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WCN quicklink >>  World Championship Diary  Pre-Worlds Interview    Worlds Fundraiser evening    

                                 Kowalski Tour - June 2006   Junior National Training - June 2006   Mooball Tour - May 2006    

                                Tour of Canberra - April 2006


Also, see Peta Mullen's Commonwealth Games interview  Click here




Peta Mullens' 2006 Diary

In a bid to gain selection for the Australian Junior World Road Championships squad, Peta Mullens, Tess Downing and Lisa Friend rode one of the nominated selection races, the Tour of Canberra. The three are Under 19 and were racing against their own age category and also against Elite women such as Kate Nichols, Emma Mackie and Kate Mercer.

Mooball Tour  

Friday 12th May - Sunday 14th May

The final Junior World Selection Race was held in the Burringbar Ranges in Northern NSW over the weekend. With the Junior Women mixing it once again with the Elite, there was some difficult and exciting racing on show. Josie Loane proved her worth by taking out the double in the two road races, while U19 rider Josephine Tomic put in a phenomenal ride in the time trial, resulting in the outright winner.

Myself and fellow Victorian Junior Females, Lisa Friend and Tess Downing ventured up the coast to prove our worth.


Friday 12th May - Time Trial 16.2kms

The course, situated in northern NSW between two small yet uniquely named towns, Pottsville and Mooball, served as the location for the first of three days of racing. The time trial of 16.2kms consisted of violently rough and bumpy roads, on an out and back circuit, considered to be relatively flat. The wind was scarce, but what existed proved to be a headwind for the first 4kms, followed by a 9km crosswind, concluding with a 4km tailwind.

Josephine Tomic, by far the favourite on the day as the course was exact to her liking, was second off the mark, and posted what proved to be an unbeatable time of 24:30mins. I found myself fourth last off, chasing a one minute gap to close rival Grace Sulzberger. But due to the shady trees and twists and turns in the course, there wasn’t many opportunities to compare a time-gap. I didn’t leave much out there for the return ride home, hoping the tailwind would be of great assistance. And after disappointment in my time trial at Canberra, I finished the ride quite pleased, and at the time, was the 5th fastest for the day. After all the girls had clocked a time I was placed 8th, resulting in 3rd U19W home.

Josephine Tomic was a convincing winner, with only Liz Young getting anywhere near her time, 12seconds down. Kate Mercer was third home in a time of 24:45mins, a turn-around after her win in Canberra. Courtney Le Lay rode impressively to finish 7th Elite, 47 seconds down on Tomic in a time of 25:17. While I was more than satisfied with 3rd U19W, 8th Elite, clocking a time of 25:28mins.


Time Trial - 16.2kms

The results include the Top 3 elite women, the Top 3 U19 and then Peta, Tess and Lisa's

1  Josephine Tomic    U19W                1st                24:30                WA

2  Liz Young              EliteW                                   24:42                QLD

3  Kate Mercer           EliteW                                   24:45                QLD

4  Vicki Eustace         EliteW                                   24:50                ACT

5  Jocelyn Loane         EliteW                                  25:01                QLD

6  Anouska Edwards    EliteW                                  25:13                QLD

7  Courtney Le Lay       U19W                2nd             25:17                QLD

8  Peta Mullens            U19W                3rd               25:28                VIC

9  Rushlee Buchanan    U19W                                   25:32                NZL

10 Rebecca Spence      U19W                                   25:35                NZL

23 Lisa Friend               U19W                6th                26:16                VIC

24 Tess Downing           U19W                7th                26:19                VIC


Saturday 13th May - Road Race #1 85kms

A short drive out to the course on the Friday night, followed by my first ever massage, had me waking up on Saturday with not only bruises on my legs, but negative thoughts on the difficult terrain I would be enduring today. Once again not much could be said about the roads we would be racing on, except that they were ‘unpleasant’. Hills were not only long, but steep, and descents allowed for a much needed recovery after each climb.

The field of 34 rolled off the start at 11:10am, heading for a 2km climb just 5kms into the race. It was here that I struggled, the very first hill, and figured that it would be a long and tiring day in the saddle. We descended for 4kms before the next hill, and the thought that I would have to climb back up what I had just come down on the ride home was almost heartbreaking. My legs felt shocking and as each hill came and went, they seemed to get worse.  The majority of the field remained together for the first lap, and I was lucky enough to be one of the 20 still there. Although, I was also one of the few who were forced to chase back on after every climb. The first hill on the second lap saw me crack, and after a 5km chase I headed home as one of the 9 girls to DNF for the day. The moral of this story? If you wake up with bruises on your legs, look forward to a bad day on the bike!

But the race goes on, and as she had been doing all day, Jocelyn Loane of Lifecycle Cycling Club continued to attack. To see her riding so strong, after remembering how she was struggling with me on the very first climb of the day, had me speechless. With 30kms to go, she finally broke from the filed and rode to a solo win, finishing minutes ahead of the bunch. In the closing 10kms, which included a 4km climb, Vicki Eustace tried her luck off the front, and was also able to hold off the bunch for second place. Not far behind was the sprint for 3rd, where the U19W showed their strength, filling the next 4 positions. Josephine Tomic, after a win in the time trial the previous day, took out an impressive 3rd placing considering her struggles during the race. This gave her the U19W win over the other 3 Australian U19W remaining in the bunch; Sulzberger 2nd, Cromwell 3rd and Emma Sonerson.

    Road Race 1 - 85kms

1  Josie Loane                        EliteW                    QLD

2  Vicki Eustace                     EliteW                    ACT

3  Josephine Tomic                  U19W     1st          WA

4  Rushlee Buchanan               U19W                     NZL       

5  Grace Sulzberger                 U19W   2nd                TAS

6  Tiffany Cromwell                  U19W     3rd                SA

7  Alicia Evans                         EliteW                    VIC

8  Kate Mercer                         EliteW                    QLD

9  Emma Crum                         U19W                     NZL

10 Deborah Fagg                      EliteW                    VIC

DNF Tess Downing                   U19W                     VIC

DNF Lisa Friend                        U19W                     VIC

DNF Peta Mullens                     U19W                     VIC


Sunday 14th May - Road Race #2 89kms

Once again, 34 starters fronted at 11:10am for another tough day in the Burringbar Ranges. All of a sudden a superstitious person, I had skipped my massage the night before in hope for a finish today. But considering the course was still ridiculously difficult, I was only hopeful to a certain extent. The pace seemed similar to the day before and, slowly, as many girls drifted off the back, the bunch deteriorated. I could feel for them! By the half way mark the field had been reduced to 15, with 4 Australian U19W still fighting for their place in the bunch.  On the third last climb, which was followed by a technical descent and some sketchy road works, the field began to disperse. Fortunately, one by one, the juniors, including myself, found their way back onto a bunch of just 7 girls.

It was clear who had the form on the day when approaching the second last hill…not me! I felt a lot worse than the previous day and had been cramping and suffering from dizzy spells for the majority of the race. It was Loane who set the blistering pace up the 1km steep climb located 15kms from the finish, taking fellow Queenslanders Mercer and Ryan, Victorian Alicia Evans, strong competitor Eustace, and U19 NZL riders Rushlee Buchanan and Rebecca Spence with her. As a result, the field dropped back to 7 and not a single Australian U19W remained. Cromwell continued to chase the bunch while Grace and myself resorted to defeat over the last climb.

Over the final 4km climb, Loane continued her attacking form, taking just Eustace with her this time for a short time trial to the finish. They powered away from the splintered field, giving them time to think tactical before the two-rider sprint to the finish. Once again, Loane was victorious over Canberra Cycling Clubs Vicki Eustace, scoring her the double for the weekend. Fellow Victorian Alicia Evans held on for third after powerful performances the previous day.

In the U19W category, Tiffany Cromwell took out her first win for the series, while I engaged in a sprint with an up and coming talent in Courtney Le Lay. I held on for 2nd, Le Lay finishing a close 3rd.

Road Race 2 - 89kms

1  Josie Loane                       EliteW                    QLD

2  Vicki Eustace                    EliteW                    ACT

3  Alicia Evans                      EliteW                    VIC

4  Rushlee Buchanan             U19W                     NZL       

5  Tiffany Cromwell                 U19W     1st            SA

6  Rebecca Spence               U19W                     NZL

7  Kate Mercer                       EliteW                    QLD

8  Carla Ryan                         EliteW                    QLD

9  Peta Mullens                     U19W    2nd             VIC

10 Courtney Le Lay                U19W    3rd                 QLD

24  Tess Downing                   U19W   7th                VIC

DNF Lisa Friend                      U19W                     VIC


So it wasn’t the best weekend, nor the best roads, nor the best results.

But we did have the best weather, the best racing, and the best flight home!


After the weekend, Grace Sulzberger walked away with the U19W National Series Points Jersey, giving her automatic selection for the Junior World Road Championships. And Josie Tomic has more than secured a place for herself in the Junior World Road Time Trial. Cromwell, Le Lay and myself are also hopeful for selection. The Junior World Road Team will be announced on May 23rd.  Click here to see the team media release


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