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Sunday, January 31, 2010

Tour de Femme - 8th November 2009 - Canberra

"You better not take off on me like you did last time Caz." Bron said

"What?" Caz asked, feeling affronted.

"Well, you're SO competitive."

"Am not. YOU are."

My two best friends then agreed to finish together, no matter what.

As they rode past the Falun Gong demonstrators - the first major bend - Bron took off and soon disappeared.

"FINE!" Caz yelled after her.

For 20 successful years, the Tour de Femme (TDF) has attracted the competitive rider - the elite and the not so - and the eager participant looking for fun. It's a day where the roads around Lake Burley Griffin are briefly conquered by around 600 bicycles.

The likes of Oenone Wood, Alison Wright, Kim Palmer, and Tracey Gaudry have their names etched in the honour roll. Even at the height of her international success, if she could, Oenone would take part in the TDF. (That's one of the reasons why she's one of Tourdecouch's favourite all-time riders). That's what's great about it: if you're just looking to have a giggle and finish, you still feel special because you know you're riding in the same race - effectively - as Australian cycling royalty.

This year, Kirsty Broun - Australian crit champion and who's had a pretty good year competing here and overseas - pipped Chloe Hosking and Jessie McLean. They covered the relatively pancake 20km parcours in 30:28.

But back to my trash talking besties. How did they fare?

Bron was a winner. She's pretty fit, but only got back on the bike a few weeks before this year's TDF after I don't know how long. She razored 15 minutes off her 2007 time and came 261st out of 596. She felt good, was in a zone and loved every minute of it.

And Caz was a winner too. Despite her DNA, she did enjoy NOT taking things so seriously.

I remember what happened the last time. They both took off on me. However, Caz didn't even start with us. She saw a friend she used to bunch ride with who happened to be clad in retro cycling gear. Caz gave Bronnie and I the once over with our clunky bikes and our daggy non-kit then quietly moved off on her light tri roadie to find a better place to start in the bunch with her friend. We were clearly holding her back.

She said later about this year's TDF "I was even slower than the year my chain came off and got stuck in the derailleur. I was even slower than the obese lady on a circus bike - she kicked my arse, and her bike went squeak, squeak, squeak - I'll always remember that squeak - under the pressure as she rode past me on the final sprint. I really need to start exercising again...so much pain."

But she too loved every minute of it.

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