On Friday we travelled from Belgium to Germany to take part in the Cologne Classic, which was also the German National Championships. The weather was fantastic when we arrived in the town of Frechen where we were staying. However on Saturday morning the change in the weather was drastic! We went from a beautiful 25 degrees to 11 degrees within 12 hours. Needless to say it was going to be a very cold and windy ITT to start off.
It was great to see so many trikes taking part, there were 16 of us. The Time Trial was a mixed class (T1/T2) and gender (Men/Women) event with factoring to be put in place. I really wasn’t sure what time I would have to do to actually win the event but as I started last of the women my goal was to try and catch all of the 5 riders in front of me. I was able to do this and I was very happy with my first hit out, but I ended up in 3rd place once the factoring was put in place. My good friends Hans-Peter Durst MT2 (GER) was 1st and Shelley Gautier WT1 (CAN) was 2nd leaving me 16 seconds behind her in 3rd. It was really good to have 3 World Champions on the podium! It was also a good learning experience to show how much farther ahead I will have to be in order to win in Rio. (I won’t have to race the men in Rio but the Women both T1 and T2 will race against one another).
Sunday the Road Race was more of a Criterium with a closed road course of a 2.1km lap. The Trikes had to do 9 laps and we once again all started together. I loved the course, the corners weren’t too bad and all my crit training with St. Kilda Cycling Club paid off. I took off with the fastest men and eventually after a couple of laps 4 of us dropped the rest of the group. We all took turns on the front and the with about 2 laps to go my good friend Hans-Peter Durst from Germany took the lead. At that point I knew he was going to pick up the pace. It was here that I dropped back from the 3 guys but then saw one of them hit the metaphorical wall! I knew it was my chance to get past him which I was able to do and finish the race in 3rd place. At least that is what I thought!
At the presentations it turned out that they were awarding men and women separately, so it turned out that I had won! Nice little surprise, along with 30 Euro’s for the win they presented me with a new Giro Helmet as well.
My teammate Stuart Tripp had to race a combined race for both the TT and the Road Race with all the hand cycles and although he was the wrist H5 rider in the TT, was eventually placed 15th and in the Road Race was the 2nd H5 man.
Overall it was a great start to the international racing season and we are now back in Belgium to get ready for the World Cup this coming weekend.