Bicycle practice in Bright

“For Victorian cyclists the term Melbourne Cup weekend loosely translates to, ‘ride much bike in Bright’. So a bunch of us ever-enthusiastic Trek Fondo gals, plus an expert coach (Ken Ballhause from Adaptive Human Performance), an exercise scientist (Ev Parr) and an instagram celebrity (Mason Hender) headed for northeast Victoria…Is this the start of a joke?..

Thanks to our wonderful sponsor, Coffey Ford, we had a spiffy Ford Kuga to use as a support vehicle. Reports from Anna, the team car pilot, were glowing. The Kuga performed like a star on the Hume and the Thomson’s recently acquired wagon was in danger of being traded in. We looked and felt the goods for a big weekend of training, food, banter and more food.

Day 1. The joke was over with a 60 minute time trial up Mt Buffalo. I’ve never felt discomfort like it. But what a view! Everyone gave Buffalo a good stomping. The Kuga was unstoppable even with a screw wedged in the tyre. The lovely RACV man came and changed the spare later. Like, we totally could’ve done it if we wanted but the awesome service is there so why not use it…sure we could have…

The sun greeted us in the afternoon for some TT course recon. and a soak in the Ovens River. Being Octoberfest weekend in Bright the atmosphere was summer-festive and froffy. Some insight was provided to the age old question: what do people do in Bright if they don’t ride bikes? They sit with their feet in the river and drink bevs in the sun, that’s what. By now Niki was gagging for a beer so we headed to the brewery and met up with Bridge (who had started without us).

Later on Lucky (Siobhan Luck) was taken down by dehydration, a malfunctioning kidney and a couple of Oxy. But it takes more than a bung filter and excruciating pain to hold a good fondo butt down and she was back at it the following day heckling us from the team car.

Day 2. The valley loop – sounds gorgeous, doesn’t it? It’s not all that picturesque from behind the car bumper when you’re putting teeth marks in your bar tape. Great efforts and superb snacks at the top of the climbs had by all.

Having a legendary support crew with the likes of Anna T, Dr Parr and Lucky made all the difference. I for one have an awful lot of trouble knowing what to wear for a ride if the weather is a bit unpredictable, I can get downright stressed out about it but the team car stuffed with warm jackets was such a treat! And pro AF.

After training I assumed the foetal position on my top bunk whilst the social butterflies hit the brewery again. There was probably more pizza and definitely more beer.

Day 3. There was much deliberation on where to ride. With snow forecast on the mountains the only thing to be sure of was a Harry and Lloyd motor scooter type descent:
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I chose to head to Falls with Ev and Ken whilst Mason (the Instagram celeb) tackled Hotham (we can only assume to capture handsome bike photos with all that snow lying around). Mason sure copped a lot for his Insta celebrity status (which he takes like a champ) but he’s talented with the smartphone.

Hazy  rode like a boss all weekend with a sore wing (she broke her shoulder recently). We’ll be hearing a lot more from the pocket rocket this summer, she’s got her riding mojo back in a huuuuge way. When it was wet Hazy stayed back and rode the Kickr instead of risking the roads. Hammer.

Day 4. The last day is the worst because you have to pack up, and packing up your holiday is so much worse than any mountain climbing could possibly be. We trundled out to Buffalo for another ascent at a reasonable pace, minus the sick one hour TT experiment from coach Ken. It was like I’d never been up there before, like I was seeing the climb for the first time. I can only assume this is due to some sort of survival mechanism where you forget painful experiences altogether such as one hour time trials. After gramming the achievement (geez the view is great up there) and another Harry and Lloyd descent it was time to head home.

I would provide some stats from the weekend like metres climbed etc but my trusty Garmin 500 had me descending 23,000m each day and only climbing 500 so you can stalk Strava for some more accurate figures. I was very tired at the end and my Today’s Plan agreed. Satisfying.

Each night our Camp Mum, Ev and super coach Ken, cooked up the most incredible feeds, no doubt with optimal macronutrient composition. Even I (the farm-raised token bogan from regional Vic) forgot about my distrust for vegetarians and had a second helping of Ev’s salads. You can make friends with salads, these two are an excellent sort.

We had a wonderful weekend getting to know one another off the bike. Apart from our dedication to looking fabulous in lycra the girls all have ultra interesting day jobs. Bridge has offered to run finance info sessions in between catching financial planning baddies – watch this space.

Look out for Trek Fondo at Tour of Bright next weekend and at the crits over summer!”

 

Karla

Follow Karla on Instagram and Twitter.

RACV rides

Come ride bikes with us.

Together with RACV, Trek Fondo is hosting free training rides until December 2016 for anyone looking to improve their fitness and/or cycling skills.

Second Sunday* of the month: Beach Road Cruise
A relaxed 40km ride to Mordialloc and back on the infamous Beach Road. This ride is best suited to those who are relatively new to cycling.
Departs: 7.30am, Luna Park in St Kilda.
*Around the Bay in a Day is on Sun 9 Oct so we’ll be riding on Saturday 8th instead.

Fourth Sunday* of the month: Healesville Hills
Bring your climbing legs for this hilly 75km loop through Healesville and Kinglake. This ride is for experienced cyclists with a moderate/high level of fitness. Road bikes are essential.
Departs: 7.30am, RACV Healesville Country Club
*27 November will be a Giro Della Donna bunch ride. Email us for details.

If you plan to come along, please register your interest by emailing fondo@fondo.com.au

Note: we’ll be your ride guides and offer tips and encouragement but these rides are essentially unsupported so you’ll need to bring your own spares/pump and plenty of food and water. And remember, you’re responsible for your own wellbeing so please ride safely.

See you on the road. xx

Read more in Royal Auto here.

We’re back!

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Back row, L-R: Karla, Jo, Brooke, Anna S, Niki, Bridget and Kristi. Front row, L-R: Anna T, Hazel and Siobhan.
Twelve months after the team was launched, Trek Fondo is back and ready to tackle another year of racing, riding and connecting with Melbourne’s cycling community.

We’re thrilled to unveil a fresh new kit design; announce two new partners; welcome back our existing partners; and formally introduce three new members to the team.

New for 2016, we have joined forces with RACV to help promote cycling to Melbourne’s motoring community. The partnership will see the team host regular rides, including a monthly adventure from their Healesville Resort. We also welcome Coffey Ford, a Dandenong-based Ford dealer which will assist the team with vehicles for key races in regional Victoria.

Fondo will continue to deck the team out in lycra, Trek and Bontrager return as our bike and cycling accessory suppliers, and Melbourne Cycling League continue as our official club (you can catch the team in action at their many events throughout the year, from cyclocross to car park criteriums).

To mark the occasion, we hosted a bunch ride with Melbourne Cycling League on Saturday. We were joined by MCL members and friends-of-Trek Fondo for a cruise along Williamstown and Altona beach, before stopping for the obligatory post-ride coffee in Docklands. Thank you to everyone who joined us.

Earlier this year we bid farewell to our ‘Hammer’, Seda, but introduced three new members to the team: Kristi Darby, Siobhan Luck and Anna Stott.

Meet the team: Brooke Anderson, Kristi Darby, Niki Hobday, Bridget Lester, Siobhan Luck, Karla McKinnon, Jo O’Shaughnessey, Hazel Porter, Anna Stott and Anna Thomson.

We can’t wait to see what the next twelve months will bring…

xo Anna T

 

Follow me and my adventures in cycling and business on Instagram.

#injuredlife and a journey of self discovery

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Karla McKinnon, the number cruncher from Ballarat, has recently returned to racing after an injury forced her off the bike for three months (a lifetime!).  Here she shares her experiences in overcoming the injury which turned out to be a journey of ‘self discovery’. Enjoy…

I love to ride my bike. In recent years cycling has become part of my identity. So when I got a sore knee in January, a really sore knee, a pain that was sharp, persistent, and despite my best, most concerted efforts, impossible to train through – devastation doesn’t begin to describe it.

So dramatic, Karla! It’s not like I rely on my ability to ride to make a living or even for transport. Week after week races and goals came and went and it sucked to be sidelined. I didn’t feel myself without my bike and this feeling was compounded by me telling myself to ‘snap out of it’, ‘it’s not a big deal’, ‘what does it even matter’, ‘just give up on it,’ and I wasn’t even off the bike for that long, it was less than three months!

The internet is chock-a-block full of articles describing the profound effect cycling has had on various people’s lives and I’m proudly contributing to it with this scribble because this sport is special. Part of my coming to terms with the devastation of being without my bike was realising and accepting that riding is a major priority for me. Interestingly, I wasn’t aware of how much it meant to me and I was weirdly reluctant to admit it once I did cotton on. The process from diagnosis, misdiagnosis, re-diagnosis and subsequent management of this injury has been an interesting one and not just because biomechanics and the human body in general is fascinating. I’m reluctant to use such a cringe-inducing, cliché term as ‘self discovery’ but let’s just say I discovered a lot…about myself.

I don’t have to ride for results or a salary and I’m not bound to my bike by a performance contract, I ride for me because I love it and I want to do it and I want to get better at it and I’ll give up a lot in order to improve (although I never liked going out or staying up late anyway and I think 9pm cinema sessions are a crime against bedtime). I’ll never get paid to do it and, let’s face it, I’d probably be a great deal more effective at my day job if I wasn’t knackered from training or daydreaming about my next race constantly. It’s highly unlikely I’ll ever become a household name or get my mug on a Weet-Bix box but there’s no shame in giving it a bloody good go and there’s certainly no shame in not feeling myself because I can’t do it for a while.

This weekend I raced again after a decent block of training post injury and I was positively euphoric. The racing was brutal but that’s what we love about it. It was cold but being a Ballarat native I’d be disappointed if it wasn’t. I didn’t come close to contesting the podium but after the post-race hot lunch with some of the best people going around I felt like I’d won something.

Preparing for the world champs, local C grade club race or gran fondo, the message is the same: if it’s important to you, then it’s important. There’s a Roald Dahl quote kicking around #inspo that sums up my sentiments here really nicely: “If you are interested in something, no matter what it is, go at it full speed. Embrace it with both arms, hug it, love it and above all become passionate about it. Lukewarm is no good.”

Is bike riding even about riding bikes? #profound

Join Karla on her journey by following her on Instagram and Twitter.

 

 

Jo recaps the Rapha Women’s Prestige

Last weekend, we joined over 100 women on the Rapha Women’s Prestige in Merricks North. Jo gives us a hilarious account of her day…

Teams of 4. 125km. The H Van pumping coffee and lunch at Elgee Park Winery. All good selling points, which clearly worked well, as 112 women arrived on Sunday morning raring to go on this fun ride around the Mornington Peninsula.

Being suckers for a free coffee, we had two teams entered: Trek Fondo (TF) and Fondo Trek (FT). I was in the first of the two teams, TF, to leave although that almost went badly as I was late arriving having waited for Brooke to eat her breakfast. As she was in the FT team this was possibly an attempt at sabotage but I’ll let it go this time.

HazyP, Lucky, Ella and I set off on the gravel, over cattle grids and up hills with a vague plan to wait for the other team so we could all ride together. However, if you’ve ever tried telling people with a competitive streak to ‘wait’ you’ll know this is a big ask so we plugged on into a headwind, telling ourselves we just wanted to get this bit out of the way and then we’d wait!

Don’t worry, we got our comeuppance. After a couple of km along a scary road with traffic whistling past at 100 kph we thought maybe we should check the map as surely Rapha wouldn’t send us this way? They didn’t. Back we went, made up a bit of a detour and picked up the correct route. Never put a time trialist on the front, we don’t do navigation!

Happily, we found another group and latched onto them thinking they could haul our sorry Fondobutts to Point Nepean and some coffee from the Rapha van. Then…………………BANG!!!!!!! That was my rear tyre exploding. I found a nail in the road that even the super sturdy Bontrager AW3s couldn’t fight off and ripped a whopper of a hole into my tyre. After resorting to the old ‘dollar bill rescue remedy’ we finally set off again.

The Rapha van, the FT team, all the other teams, toilets and ice creams were eventually tracked down at the Quarantine Station in Point Nepean National Park. Everyone had a tale to tell, including the FT team who managed to get some CX training in via some steps, past a locked gate and a sign that said ‘no bikes’ (oops)!!

Anyway, now we were all together for the spin along the beach to Arthurs Seat. A well rested Anna T took to the front to lead us to the base of the climb. Cruelly, the route went up the back way to a gravel road to join Arthurs Seat Rd a quarter of the way up. They forgot to tell us it was 12%. I think I heard swearing! A quick regroup at the summit of Arthurs, a snapshot to prove we’d been there and the final 16 km back to the winery. Until HazyP’s Di2 had a hissy fit. She spent the best part of the mainly downhill home stretch in some ridiculously high gear, spinning those little legs furiously. Good, if slightly extreme, way to clear the lactic.

Once back at the winery, we were treated to a fantastic lunch catered by the Merricks General Store and wine from Elgee Park Winery and some giveaways from those awfully nice Rapha folks.

It was great day out, we all had a blast and look forward to the next one. Thanks Rapha. Special thanks to Ella Atkinson for joining the team for the day.

xo Jo

Follow Jo on her cycling adventures on Instagram.

The Teams

Trek Fondo: Hazel, Siobhan, Ella, Jo

Fondo Trek: Anna T, Anna S, Brooke, Bridge

Bridge storms to victory in Mansfield

Team mountain goat, Bridget Lester, went down to the wire at Mansfield Tour, overcoming a shaky start to take line honours and the overall win on Stage 3. Read all about it here…

Amongst friends, I have a reputation for being a terrible time-trialler. Last year, I proudly sported some time trial bars for a certain TT, only to become preoccupied with my recently-manicured hands gripping the bars in front of me during the ride. Needless to say I didn’t win that one…

But it seems I can ride up hills a bit better than I can TT. And one very important lesson I learnt a few years ago is that those who do well in the time trial stage won’t necessarily be good climbers, and vice versa. So when I found myself standing on the start line of Stage 3 of the 2016 Mansfield Tour, almost two minutes down on the General Classification for Women’s B Grade, I knew that the climb up to the finish line at the top of Mt Buller would make things interesting.

Because of smaller numbers in both grades, Women’s B and C were to race together. For my teammie Niki, this would have been an interesting experience given Mansfield was her B Grade debut! It was a bit chilly at the start of the race but that was all forgotten when Niki put in two big attacks to try and break the bunch up. Soon after, we began the climb and I found myself in a small group of 6 or so at the front. The girls were setting a good pace but I hung on and tried to remember all the technique and tips I go through in training; bend your elbows, focus on your breathing, etc – I find it a good distraction when my legs are hurting.

Slowly some of the girls began to drop off and before I knew it, I was riding alone with a really strong rider from Women’s C Grade. I’d been a bit afraid to look behind us for fear of seeing the bunch approaching, so when I finally did, and the road was clear, it was a big relief. Only a few minutes later, we looked back behind us again but this time spotted some riders. Panic! Until… we realised they were competitors from a men’s grade. Phew! The notorious hairpins over the last 2km or so of Buller really took it out of us as we rode alongside each other. Whenever we could manage, we’d give the other some breathless words of encouragement, “Not far to go!”… “Keep it up!”. But tired legs were no match for an amazing feeling when I spotted the finish line welcomed by Jo and Kristi who had raced in A grade. Together, we cheered the rest of our team mates, Anna and Niki, as they rolled over the finishing line having recorded some personal-best ride times. What a team! Looking forward to another big weekend of racing at Warrnambool’s Tour of South West, where Trek Fondo will be strongly represented across all grades.

xo Bridge

Find Bridge on Instagram and Twitter to follow her on her cycling adventures.

The Tour of East Gippsland insider

In our first post, we hear from our resident Kiwi and new Trek Fondo recruit, Anna Stott, who made her debut with the team at the Tour of East Gippsland. Here’s what Stotty had to share about her experiences…

Having not done a proper road race in over two years, the Tour of Gippsland looked like a good course to have a crack at and make my debut for Trek Fondo. 

I must admit, even though I have previously completed a number of duathlons, the individual time trial is not my favourite! Starting straight out on the bike without a run prior, or knowing you have to back up the ride with another run afterwards, is a feeling I need to get used to. 

Stage two was much more enjoyable, especially riding with fellow #fondobutts Anna, Niki and Lucky (Siobhan). An opportunity arose mid-race to make an unintentional breakaway with three others (including my team mate Niki) and chase down the leaders. We stayed together until the last kms and managed to find something in my legs to finish in third. 

Sunday had moments to forget – I somehow made the amateur move of leaving my cycling shoes behind at the accommodation which was 45 minutes away. Never fear, my amazing friend, Evelyn Parr, was there and she happened to have the same shoes as me, so she sacrificed her spectator ride to loan me her shoes! Stage three, everyone was on their toes and they had to be – in the final meters of the stage there was a big crash and I was thankful to finish unscathed. 

Overall it was a great way to start the year, finishing fourth in the GC and get into the mindset of just rolling on the pavement instead of pounding it too. Can’t wait for more laughs and to see how the rest of the year goes with Trek Fondo!

Follow Stotty on Instagram (she’s got some rad cycling skills!). Continue reading

Trek Fondo Women’s Ride to Willunga

Join us on Saturday 23 January for a women’s ride to Willunga to watch the ‘queen stage’ of the Tour Down Under.

The ride from Adelaide to Willunga is approximately 55km and 800m elevation. We’ll venture south from the CBD and roll through the picturesque hills of the McLaren Vale wine region. If we have time, we’ll see the race off in the McLaren Vale township before we make our way to Willunga for a bite to eat at a local cafe. After lunch, we’ll finish our journey up the iconic Willunga Hill to watch the final two laps of the race.

The ride back is another 50km on mostly flat bike paths that follow the main road to Adelaide – the ‘M2’.

You’ll be lead by experienced ride leaders including members of our women’s race team, Trek Fondo. You’ll be provided with a route map and there will be re-group points along the way.

WHEN: Saturday 23 January 2016, 7am

WHERE: Bicycle Express, 124 Halifax Street, Adelaide

COST: $10 donation to Space2b (space2b.com.au) – please bring the cash on the day. You’ll also receive lunch and a Fondo cap.

WHO: You’ll need to have a road bike and have comfortably completed a hilly 100km ride at least once before. Sorry guys, this one’s for women only.

Click here to register

About Trek Fondo

Trek Fondo is a new women’s cycling team from Melbourne, Australia

We’ve brought together a group of inspiring individuals to be ambassadors to women’s cycling. These women come from different walks of life – some are new to cycling while others have been racing for many years.

Not only are they all amazing athletes, they are also incredibly accomplished outside of the sport.

We hope the team will connect with different women across the cycling community – whether they’re racing for the first time or they simply want to conquer their first climb.

We hope you’ll join us on our ride.