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Kiwi Summer

by Emily Collins

Sure has been a busy few months down under!

After that much needed break back in October I’ve been back on the bike since enjoying the bits and patches of NZ summer; chilling with family and catching up with mates + a fair bit of travel to and fro to different events here in NZ and across the ditch in Auccie *(Aussie)


I’ve been happy to come away with a few podiums and a bit of prize mulla while out there which has been cool and it’s nice to have a change of competition and scene in racing – safe to say I’m a lot more relaxed racing in NZ.!

I started off with the NZ crit nationals which I decided to contest mid November on fairly minimal fitness! I was happy to hang in there though and make it to 2nd. Following that it was down to Taupo for the OPI women’s road race. OPI put on a fantastic event for us girls and it was great to see so many youngsters out giving it a good shot. The race itself was quite exciting for a relatively small peloton and coming over Hatepe hill into the final 20km things were definitely heating up. It came down to a small bunch sprint where I was just pipped on the line by class act Rushlee Buchanan. She’ll be back racing on the road this season which is cool.

Following Taupo I was lucky enough to be jet setting off to sunny Fiji with the Collins fam. We had a fantastic week there of sun, surf and fam bonding. Duty did call however so I bought my bike over for some trainer sesh’s to keep up to scratch for the next event on the calendar. Thank goodness for quality air con!

Next on the cards was straight from Fiji to Sydney for the NSW Grand prix series in AUS aka the best event of the year. This has got to be one of the most enjoyable races on my calendar – the racing itself is good fun and challenging to top it off but the best thing about the event is the chilled, easy going, fun atmosphere. They never fail to put on a great weekend for us kiwis! We cruised on over with a solid group of girls and lads to take on our Aussie competitors in Cronulla and Wollongong, Sydney.

The boys of L&M racing; James Canny, Tom Ashley, Joe Chapman and Aaron Gate did a fantastic job with Aaron (such a TANK) taking 3rd overall in the series against some seriously top competition. Us girls had a tight little team of Reta Trotman, Kate Chilcott, Soph Williamson and myself and were lucky enough to be racing for the Bates Bikes shops – CHEERS guys.

After some pretty aggressive racing throughout the first stage it ended up coming down to a bunch kick where I took 3rd Soph close behind in 4th. This set us in a good spot for one of us to take the overall series (points based).

Wollongong on day 2 was a nightmare with horrendous winds blowing a gail. Really was a worry for the light weights! It was another full gas, exciting criterium and with only ten minutes to go the field had whittled down to just 12. Attacks were flying like crazy and after 2 Jayco Aus girls went for it with 4 laps to go Soph took a flier just following and held it to take 3rd on the stage with me finishing 5th. This took Soph up to 1st overall which was a pretty fantastic effort! We were stoked to say the least. She goes incredibly good for a young gun and is definitely one to watch in the coming years!!

That big W called for some much deserved celebrations on the Aussie town that night and as per usual the festivities proved to be a great. Joe Chapman for the 3rd consecutive year took the prize for having the most ‘entertaining’ d floor moves. Congrats Joe.

Following NSW it was back home to get some decent miles in, earn a bit of coin and get prepared for Europe 2013. Next focus would be my new team Wiggle Honda’s debut event; The Bay crits in Melbourne beginning new years day.
After some beach time at Waihi post Christmas I was off NYeve to Aussie to meet some of the team, test out the new (VERY cool) equipment and get set for some seriously speedy crit racing.

On arrival I was greeted by new Aus teamies; Rochelle Gilmore, Lauren Kitchen and guest rider Jess Mundy followed by German Anna Schnitzmeier. Was great to meet the girls and start some team bonding – lovely group!

Anna, Lauren, Rochelle, Jess and me (trying to be serious but clearly not succeeding)!

From there we were off to Geelong to get set up on our sweet new Colnago rides. I was chuffed. Was like Christmas all over and only a week later – not bad at all!

Over the 3 days of racing we had some good moments and bad. You will definitely get that when you are on a new team with new faces, racing styles and equipment. Once we’ve ridden together a few times I’m very confident it will all come together for us!
Rochelle was able to pull off an impressive 3rd place on day 1 after some very aggressive racing by the Wiggle Honda girls throughout. This set the team up for a good 3 days in the series but unfortunately due to mechanical issues day 2 it set us back a bit. Day 3 was probably the toughest day in blistering Melbourne heat. These Aussie girls really know how to drill it when things are tough and I was at my limit for the big majority of the race. Harden the f**k up was a regular thought…! I rolled in 5th after battling through the pain cave. For us Wiggle Honda girls, we were definitely worked over by the very strong Orica GreenEdge girls who with 8 riders outnumbered us a wee bit. Congrats to them for taking out the series and for making it some very exciting racing.

Emily W'town

From Melbourne I was back home to worry about getting things sorted for Europe. Things like insurance, licences and Visas are things often overlooked and can take a lot of time and effort behind the scenes. Mish and a half to be clear! Once I was seemingly on top of these things I was able to try and clear my head and get prep’d for road nationals in Christchurch that weekend.

Big congratulations to rising star and good friend Courteney Lowe on taking the title. She had an incredible race out there and after only recently returning from career changing hip surgery she has bounced back surprisingly well and shocked us to take the Win. I’ve known Court many years now through the sport and fair to say she is a very well deserved winner and will do that jersey justice no doubt over in the USA for her team Optum. You go girl!

Unfortunately for me it just wasn’t my day at all out there. I struggled from the gun and was disappointed to not be there for the closing sprint. I rolled through in 10th and was pretty gutted with my day. As a cyclist I know everyone has these days but it’s frustrating to know you’ve done the hard yards and then it doesn’t work out. Bummer but looking back at my preparation it probably wasn’t the best with mainly focusing on crit events in the build up. We all have bad days out there so time to put it in the basket and move on to better, bigger things!

Lucky for me I have an exciting, long season ahead I am very much looking forward to in Europe. Bring on the 2013 international season!

Other than that it was a very well run event once again – cheers Tailwind events and BikeNZ for making it a solid few days. Christchurch never fails to put on a good show too so thanks to all those giving a yell out there up Dyers! And big ups to George Bennett for his very top ride in the mens race – big future ahead for that one – 1 better next year!

Now, I’m in the midst of packing up a storm for Europe – trying to juggle my winter and summer gears and squeeze all into one suitcase. Definitely a challenging task at hand! I’m off to Europe on Saturday to begin my adventures with Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling and can’t wait. Our first big event together will be the team launch in London followed by the women’s Tour of Qatar late January! Watch this space for updates and check out the Wiggle Honda team website where you can meet the team and check out our social media pages for updates.

Thanks to team sponsors and management for coming together and making this happen for us, especially team owner and rider Rochelle Gilmore who has put countless days and hours into it. I know everyone is very excited about the season ahead!

Emily Collins Stage 2 Bay Crits

Emily Collins Stage 2 Bay Crits

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