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Camp de Femme – Bathurst 2012


Our surprise visitor

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.

As you would expect with 30 women we all came from different backgrounds and varied in age from early 20s to 60s so 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 the d2f gym in Bathurst to hear from proprietor Mark Simons 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/coaches about exercise physiology, stretching, nutrition, bike mechanic tips, racing and race etiquette. Stay tuned for a few future blog posts based on these talks.

The weekend was organised by the fabulous Donna Meehan who runs her own coaching business called domestique and she was very ably assisted by Jenny Triggs, Marion Renshaw, Melanie Reiter, Kala, Paul Meehan, Andrew McLean (Macca) and the great staff at Bathurst Goldfields Hotel.

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, and a special thank you to my room mates Charlene and Diane (who by a major coincidence attended Mitchell College in Bathurst [now CSU] with me all those years ago). I know many of us will meet again in the near future.


  1. Hi Nicola
    Loved the blog. The camp was awesome.
    Hope to see you around on that bike if you are every up Berowra way

  2. Nicola,
    dito on your blog comments. A wonderful weekend, made even more wonderful by Donna and coaching team.
    Look forward to catching up threw my new cycling club, LACC.

  3. Hi Nicola,
    I am exceedingly jealous! It sounds fantastic… if only I didn’t live on the far north coast I would love to have attended. I will make the effort if there is another one next year or sooner. Being the only regular female cyclist in a group of around 20 men I dream of these kind of events!

  4. Great write up Nicola, was a fabulous weekend and I hope we will see new found friends out racing. Looking forward to the photos!


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