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Women cyclists saddle up in Bathurst

By Nicola Rutzou, ABC Central West

 

Cycling NSW held a women's cycling camp in Bathurst from October 26-29. Nicola Rutzou, who blogs about her love of cycling at Women Who Cycle, wrote this account of her experiences at "Camp de Femme".

I've just returned from an awesome long weekend in country NSW where I learned so much about bike riding in a short space of time.

The four day event, organised by Donna Meehan under the auspices of Cycling NSW, was held in the central western NSW town of Bathurst and was attended by about 30 women who all have one thing in common - a love for cycling.

It was informative, fun, exhilarating and exhausting and ran from Friday morning to Monday mid-morning.

We all came from different backgrounds and varied in age from early 20s to 60s, so there was a great mix of people to learn from each other. Most were from Sydney in various locations but there were also participants from Canberra and Bathurst.

We rode each day with the rides varying in intensity and purpose. The first day the ride started in Perthville, which is a small town near Bathurst, and its purpose was to get to know each other a little and for the coaches to assess our riding ability and confidence.

On the second day we started out with a morning skills session which was held at the local netball courts. We practiced skills like riding with one hand, riding side by side (nice and closely), picking up objects and putting them back and more. It was great for me because I have always been extremely nervous of taking my right hand off the handlebars and after this session I was handling it with ease.

Our ride on day two was a road race hosted by the Bathurst Cycling Club. We broke into three grades and raced around the country roads with support people on each of the major turns. It was great to put some of what we had learned the previous night from our guest speaker Mark Windsor into practice.

On Saturday night when most people are out socialising we headed for a gym in Bathurst to hear about gym workouts for female cyclists. It was a very informative talk and we all enjoyed it, but were stifling our yawns after such a big day on the bike.

Sunday's ride was planned to be about 100 km but thankfully our coaches reassessed after seeing how shattered we all were on Saturday night, and brought it back to a mere 45 km with some hill climbing practice. I'm sorry to say that I found the hill climbing just a bit much after two big days of training camp, so as we headed up Rockley Mountain I got off and walked a portion of the climb.

The highlight of our hill climbing was a surprise visit from coach Marion Renshaw's son Mark who is enjoying his home town of Bathurst during the off season.

Our final ride was a recovery ride on Monday morning of about 40 km which was once again enjoyable.

In between all this riding we heard from various speakers and coaches about exercise physiology, stretching, nutrition, bike mechanic tips, racing and race etiquette.

The highlight for me was meeting so many like-minded women who were all very inspiring, so thank you to everyone who attended for sharing so much... I know many of us will meet again in the near future.

Read more on Nicola's blog, Women Who Cycle.

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Dated - 02.11.2012

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