Womens Tour Of Thailand | Aiyana Currie

Tour of Thailand UCI race started for me in February at the Cycosports Nongsa Classic where I raced against Sarah-Jeanne Fraser Hollands and came within a second of beating her. She liked my skills and asked me to join her at TOT as an alternate. She had put together a team in January that included well known Singapore faces Dinah Chan, Serene Lee, Wendy Yap as well as Julia Kalotas from Australia. When Dinah had to pull out, I was in. 
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This was all of our first UCI race & we were up against some regional powerhouses. We were the only club team & the only team made up of people who cycle in our "spare time". For all the other teams - a combination of pro & national teams from China, Hong Kong, Japan, Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia & Thailand - cycling is their full time job. 

However from an onlookers standpoint, we held our own. 

Support included OCBC Pro team manager Justin Cheong who gave us structure & direction (and an ear), an awesome mechanic 'Dac' from Chiang Mai who washed & readied our bikes daily & Singapore Joyriders key man Sebastian Varguese as soigneur magnificent. 
Looking to begin their UCI debuts with a bang

Three days of tough racing:
Day 1: 115km @ 40kmph average. Terrain was flat. Lots of jostling for position, massive attacks, counter attacks, pace varied from 35-60+ kmph. We had a plan and stuck to it - chase breaks, attack when logical, line up Jules for the sprint, communicate. Almost everything went to plan. For me the biggest lessons learned were to fight harder & more confidently to maintain position in the peleton. I spent too much energy getting pushed back then riding back up the side. I was ok w this at the time since it made me feel safe. Coolest moment: attacking w 5km to go to start a chase, which in turn helped our sprinter get into position on a fast train to the finish. She grabbed 4th in the stage in the bunch sprint.
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Day 2: 85km @ 40kmph average. 
Lot less jostling - it was like a second date - we already knew each other, it was time to get serious. The attacks stuck stronger, the terrain included more rollers & a section of very rough road (yuck), and the pace was steadier, but certainly harder than day 1. I was more confident, and felt strong to give an attack and go again. Sadly our sprinter was brought down in the last 50m and broke her collar bone. Sad end to a good tour for Julia.

Day 3: 88km @ 38kmph average. Flat terrain w headwind the first half & a nasty section of rough road where the most comfortable position on my bike was to not actually sit. Thai team controlled the stage w their sprinter in yellow. With our sprinter out of the race, it was our day to have a go at various tactics. Most fun moment for me: I was feeling great w 10km to go so I launched an attack and managed to stay away for a few kms. The best part was looking back & seeing the pack almost near, then pushing a bit harder - repeat, repeat, repeat, then caught. Fun stuff. Oh and I managed to stay within the top third of the pack 90% of the time - w more confidence & gumption!

There was so much more to the race & the perspectives of the other racers as well. If you see us, please ask us about it! As you can probably tell, I thoroughly enjoyed it & would love the chance to do it again. 

The organizers were thrilled. Apparently we all gave them a great race, while in the past the women's races were much less exciting & slower. 
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Stats for me: GC 23 out of 45 starters 
Stats for the team: 9 out of 9 teams. Serene was our best placed in 20th.
http://m.todayonline.com/sports/looking-begin-their-uci-debuts-bang
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