End of 2017/ 2018 catch up’s

 

Catch Ups

So, I thought it was time for a life update and in a few short paragraphs Im going to give you a quick, succinct, and entertaining summary of the start of my 2018. Due to my lack in blogging towards the end of the year, we’ve got a lot to catch up on, so grab your cuppa, and settle in for a catch up with Kristina.

AUSTRALIAN MADISON CHAMPIONSHIPS

I was given the honour of paring up with one of my all time heroes, Macey Stewart for the Oceania Madison, Melbourne six day, and the Australian Madison Championships. I reckon we went all right, taking out Ocies and the Australian Madison, while getting taught a lesson on riding bikes at the Melbourne Six Day by Amy Cure and Ash.

AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL ROAD/CRIT CHAMPIONSHIPS 

As it had finished years previous, the Crit of the Australian National Criterium Championships finished with a bunch kick up the slight incline in Ballarat, despite the countless dangerous and desperate attacks at a breakaway. The bunch re-grouped and a late fly from the previous World Individual Champion, and previous teamie Rebecca Wiasik sealed the top step. I finished 4th overall, which was enough to take the u/23 title.

The Road Race around the iconic Buninyong definitely took its toll on my track legs, however; I managed to scrape onto the podium for a cheeky 3rd.

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Photo by Peter Dunlop

 

SANTOS TOUR DOWN UNDER 

Last but not least, is the signing with TIS for the 2018 season. I was given the opportunity to ride with them for the 20th edition of the Tour Down Under. The four stages provided some of the hardest tour racing I’ve experienced in my very short career… however, I’m not discrediting it.

Thank you to all who have made the past couple of months possible, and thanks for logging on and checking out the blog, its been good to catch up. Until next time, onwards and upwards.

Photo credit to Peter Dunlop, Kirsty Baxter, Con Chronis, you guys are the real MVP’s

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Worlds Wrap Up

IMG_7012.jpgHello, and welcome, thank you for tuning in once again to the Kristina weekly… that turned monthly to now a very belated worlds update.

What a big start to the year its been, and to say Im grateful for the opportunities that Ive had thus would be an understatement. My first world debut, it sounds good when I say it to myself, but competing in Hong Kong was merely the pinnacle of the journey.

 

The Journey: I was told before I departed to Adelaide by an opinion which I regard very highly,

 

“Be ambitious, get shit done, keep priorities straight, your mind right, and your head up.” 

I understood the concept but didn’t quite grasp the meaning. However, in Adelaide I understood. For the first time in my cycling career I have felt out of my comfort zone with the sheer talent of these women I was surrounded with. In saying that, I’d never felt so at home, yet so far away from home because of the women I was surrounded with. But as every cyclist who comes in and out of CA knows that cycling is hard, and if you are not 100% committed, there is a dozen other people who are, so my journey began into the elite ranks with high hopes, huge ambitions, a little bit of naivety, a wealth of knowledge surrounding me and a quote which I was yet to discover the meaning.

 

Hong Kong. The beautiful concrete jungle that managed to change my entire view of cycling. Event after event and world champion after world champion each with their own story, own journey, background, upbringing. Whether Kristina Vogel a multiple world champion or Mohd Azizulhasni Awang from Malaysia each one pulled some heart strings as they pulled on the rainbow jersey.

 

However, the obvious favourite for me was watching Jordan Kerby win the IP  and is something I will remember forever. Being a Queenslander and a good friend, I watched him ride a 4:12, however the moments after will stay with him… and me forever, heck I still get a lump in my throat just thinking about it

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Jordan Kerby’s Gold Ride 

 

He is the definition of success, he is the definition of a athlete and through that ride he sparked a flame of determination because the way he raced, and his entire persona, is the way its meant to be done. Becoming a World Champion the way Kerby became World Champion, thats what I dream of.

 

Cycling is not a sport, its a test. A test of ones ability to remain physically and mentally strong and endure the repercussions if it turns out, or doesn’t. Its tests a person to their extremes, however; when surrounded by good people, with the right priorities, and the right mindset, the test, mentally or physically will be conquered.

 

Enjoy the journey.
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Track Nationals 2017

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The Queensland Team 2017 || Photo credit to John Veage

Race one for me was the 3km Individual Pursuit… or the pursuit of happiness that isn’t so happy. As a first year in the elite ranks I went out with the mentality that I would be going for a time rather than the u/19 mentality which I have been oh-so accustomed to of going for a place. So I started well and set a good rhythm, finishing in a time of 3:37. I was stoked.

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IP results || Kudos Cycling Australia

In the final I went up against Ash Ankudinoff and it felt like that moment in a movie where the damsel in destress says ‘what now!’ and the hero says, ‘I didn’t think this far!’ Like I said I was really going for a time, then a bronze medal ride off spiked up and that is something I didn’t think I would be doing for at least a couple of years. But I gotta keep everyone on their toes, even myself! After starting out like a house on fire and slowly bearing the brunt of Ash’s strength it was an honour to be beaten by such a classy athlete… even as much as filthy forth position sucks.

Huge kudos also goes out to Bec Wiasak from the High5 Dream Team who sealed the top step.

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Points Race || Photo credit to John Veage

Race two was the Points Race. Being the sole standing Queenslander against a strong field, it was never going to be easy. However, having the Anna Meares Velodrome filled with majority of Queenslanders banging on the fence as we rode past and cheering me on definitely made me feel like I wasn’t the only Queenslander in the bunch. This along with the bias commentary from Luke Lucas, a Queenslander through and through definitely helped! The 100 lap race was closely contested, as Alex Manly piped me in the last sprint claiming second on 21 points, Amy Cure just ahead of her on 29 points, and myself on 20 points.

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Photo credit to John Veage

Finally, the scratch race. Alike the points, I knew I had my hands full with a solid field of athletes all botching for a medal on the final race of nationals 2017. The Tasmanians were very strong in the points and worked together so well, this along with the South Aussies had ‘power in numbers’. The race really turned up with 10 or so to go. In the final laps Amy Cure showed me the reason why she’s World Champ and Olympian, I was stoked to be able to race people of her calibre, and thrilled to be able to come away with a silver.

The video of the scratch race can be found at: (Its the 24 minute video, click the right arrow on the video if it takes you straight to the sprint rounds)

http://cycling.org.au/News/All-News/TrackNats-Day-4-LIVE-stream

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The scratch race podium || Photo by John Veage

I was not born the last time Queensland held a National championship, and now to compete on a world class velodrome amongst world class athletes in my home state is something very special. The Commonwealth Games are just around the corner and in 14 months time athletes worldwide will spill into this venue and compete at one of the highest levels. To be apart of the inaugural event was something I will tell to my grandkids.

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The Anna Meares Velodrome packed with QLD supporters || Photo by John Veage

Out on the track, cycling can look like a very individual sport, however many people contribute to my development. My coach/ counsellor/ sports psych Nick Formosa, the entire QAS crew that helped out over Nationals plus the athletes for always having my back, the High5 dream team, which includes Kim Palmer, Griffith University for their recent support, the Commonwealth Games Development  Team, the Sunny Coast Club, my parents; Sylvia and Mal, also my boyfriend Sam, every supporter than made the trek out in that horrific traffic and everyone on the Saturday coffee grind.

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Starting of the Comm Games hype with Boribi making an appearance
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She’s very proud of her achievements

 

Tour Down Under 2017

On the roadside of watching the mens national road race at Ballarat, downing an ice cream after I convinced myself that I’d never ride another hill again, I got a call from Kim Palmer asking if I’d like to race Tour Down Under as one of my teamies were injured. This would be my first UCI race, against some of the worlds top names, racing against girls with experience that I dream to have, so as you could imagine no hill could deter me from that offer.

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High5 Dream Team 2017 

The highlight for me was stage 2; 14 laps around a 2.3km with crowds of people surrounding the circuit, supporting, making noise, banging,  ringing bells, some in superhero clothes and others in not a lot of clothing at all!

 

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Sign on to Stage 1 TDU

At the start line our DS Kim, passed me a bidden to replace my empty water, being 36 degrees, jostling amongst the Europeans who are not shy for some argy-bargy, elbows out action, without thinking I poured what I thought was water all over my head in attempt to cool off, about 30 seconds later as the liquid began to stick to the back of my neck did I realise it was not water, it was hot, sticky electrolight… It was a fun 33km from then on that’s for sure.

 

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I had good position coming in 3 laps to go with team mate Emily Roper on my wheel
followed by our sprinter Bec Wiasak, the ideal situation for any train. With the pace high, I started the lead out early and we simply ran out of people, however; the legs were good, the team was good, we were all there and as we continue to ride together I have no doubt in the long season to come we will execute many perfect lead outs.
My Aunty Ingrid, who is Adelaide born and bred,  came to watch the racing over the last few days, as she has for the past 8 or so years because it’s such a huge event for Adelaide and the cycling community worldwide. It’s the best of the best and there are very few names missing from this huge event in the cycling calendar. She was telling me that in 2009 she was on the phone to my Mum (her sister) and said she was going to watch the Tour Down Under, Mum replied ignorantly, “What’s that?”… Thankfully my mum is much more educated now to the way of the world and is an active cycler & enthusiast of such an amazing event.

It was great to be given the opportunity to race against the worlds best, and in a team with so much potential as we progress through the season. Thank you to all our sponsors and organisers who made this possible. To Kim and Tom for stressing everything is perfect so we didn’t have to.

Thanks to Bart for doing the Teams photoshoot, some of my favourites are below but check out the website for the full gallery:

http://www.high5dreamteam.com/news/2017-high5-dream-team-launch/

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Jr Track Worlds Switzerland – 2016

We left our Adelaide home bound for Singapore, then Switzerland with high hopes, big dreams and distinct smell of bleach which reeked the apartments. The long running tradition for the males to bleach their hair was recognised and executed among the entire team, as the females played hair-dresser, and the males waited anxiously as their hair turned strawy and blond. However all were in good spirits, and embraced the oh-so attractive tradition gracefully.

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The boys getting their hair dyed

The enormous Singapore airport is a playground for a money-blowing experience, but it turns out there is only so much spending, swimming and consumption of Pork buns that can be done until sitting on a plane for 12 hours sounds attractive. As the weary eyed team fought against time differences, we were soon sky high and on our way to Zürich, Switzerland.

We had about a week to settle into the scenic Aigle. Our accommodation was about a 30 minute drive from the velodrome, and settled amongst some pretty impressive bergs… I was definitely glad that we were there for track. We were able to visit Leysin, a mountain top town, which allowed for an amazing view of an already amazing country. The Swiss summer definitely did not disappoint, with clear blue skies which allowed for a clear view of the snow topped mountains and 30 degree days which made for a fast track!!

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The 200m track was definitely an experience, the tight bends and short straights made for steep bankings and a hefty amount of G-Force to be felt. Day 1 of the championships was the qualifying round of the team pursuit. We all knew exactly what we had to do, our form and preparation was second to none, it was just focusing and doing what we had done a million times in training. As my previous coach Warren McDonald used to say, ‘keep it smooth, keep it strong’, and that kept repeating through my head as we rode through the 4k in a time of 4:36: 762, which put us in 3rd place heading into the semis with a new Australian record!

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Team pursuit results and splits

Full results from racing can be found at: http://jrworlds2016.veloresults.com/index.php

The second day was round two of the TP, we were 3 seconds down from the kiwis, which we needed to beat to make it into the gold/silver ride off later tonight. From the qualifying it was evident that the kiwis began to split up in the final laps, however still managed to produce a good time. Our plan for round 2 was to put them under pressure in the first half of the race hopefully provoking a split. Unfortunately the legs were not there for the hard ride we knew was necessary. We went in thinking its all or nothing, and that day unfortunately did not play out for the Australians. However, despite our disappointment, the development we made as a team and individually could count as a win in it’s own right.

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Day 1/2 || Team Pursuit || Photo Credit to Photo Eponne
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Day 1 || Team Pursuit Qualifying || Photo Credit tO Photo Eponne

Day 3 was scratch race day! I qualified 4th in my heat which put me through to the final later that night. The pace was off at the start, but few attacks started in the second half which picked up the speed. An bold move from Rebecca Raybould from Great Britain at 10 laps to go saw a gap in the field. This was shortly followed by Devaney Collier from Canada, who was stuck in no mans land, unable to bridge. Then Lucie Jounier from France went to complete the top three out the front. At 3 to go I began to wind up, however; despite some pace I left it 3/4 of a lap too late, just catching France in the last straight. Massive kudos goes to Raybould for her smart move which payed off.

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Day 3 || Scratch Race || Photo credit to Cycling Australia

My last race was held on Day 4, the woman’s madison. This was the first women’s madison held at a world standard in both the jr and senior rankings, so it was exhibition event, but a wins a win, so my partner Nicola Macdonald and I showed up at the start line ready for some good racing. The 100 laps went as a bit of blur, with everyone everywhere, but it was down to Great Britain, the other Aussie team (Australia 1) and ourselves (Australian 2). With 30 laps to go we were 2 points behind GB, we fought hard to surpass their lead in the sprints, however on the day they proved too strong. As the final results were Australia 1, Great Britain, then Australia 2 rounding off the podium, I am very honoured to say that I came third in the first ever women’s madison. 

The madison for women is an awesome initiative and I am so glad that women are seen as equals in a male dominated sport. Our race was very fast and very intense, and I think we proved that we are just as capable as the men. I hope all the spectators enjoyed the race as much as we did and hopefully next year rainbows will be rewarded for the efforts of some incredible women.

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Day 4 || Women’s Madison || Photo credit to Cycling Australia

My first and last Jr Track worlds is done and dusted, and what a championship it was with a record number 317 athletes from 43 different countries, 4 world records were broken in 4 days, so the competition this year was hot. My experience while wearing the green and gold skinsuit was beyond anything I could have ever imagined, and this is thanks to a number of people who dedicate so much of their time to the progression of myself and many athletes. Jason Niblett, Sean Eadie, Rik Fulcher, the mechanics (Ray and John). My coach back home Nick Formosa, Warren McDonald, Merv McDonald, The Queensland Academy of Sport, Cycling Australia, The Commonwealth Games Association, everyone that contributed to my GoFundMe page.  My parents for all their support and for treking all the way here to fly the Aussie flag high, and Sam for keeping me half sane

Onward and upward from here. Ill keep you updated!

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Adelaide Track Camp 2016

We are soon bound for Switzerland and to say I’m excited would be an understatement. The past two weeks in Adelaide have been cold, provoking 5 layers of clothing on a typical reco ride.. 5! However; working on ‘pro-hours’ is definitely something I could get used to. Wake up late, eat, ride, sleep repeat. On the track we have done Team pursuit practise, team pursuit practise, and more team pursuit practise. Practising our swings and lines and starts and finishes and everything involved so our TP runs like clockwork. I think we have progressed really well as a team on and off the bike, and I cant wait to see how we compare to the worlds best. Yet, despite some ripper form, it all depends on the day, and the advice from Kaarle Mcculloch, a previous Olympian, is ADAPT. Going from the outdoor 330m track to the 250m in Adelaide makes for different pacing and conditions, however; the track in Switzerland is 200m, making for change again. We get to Switzerland on the 13th of July, and racing starts on the 20th, so we have about a week to have a ride on the track, settle into the time zone and adapt to whatever Switzerland has to offer.

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Photo to Con Chronis

Off the bike Rik Fulcher, our manager, organised a number of seminars, including cooking classes so we can survive on more than 2 minute noodles. Other than that we have had social media talks and personal excellence talks.

We have been able to rub shoulders and access that vast knowledge bank of the HPU squad heading to Rio, and this is thanks to Rik and many people behind the scenes at Cycling Australia so that we can take the most away from this camp and apply it to the future.

Again, I would like to thank everyone for their support, you guys are incredible! Hopefully in less than a month we can turn these green and gold strips into some rainbows! I’ll keep you updated…

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Riding to and from the track in freezing Adelaide || Photo credit to Brooke Tucker

Melbourne International Track Series

5 Days ago I left the Sunny Queensland, where the coldest day in winter means you wear socks, not thongs, “Pack warm” Mum said as she stuffed another jumper into my suitcase preparing me for the 6 week journey to Melbourne, then Adelaide and the last stop; Switzerland. However when she brought out the thermal underwear I thought she might be overdoing it. Neither-the-lest, Melbourne exceeded all expectations, recording the coldest week of the year, and the thermals became a valuable clothing item.

 The Melbourne ITS is a crucial opportunity for riders of all nations to test the legs before major competitions. For me, that is the UCI Jr Track World Championships in July. There are multiple races over the 5 day track cycling marathon, staring Wednesday, finishing Sunday, all designed for a leg cooking good time.

The Melbourne ITS started with a bang, with a crash in the first scratch race, however; most riders rejoined the highly contested race where the New Zealanders kept us on our toes. Despite some attacks, the race came down to a sprint finish where Victorias local, Ruby Roseman- Gannon gave me a run for my money in a sprint finish. The legs were thankfully there and I managed to pip her on the line.

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Scratch Race- Day 1 – Photo by Con Chronis

The second day consisted of another scratchy. Some hardy attempts at a break from NZs Dummonds, lead to the counter attack that saw Ruby and myself with a gap. We were shortly joined by Western Australia’s Jade Haines who completed the trio. However, with no New Zealand colours present in the front they pursued a chase which split the field. Drummond attacked with 3 laps to go as Jade and I hopped on her wheel, however neither of us had the legs to contest the strong New Zealander, finishing 2nd and 3rd respectively.

The third day was the much anticipated Tasman Cup where Australians and New Zealanders went head to head in the team pursuit. Riding off against the reigning world champion team; New Zealand. We knew we had our hands full however after the previous days of racing the Aussie girls showed some good form and I was very keen to lay down a time and see where we were at. In the final, after qualifying fastest, we started out with an early advantage and managed to hold it for the 4k, finishing in a time of 4:46:030 to New Zealand’s 4:46:948. I am very happy with how we went for our first trial run, and I am looking forward to see how we progress as a team heading into D-Day in July.

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Team Pursuit – Day 3 – Photo by NSWIS

Both Jr. men and women teams won their respective team pursuits, which gives us a bit of a confidence boost heading into the coming month. However, if last years results were any consolation, the New Zealanders will not settle for second. Tomorrow we head to Adelaide for a two week training camp, under the guidance of Jason Niblett, who, from what I’ve been told, also wont settle for second. 

Thank you for all the support from everyone to get me where I am, everyone who donated on my fund and came out and watched. Massive kudos goes out to Nick Formosa. Having not done a TP before, I felt very good, and that is massively due to his coaching and advice.

My GoFundMe page

https://www.gofundme.com/k4wyqstk

Mersey Valley 2016

We were a bunch of drowned rats at this years Mersey Valley tour in Tassie, with torrential rain, 50knot winds, and a tonne of crashes forecasted. We started on Friday the 29th of April and went through to the Sunday, with a 16.8km Time Trial, a Roadie in Guns Plains and we finished the tour in Sheffield with another roadie.

I had a bit of pre-warning about the courses from last years experiences, but the Tassie hills never fail to get the legs screaming. The TT course is situated along the shore line, receiving winds that sweep across the Pacific, that along with rain made the course very difficult, but what would we expect? It’s Tasmania! I finished 3rd in a time of 23:43,which I am content with as hard-core training for worlds is yet to begin.

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The road courses were not suited to my kind of physique, however, the strength training they provide is second to none. There were some pretty hectic crashes on the down-hill as riders attempted to stretch out the field, by scaring timid riders to slow. However those heroes paid the ultimate price. With 5 or so crashes throughout the race. Luckily, I managed to stay clear of any incidents, finished with all my skin in tact.

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The second roadie was neutralised to the bottom the first decent because of extreme weather conditions, and despite the neutralisation the peloton was still unsteady, all fighting for a front position to stay out of trouble. The rain made it difficult to see, and along side a Queenslanders worst enemy, freezing weather, right from the get go I knew I was going to be given a run for my money. The 25km loop had a 2.6km hill which stretched the field. And with back wheels slipping left-right and centre, the saddle was the only safe option. I found myself in a small group who managed to chase. However everyone was everywhere in last 10km which was up a steady climb. Definitely sorting out the mountain goats to, well, me.

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The QAS staff were so incredible and made it a great learning experience, I am now looking forward to getting back on the track in the coming weeks and getting my legs turning track style.

If you would like to support my trip to Switzerland in July, please have a look at my go fund me page. The support so far has been amazing, you guys are awesome! 

https://www.gofundme.com/k4wyqstk