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Women's 100: Australia
Words: Cindy-Lee Davies | Photos: Willie (Melbourne) & Marcus Enno (Sydney)
On 7th July, thousands of women around the world took part in the first Rapha Women’s 100. The event wasn’t a race but rather an opportunity for female cyclists to take part in a global event; to ride 100km together.
In preparation, Women’s 100 training rides were held to support new riders and encourage women to train together on a weekly basis. As a daily commuter, I thought I would accept the challenge and join my nearest ride. After a few weeks of pain and bewilderment I started to love the sport and the freedom of the open roads.
Following the invaluable advice offered in Heidi Swift’s and Julie Krasniak’s training programme, my initial goal was simply to achieve 100 kilometres. Soon, however, my entire world became about riding. My training started with one 50km ride a week and quickly increased to 200km per week. In a short time I learnt the importance of what and when to eat and what to drink and wear. I changed five tyres, walked 5km in cleats and ate more bananas than a monkey. I became obsessed with charging my various electronic gadgets and I even learnt the difference between ‘rolling out’, ‘rolling over’ (back to bed) and just plain rolling.
Sunday the 7th arrived as a fresh winter morning, with frost on the horizon and a forecast of rain. At our rendezvous we were greeted with coffee, route maps and friendly faces. More than 60 anxious riders of all ages and abilities soon set off and the climbs on the first section of the route sorted out the groups pretty swiftly before we headed east on a winding forest trail.
The light was beautiful and we were grateful that the weather remained on our side. Trust and camaraderie were established early, with warnings from fellow riders of fallen sticks, steep bends and even those walkers ahead who had set out in the belief they would have a quiet Sunday stroll in the bush. We had a fairly quick 50km to the first meeting spot and most groups arrived pretty soon after, their endurance levels having been tested by the route and their patience by several flat tyres.
After yet another banana and 15 minutes of laughter in the winter sun, we continued on our way (I think at this stage there was a huddle to motivate us for remaining 50km home). As the leadout group, we got into a rhythm once we hit the open country roads – and overshot a turn. We were saved by a ride marshall who tracked us down and took us on a small detour, which included climbing over a fence to get back on to a familiar route for the return. No harm done, we still made it in good time and in many ways it added to the adventure.
We were welcomed back to a beautiful sit-down lunch with the new friends we had made along the way. Ride tales were shared over gourmet food and topped off with a glass (or two) of well-deserved bubbles.
Thanks Rapha for a great opportunity.
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