Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Track Nats

I’ll start at the end, it was an exciting 4 days of racing in the Avantidrome, the atmosphere didn’t have the same feel as back down in the south but when it was packed out you still got a buzz. My week was reasonably busy as I was racing 5 races in the IP, 500m TT, points race, scratch race and TP.

I was reasonably happy with my IP and 500m TT, they weren’t amazing and I had hoped to go a bit faster but considering how the last month had played out they were a good start. I did, in hindsight, go out too fast in the pursuit, maybe I forgot it was 12 not my usual 8 laps, either way I did get to pay for it and in the last 4 laps I crept round the track. The good news was it was the best I had ever felt doing an IP which I will admit hasn’t happened very often, but encouraging as it was my first attempt at the 12 lap hit out. In the 500m TT I opted for a smaller gear than most as I am still baffled that my best 500m time was done when I was 17 and on a small gear. I was still a second off my best time but it was much better than anything I had been doing in training over the last year, most likely due to the gear size however.

Friday night was the big night, this night I had my favourite race on the track, the points race. To be honest I didn’t come into the race with too many expectations, I just had a race plan to suit me where I pick up points in every sprint and go for a break or two, if it came off it came off but if it didn’t I knew I will have done everything I could. I was feeling pretty good in my little gear, I followed wheels to try and pick up easy points in the first few sprints. I can’t remember which lap I attacked on but it was chosen because the opportunity appeared when everyone swung up the track. It was good to see racquel sheath on my wheel and we lapped it out for 3 sprints with myself picking up all 3. This was where I got my lead, when pulled back into the bunch I knew I just had to hold on and keep picking up points. It was a tough last 20 laps with jaime nelson putting on the pressure being half a lap ahead I wasn’t sure where we were all sitting so I was still trying to win each sprint. with about 9 laps to go secquoia cooper went to the front of the bunch and held a charging jaime off for the last sprint where Lauren ellis took off and I tried to follow spinning as fast as I could. Crossing the line I wasn’t sure where I had ended up but when I found out I was ecstatic, I could hardly believe it with all the bad luck I have had and so many things just not going the way I had hoped in the last year it was certainly the best feeling.

The scratch race was still amid the buzz of winning the previous night. Although once I’d hopped out on the track I realised my legs remembered the night before a little too well and my gear instantly felt big. It was a strange race with what may as well have been a big team pursuit for the first half of the race. This made it difficult to attack and so as soon as someone swung up and broke the flow I went for it, although not completely committed for a solo attack I was more looking at getting some sparks flying to kick things off. This worked but unfortunately I wasn’t able to use it too my advantage as my legs just felt heavy and I didn’t have any kick so when it came to the final when I tried to follow the fast wheels but I wasn’t able to match it and had to settle for a disappointing 5th place.

The final race was the Teams pursuit which is always a good way to end the week. This year Southland had a pretty decent team and we hoped to be able to challenge for the gold. We cruised through the qualifying just doing the time needed to qualify. In the final we planned to really lift it. disappointingly everyone was feeling the week catching up on them and we weren’t able to do our fastest time. The good news for me was that my legs had pulled through from last night and I wasn’t feeling too bad but there wasn’t much I could do to hold off the waikato girls.

All in all I was more than surprised with my week and how my legs pulled through, I had little pain from my injury and I didn’t feel as under done as I thought I might. I guess being relatively fresh does have some good points. Although I did have a great night on sunday and monday morning my knee felt a little worse for wear but it should just be a little tweak which fades over the next few days..Finally I would like to say a huge thank you to those that have helped me over the last few years, my friends and family, especially my coaches, dad and Ross Machejefski who are always there for me, to John green for being the most generous person alive and always helping me out, to Pure Sports drink for recently sponsoring me and the lovely Rodger family for putting up with me for the last month and a half. There are always more but I’m sure you all know who you are so big thanks!

Will update again before I depart for the states!


Tuesday, 11 March 2014

On the Boards

This last 6 weeks has been a nice change of scenery for me, I had to make the move up north to the other island for some training on the track and to get my bearings in Cambridge which now has the home of cycling.

Unfortunately one week into it, I came down in a big crash at the Bev May women’s tour caused by the lead police car chucking the breaks on just in front a fast moving bunch.

Luckily this time my injuries weren’t major and I quickly picked myself up and straightened everything out again including my cleat which had been knocked way out of place and in my state of high adrenaline tried to test my luck at continuing racing until my derailleur broke about 5km later.. Then again in my resistance to give up the race I tried to start the next stage on a quickly modified borrowed bike. needless to say the body wasn’t sending out the best sensations ever and I should’ve shut it down straight away to not risk further damage.

After a nights sleep I realised I was back where I seem to be finding myself a lot recently which is back to basics, waiting for my body to heal and rehabbing. Each time I get to this situation I do learn new things about what to do and more importantly what doesn’t work...Swim, gym and stretch were my go to’s.

2weeks later I was on the bike doing my best to keep the pedals going.  With only one hiccup where I pushed it a bit too hard and had to back right off again for a few days I will be back on the boards racing this weekend. The body is not in the form I wanted it to be in but sometimes you just have make the most of what you have got which is exactly what I’ll be trying out this week with a full on schedule!

The last time I raced this much on the track all in one week was 3 years ago so it will be a good test for the body!

I will be staying longer in NZ to build my leg back to full strength and find some form before I head out to the states to race for my USA team Vanderkitten.

Bumpy start as usual but now lets go!

Uphill finish at Bev May tour Day 1

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Summer Racing

My summer schedule has consisted of lots of racing and training which has been great although with lots of travel I haven’t had a chance to do be based anywhere and get a unemployed I have been aaallllll summer, Its cool at the time but I’m sure I will regret when I’m around any shops..

anyway this has given me the freedom to concentrate on cycling and plan out the year (I have got a diary for planning etc, ill see how well I remember to use it..) After some good training around xmas time I was off to  melbourne for Michelton Bay crits. I don’t know of any other crit series like it for the women, each circuit is tough in its own respect and with a bunch of world class girls on the start list I knew brutal was going to be a fitting description.

Vanderkitten had 4 riders for the event, myself, kate, miranda and jeannie. Unfortunately we were pretty much unable to work together in any race as most of the time we were on the back hand with none of us being pure sprinters. I was hoping for consistency in all races so I could get a good overall placing. The first two races went ok, I wasn’t feeling amazing but I seemed to be able to mix it at the front for most of the race but was just outgas’d a bit in the last few laps when the big lead outs started and I found myself just holding my position unable to move forward, and the kick for the finish started a few riders in front of me each time and I wasn’t able to match it. So both days I slipped into the top 10 at 7th but not as high as I was wanting. Port arlington on the 3rd day is very tough circuit with no recovery. we were looking to miranda who can climb with the top girls and I was again just going to try and stick in there and sneak another top 10. Unfortunately for me my legs weren’t in on the plan and I was in the red far too early and just couldn’t keep it up. miranda however still had a top ride and was unlucky with the team tactics played against her. the last crit I was ready to redeem previous days efforts but I wasn’t sure how the legs would go. It was full gas and I don’t think my HR went below 180 (max is 190 odd). In the last few laps I tried to hold a good position and move up with 2 to go but i was on my limit and over cooked a corner and that of course ruined my chances of a high placing. overall i still finished in the top 10 and so it wasn’t all bad but still plenty to improve on for next time.

With only a week in-between I flew straight into christchurch for Elite road nationals. This is my first year competing as I have either been too young or injured..although watching it 4 times feels like I know the race well!

Coming into the race I wasn’t too sure how i would fare as I hadn’t been able to test out my climbing but I just gave myself goals in the race to tick off which worked well for me. I surprised myself with my climbing and managed the fast paced hill 6x much better than I thought. How the race panned out however was not ideal, with the early break getting out to 4mins at one point I knew the hill was only going to get faster and then there would be some hard chasing along the flat. in the final few KMs we were within reach of Rush who had been out there most of the day, unfortunately when the action started my legs were cramping up and I couldn’t do much apart from follow. coming into the finish I sprinted to 5th place which I was happy enough given how I had come into the race.

After nationals I opted for some summer, only to be found up north these days..summer has disgracefully deserted the south this year so I was glad to be out in the sun and of course by the beach!

My most recent adventure was then to Adelaide for the Santos Womens Cup. I only have good things to say about Adelaide as I enjoyed the weather, city, rides, beach and overall the people were super nice! also the racing was pretty cool. For me the races were just fun training and I had nothing to lose going into them. I tried a few different tactics out and was keen on getting in a break each day. However the race was dominated by the green edge team who had a number of riders in the race and each of them strong enough to win in their own right. This made it near impossible sneak away as you were always covered and then countered, your only chance was to get in the break they wanted to get away.this proved difficult to pick as I found myself attacking and countering to no avail and then one break I don’t go for slips away. It was frustrating to say the least but its how racing goes sometimes and you just have to make the most of it. At the end of the 3 days however I had scooped up the U23 category which was a small reward. 

Now I am back home, recouping and reorganising before my next phase where I will be based up in the other-less important the north..for some track training and racing leading into track nationals. I hope to carry my form onto the track and get myself some decent results to put my hand up for Comm games later this year.

Hope you enjoyed reading and keeping up to date with my racing. don’t forget to follow me on instagram and twitter (s0phw) for photos and tweets from wherever I am!


Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Bringing in the new year

Hey everyone, now thats it’s 2014 I thought it would be timely to break my pretty poor performance with the apologies to people who came looking on my blog to check in and see what was happening.

Crashes were a bit more of a consistent feature of my season than was welcome, with a 2 big crashes and many smaller minor ones I am pretty confident that patch is well behind me and this year is going to bring the nicer sides of the sport I enjoy so much. Last year for me was definitely more of a learning curve than anything, I got to experience the lows as well as the highs of the sport which has to happen to all athletes at some point in their careers and the more you can take and learn from them the better.

With rain bringing in the new year for us staying in ocean grove, Melbourne, hopefully the weather can pick up for my first race of the year with the Vanderkitten teammies. We can’t wait for the high-paced racing of Mitchelton bay crits to kick off. I’m keen to get into another action packed racing season in the US with some great people and hopefully I will get in a few more races this time round with injuries just keeping to the background!

My plans for the year are exciting and include lots of racing overseas in Australia, America, Europe and hopefully more. I’m going to be training more over the summer for the track racing which I have always enjoyed and done a bit of as a junior, a goal of mine is to represent NZ at the commonwealth games in Glasgow, Scotland.

feel free to follow me on twitter s0phw or instagram which I update more regularly.

Looking forward to the good times and opportunities 2014 can bring,

Happy New Year Everyone


Monday, 27 May 2013

California Waiting

Thinking. I've had a lot of time to do this in the last week. Cycling is a weird sport, we spend so many hours riding bikes day in day out for weeks and months of every year. You would think that an impromptu week where you don't see a bike would be a relieving change of scenery. In fact it's almost the opposite, you almost have to switch to another mental state to really relax and enjoy those off weeks. When they are planned they are part of your training, specific to what you need at that time to make sure you can perform at your best. When it is sprung upon you though, you're caught out, stuck between relaxing, making the most of the time and being naturally anxious and frustrated about missing training/racing. I realise you cant expect to have perfect runs and shit hits the fan more often than you would like so the better you can handle this the better you will come out of it..

This last week or two has been anything but planned. After a flight over to forget , picking up a sore throat and cold wasn't the best leaving present i've had and made for some restless plane time.  As expected I was treated to a typical american airport welcome with a good hour line for customs. safe to say i was keen to see some sun and feel some fresh air on my face, hopefully out pedalling my new training roads!

settled into MountainView nestled at the base of some epic Californian hills, staying with a super cool couple Katheryn and james mattis, both hitters back in the day so have some sweet stories to tell at dinner time. Big thanks for having me guys!!

No matter how good a new bike sounds, nothing is worth as much as a setup you are used to and changing to something different mid-season can be a bit much for the body. That was something I learnt pretty quickly, only two rides in and I wasn't feel myself on the bike at all everything felt foreign and I was getting bad pains around my knees...not ideal to say the least. After a careful look at the setup I realised that a combination of small things made it completely different to my Avanti, with the damage already done we made a decision to stay off the bike until my Avanti which was promptly shipped over arrived. It was then a matter of playing the waiting game. 6 days felt like two weeks, keeping up part of my program with gym for most of those still didn't cut it. I wanted to be out in the hills, riding my bike!

Finally heard my bike had arrived in LA, stoked! then it was a game of tag with the delivery dude who showed up the only time i was out getting fruit so all i got was a note saying sorry we missed you. the next day i played it safe, just taking the dog for a walk around the grass outside so i could see if the van pulled up. eventually he turned up and i set my bike up and took it for a spin. felt like I hadn't ridden for ages but it was definately welcomed return.

left the cold in the dust, knees are better, things are looking up.. she'll be a quick turn around for Philly classic this weekend! Im definitely going to have to dig deep to find some climbing legs for the finale up the wall..eeek I think i'm going to rock a 28!

Monday, 13 May 2013

Green light

It's been awhile since my last post!- cant have been many exciting things going on

As I mentioned, I have been living with my (very nice and accommodating) brother at his flat in Christchurch- actually just took over his room so cheers for that Pat! I've had an awesome time an enjoyed a bit of the student life which is definately an experience for an ignorant wee cyclist like myself!
got pretty good at living off 50 a week so things have been good..
the cupboard room

 bday dinner with flatties

cant beat Home..

first visit to Mt cook..on two wheels

The past few months I have just been setting myself up for a good second half of the season..been working hard with a few people to get myself some form, its been sleep,eat,bike,eat,study,eat,sleep. with the odd coffee shop adventure or a few drinks here and there its not been a bad life..

I have had a few signs of some form coming on with a few wins on the national scene, first race back I fluked a nice bank-buffering win in the grape ride, then picked up my first senior national title which i was stoked with! , then most recently won round 3 of the elite benchmark series. To add to that, I got some exciting news from Mum saying that I was awarded the Otago Junior Sports woman of the year, So so proud to be receiving that. Pretty successful return and I hope I keep injury at bay for a good time, although in this sport i've found it's pretty inevitable and when it happens you just have to make sure you keep your sights up and find a way around..bad times can't last forever!

Heaps of exciting things happening for me now and I'm just itching to get away and catch up with my teammies to kick off my first international season!- My first race for Vanderkitten, 2 weeks after my arrival, is Philadelphia classic a big UCI one day race with a crazy finish up something they call the 'wall'...self-explanatory i think. Then I'll be lining up for Nature valley, BC superweek and finally Cascade tour!

Amuurica, ill see you soon!

updates later when I've swapped my jacket and woolly socks for jandals and singlets..

Golden roads around Alex

selfie with the new kit
Big thanks to H and J for support in the NZ scene!!

benchmark break

Senior National club champ

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Home Grounded

Hey guys and girls,

Just checking in to let you all know that I have made some significant improvements with my injuries and things are looking good for the next month while I build my strength and fitness back up..lots of small steps make big gains, so i'm working hard at that to make sure my recovery is the best possible.

Managing a couple of rides on the road bike in the last few days has been so good, been missing that over the last couple months!- I have my eye on heading out to USA when I'm back to full health and fitness

I am also pleased to say that I am now a BikeNZ carded athlete, very much looking forward to the support that brings and working with the other girls in the squad, it's all pretty exciting!

And big congrats to my fellow alex cyclists Liam Aitcheson and Georgia Vessey both reppin NZ at ocean in canberra in a few weeks, watch out for them they're sure to kill it!

thanks for reading

soph :)