Last Wednesday I headed north from Melbourne to go to Bathurst NSW to compete in the 2nd round of the National Para-Cycling Series. I had missed the first round because the Fitzroy Mega Swim had been on the same weekend. I was really looking forward to my first serious racing of the year and what was better was that there were 4 Trikes entered! This is a first for Australia, usually I am there by myself or with one other but have never had 4, so I was excited! There were three T2 riders and one T1.
After a quick visit with Margo, my ‘Aussie Mum’, I made it to Bathurst on Thursday, albeit in absolutely pouring rain! I was just hoping that the weekend would be better for the racing. I was staying right on the Bathurst car racing circuit and WOW what a place. Mount Panorama is home of the 8 hour Bathurst V8 Car Race and my husband Russ is crazy about this race. Well he would have been in heaven here, but photos would have to suffice for him this trip!
On Friday night I had entered my first ever Keirin at the Bathurst Cycling Club track as part of the NSW State Handcycle/Trike Track Championships. Usually trikes don’t ride on tracks as they are too steep, but this track was outside and a fairly flat 400m track. I had never motor-paced behind a scooter so there were a lot of firsts happening! But what a blast I had! For those of you who don’t know what a Keirin is, I had to do 5 laps of the track, building each lap. With a lap and a half to go the scooter pulled off and I was on my own and with 200m to go I just put the head down and went for it. Even though there wasn’t much of a camber on the track that last 200m certainly was interesting keeping the trike cornering! I covered the last 200m in 19.11 seconds with an average speed of 37.67 km/hr, so I became the T2 champion by default because none of the other trikes wanted to take part.
Saturday morning the weather was perfect for the Individual Time Trial. It was an out and back course, but boy was it deceiving. It was a false flat for the 5km out and a fairly dead road, so the going was a bit tough, but coming back was fabulous! I completed the 10.2km in 19:04 and won by just over 4 minutes, so was very happy with the effort.
Sunday morning it was very overcast and the dark menacing clouds threatened rain. As I drove to the start of the course I saw that the rain had already gone through the area and the roads were fairly wet. The course wasn’t very technical so I didn’t see that the wet roads would be a problem. It was a fairly straight forward course, doing the ITT course from the day before then back through the small town of Perthville, straight out to a turn around and back. I must say though that on the way from Perthville to the turn around we had one hell of a head wind! But on the way back was fabulous with a tail wind that pushed me towards 50 km/hr! In the end I won the Road Race by just over 8 minutes, so I took the overall Leaders Jersey. But I must say that it was fabulous to have Steve, Gabrielle and Bianca out there with me. We also had another Trike rider come out to watch, so hopefully we can get him riding next year.
I certainly enjoyed myself this past weekend and I must say a huge THANK YOU to all the people who made the weekend possible. Toireasa Gallagher from the Bathurst Cycling Club put the whole weekend together and the volunteers were amazing! Thanks also to Gary Foley for putting the track event on and thanks also to the Cycling Australia officials who gave up their weekend to help make it happen. Last but not least, thanks to all those riders in all categories who came out to take part. We had 25 riders from quite a few different categories and I really hope to see this series grow.
To round up the weekend, I had completely forgotten that the Victorian Cycling Awards were on Friday night at DISC and about 8:30 pm I received a text from my friend Hannah MacDougall congratulating me on winning Victorian Female ParaCyclist of the Year. Then she also stated that I had taken out the “Big” one, Victorian Cyclist of the Year!! I was stunned, extremely honoured and proud to win this against riders who are idols to me, Cadel Evans, Simon Gerrans, Shane Perkins, Michael Gallagher, Paul van der Ploeg and young guns Alex Morgan and Josh Callan. I think I am still in shock and can’t believe it.
I hope that I can inspire people to take a chance, live life to the fullest and just go out and do what you enjoy. Make enjoyment your choice, I enjoy the challenges of cycling and find that the more I enjoy it, the better life is and you never know what can happen!