, just a personal observation, I noticed that the riders in the National Championship are allowed to wear their pro kits (full of adverting logos) when, in a State Championship or Open event in my town, commissaires and club officials make a big fuss when riders don't wear a club kit. I've seen riders have to turn their jersey inside out to be able to compete... Perhaps, the pro riders just cope with the fines that we, mortals, can't afford to pay. The inconsistency of the sport, I guess.

In another note, who wants to wear a pro kit like the one below. It is the ugliest kit I've seen by a pro team. I can even imagine Hincapie, who has his own cycling clothing label (as a New Yorker would call his brand) opening the package and going:

- I am not wearing this s..t!!!

OK, if you are getting paid big money, you might just try not to look in the mirror before a hit out...

Tour Down Under - it's not all about Lance

Back in Australia, the Pro Teams have arrived in Adelaide for the first race of the International calendar, the Tour Down Under. That's exciting!

The event keeps getting bigger and bigger, with more pro riders using the stage race to start putting some fast miles in their legs. Perhaps even more than that as they are saying they are here to race hard and win. If so, it is going to be huge!

This year, Sandra and I decided to head down to watch it. Not just that, we are going down to visit some old friends ( I lived in Adelaide for seven years when I first came to Australia) and attend a friend's 60th birthday party.

I won't be taking my bike but Sandra will. She will meet with a few friends and probably ride everyday. I will be driving around in a camper, first to the starting line to see the riders getting ready and their bikes, then along the course to meet Sandra somewhere and witness as much as I can of each stage.

It is going to be great. One thing I am hoping for, is that the 2009 Down Under Tour doesn't become an event totally focused on Lance Armstrong as the media and organisers push for exposure and the big dollars.

My training

Not much to report. A couple of sessions this year is all I could manage. Yesterday, I jumped on for just over an hour with the intention of finding out where I am at and using the data for the start of my training after the Adelaide trip. One good finding was that my HR is not as erratic as it was at the end of last year, perhaps to do with the slowly diminishing Hay fever.

Another session this afternoon, one tomorrow and then a break as I will have some shoulder treatment done, which will certainly put me out of action for a couple of days. But all good!



Will said...

nice post - lots of good stuff. Wow the Tour Down Under will get a lot of coverage.

I must say riding a stage before the pros and then watching the stage is incredible fun .... especially crazy mountain stages.

Enjoy (to you both)

Separately, I'll just say that I agree the Columbia kit is awful.

(I actually really liked their old kit)

AMR said...

Thanks Will.

We are super excited with the TDU, I really wish I could take the bike and ride in the Adelaide Hills too - c'est la vie!

Yes, I will miss the speedy blue train that shined in Adelaide last year. Perhaps, Stapleton will listen to us. Again, there is always Voigt to brighten things up.

Hope to meet you at the top of one of the 100 Cols you're climbing this year!!

Good luck.

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