The Tracey Gaudry Diary 2000
The Local East Coast Australian Time is
Canberra - Cooma Cycle Classic
Australia, February 26-27, 2000
Firstly, I am absolutely wrapt to announce my brand new team Timex:
Tracey Gaudry (Australia)
Director: Norman Alvis
Well, the inaugural Canberra to Cooma classic was a first in many more ways for me. My brand new team Timex has just arrived from the U.S.A, and after a 1-day flight delay into Sydney, jet-lag, lost luggage, missing bikes, no training, five hours drive back from Sydney to Canberra through peak hour traffic, with 10 bodies, bikes and bags squeezed into a mini bus, the girls could have been forgiven to be less than motivated to front up to 115 km in the hot sun and wind on their 'first day out'. It was most impressive that everyone arrived on the starting grid with smiles on all our faces, looking resplendent and clearly enjoying our brand new race bikes.
Canberra to Cooma - 115km, February 26, 2000
A 10km neutral, bliss. After 5 hours sleep and the shemozzle in Sydney the day before, we were all happy to ease into the race. The first QOM was only 5km into the actual race, and so Mari went to the front almost immediately to set up the tempo for me. She sat on the front the whole way up the climb, with Juanita (AIS) on her wheel, and me behind. As she swung I sprinted and realised it was the 250m sign - s^%@! I balked and sprinted again, taking out maximum points.
The plan for the race was for me to sit in 'for a long while' and see how things panned out. It all went well, with a break forming at around 40km. Our girls had all been active and Odessa was soon up the road with Sara Carrigan (AIS), Ren (TIS) and a Dutch rider. They soon had 1min 20sec on the bunch and we were happy to let the break stay away. Other riders had a different idea with counter attacks occurring. At 55km, Natalie Bates (NSWIS) attacked and I jumped onto her wheel with Alison Wright (AIS). We pulled a few turns, gaining a gap on the main bunch and then I drove hard to gap them. As I time-trialled to bridge the gap to the break up the road, I questioned my sanity feeling the heat and wind as I dangled between the chasing main bunch and the break ahead of me for what seemed like ages. No turning back now, you're committed to this one.
I made it across to the break in reasonable shape and took in some food while assessing the state of the other girls. Odessa was looking strong, so I whispered to her to 'ease up' a little. As a couple of the girls tired, I attacked up the second QOM and then there were four. Now, only 30km to go. We had the numbers and the strength. I attacked over a small hill and Odessa covered the Dutchie, while Sara came away with me, riding very smartly. From then on it was cat-and-mouse. We had several minutes on the main bunch so neither of us did any work. At 10km to go, I attacked again and drove ahead alone, suffering in the strong cross-head wind but determined to turn this first outing with Timex into a successful one for the team. The whole team was ecstatic to have such a great day out.
Cooma Criterium, 45 minutes + 3 laps, February 27, 2000
Ahh, nothing like a good night's sleep after the past few days of hectic turmoil. Necessary, as we wanted to be a little switched on for the criterium in Cooma. We expected a fast and furious race and wanted to have a Timex rider in every move. The circuit was a long-rounded triangle with a fast descent, rough bottom corners and a power drag to the finish. The aggressive moves were on right from the start, and soon Mari was away with a Dutch rider. The Aussies were forced to chase to bring the break back, good for me to simply sit in up near the front. With a 30 second stronghold on GC, I wasn't fussed about getting away, and simply had to watch Sara Carrigan to make sure she wasn't going anywhere either.
Soon after the bunch had re-formed, attacks went again and then Sanna was away with Kristy Scrymgeour and a Dutchie. This was it. Timex and the Dutch teams blocked at the front to allay counterattacks and the break steadily rode out of sight on the tight circuit. By 35 minutes they had lapped us, so the bunch was racing for fourth place. We were called to sprint for the finish at 2 laps to go, and the trio breakaway to sprint alone for the finish. Here was our chance to try our first bunch sprint. The Timex girls were great and all came to the front driving hard to keep other riders from making last minute attacks. I had the Dutch sprinter Mirjam Melchers, on my wheel the whole time - this was going to be tough stuff.
My last lead out swung off at the bottom of the drag, but I wasn't yet wound up to full pace. Mirjam came off my wheel and had a wheel-length on me at the top of the drag with 40m to go. No, I'm not going to waste the effort of my teammates! Mirjam had the inside on the bend to the finish - the shorter line - but I didn't give up and threw the gear lever in a last ditch effort to make up ground. In the last 20 metres I drew alongside her and threw the front wheel at the line to take the sprint by half a wheel. It was a great feeling to have dug in, and succeeded.
Two laps later the breakaway trio sprinted, with the Dutch girl winning from Kristy and Sanna, who performed very well considering her jet lag.
It was a great maiden race for Timex, taking out 1st and 3rd overall, and obtaining a 1st and two 3rds in the two stages. We celebrated by dragging our Director Norm, and Manager Giana on the 65km 'undulating' bike-jaunt from Cooma to Jindabyne for a pre-Tour de Snowy training camp!