This week the team raced at the Northern Combine Hawthorn Trophy Race. Unfortunately only 3 of the team were able to make it to the start – Justyna, Alison and Jodie.

The forecast for the day was hail, rain and strong winds. Luckily it was dry but the winds were strong. This became a telling factor in the race as the bunch split as it made it particularly hard to chase and rejoin.

The race for Women’s A grade was 8 laps of the 8km course, however with the start/finish ½ around the course at the top of the climb that meant 9 laps in total. The climb is just over 1km long and averages 5.6%, with KOM (or Queen of the Mountains in our case) for lap 2, 4 & 6.

Before we started there was a depleted field in Women’s A grade, with 3 DNS and 1 rider dropping down to B grade there was only 8 contesting the Hawthorn Trophy Race with no Hawthorn women in sight! However there was Lisa Jacobs (VIS/AIS), Stephanie Ives (Cycling-Inform), and SKCC’s Ingrid Trotter and Amy Bradley – a quality field! Heading out to the start a few km around the course the pace already seemed high – and this was neutral. Alison advised there was a tail wind but I knew this was not going to be an easy day in the saddle.

At the top of the climb first time we got the call ‘your now racing’! The pace lifted a little and the whole bunch started working together with Lisa letting us know which side to roll through on as the wind was getting us from all sides. About ¾ the way though the first lap we unfortunately dropped our first rider – Von who was contesting her first A grade race, top effort Von for having a go on a tough course with some quality riders. The rest of us stayed together until first QOM lap, near the top Stephanie kicked it up with only Lisa able to follow. However, it was enough to split the field with Ingrid and Amy not too far off, then Jodie just ahead of Justyna. Alison had dropped off a bit before the first QOM.

Jodie managed to chase back onto Ingrid and Amy and they were working well together until Jodie stopped due to a red flag from the corner marshal. After just having chased, Jodie just could not catch them again. A bit further behind Alison rode solo to get back to Jus then helped Jus rejoin Jodie only to drop off again. Justyna and Jodie talked about chasing – Ingrid and Amy, that seemed like a good idea until the wind picked up and they were just not making any ground.

In the end Jodie and Jus decided that the goal was to finish, Alison with one of the biggest engines around rejoined AGAIN! and the SKCC/Giant team motivated each other to continue. Hearing the bell signalling only 1 lap to go was pure joy, before we knew it we were approaching the rise heading to the corner to tackle the last climb. Jus and Jodie side by side rode across the line together with Alison not too far behind. Finishing out of the placings but happy that it was over!

The final results:
1 – Stephanie Ives
2 – Lisa Jacobs
3 – Ingrid Trotter

Other Activities
Alison, Hannah and Justyna attended “Understanding Bike Racing” – presented by Bec Domange in Melton.  The session was well atttended by women from clubs around Victoria, including many from St Kilda.  We would like to thank Bec for her time and effort, and Gaelene for her continued effort in helping racing women (and also for the marvellous catering on a cold and windy day).

Places the team could be seen training this week –
Lisa was training around Beach Rd and Elwood area.
Justyna was training in and around Melbourne.
Jodie was training around Frankston, Mornington and Beach Rd.
Alison’s training this week had been Beach Rd, Kew & wind trainer.
Hannah was training in the Dandenongs on Saturday, and easy spins on Beach Rd mid week