The cogs are already ticking, you are reading this for no doubt, one of a few reasons.
You’re either thinking about riding the 2020 Powercor Melbourne to Warrnambool Cycling Classic, you’ve heard the news of the introduction of a handicap (not quite as daunting!) or you just want to see what all the fuss is about and whether I really am as crazy as you think (“Why does she keep coming back for more?”).
Let’s set the record straight on a few things. Yes, I am a little mad. I think anyone that chooses to ride a bike, for copious kilometres at any one time, at an intensity that isn’t what we call “leisurely”; probably is a little mad. But the thing I love the most about all of this, is I am not alone!
This year I was roped into the Melbourne to Warrnambool on next to no specific training, on form carrying over from Nationals and then time off (which let’s agree is not much at all!) by a teammate and close friend of mine, Taryn Heather (Spoiler alert, she went on to finish a tidy Second Place, to the well-decorated Peta Mullens).
So, then I thought I would return the favour this time around, and have recruited Taryn again, although hopefully this time, I will have a little bit more specificity under my belt!
It’s daunting to think about riding your bike for 260kms nonstop, in a race, with some of the fastest and strongest men in the country. I get it, I’ve started two Melbourne to Warrnambool’s and finished none (one in which our group was pulled and the other where I pulled over and got off halfway through – note to future self, avoid relationship break-ups the night before one of the most gruelling races on the calendar 😉). Validations aside, the allure of the Melbourne to Warrnambool is the challenge that you put your body and mind through.
Currently there are no UCI one-day races for women that are over 200 kilometres. The Belgian classic Rhonde van Drenthe sits as the longest race on the Women’s World Tour Calendar at 165kms. And for a reason. Racing that distance is hard.
But I can assure you, it is worth the challenge. The process, just as much as the race itself.
So, by this point, you are still reading… which I am going to take as an assumption that you’re thinking about riding the Melbourne to Warrnambool. Although, you’re still a little unsure on what you might need to do to really prepare for a race of this distance? Don’t worry, I haven’t nailed it myself. What I have managed to do however, is create almost a list of “don’ts” which compliments my list of “do’s”.
When I sat down with the team at Cycling Victoria a few weeks ago and we got chatting as to what this series of blog posts could explore, I had a little difficulty narrowing it down… how on earth was I going to be able to think of everything? The answer is, I probably won’t. But I am hoping that after following along you will be in a better position than where you are right now, with more insight, more “tools” and a greater understanding of what the hype is all about.
And if you get to the end and still think, nope, not for me! Then there is always the 75km Handicap option!
Blog post by Kate Perry & Cycling Victoria.
Kate Perry currently races for the NRS Specialized Women’s Racing Team, she is the 2019 Individual Time Trial Oceania Champion. Kate balances road racing with working as a cycling coach and a Lecturer of Sport and Exercise Science at La Trobe University.