Today I travelled to country Victoria to take part in the Castlemaine ITT. As it turns out there was a bit of a surprise for us Para Cyclists, we had our own category and only found out last night that this Time Trial is the first in a series.
I must give kudos to Ben Rogers from Cycling Victoria who has taken on the role of ‘Inclusion Coordinator’. He has worked really hard over the last 6 months to increase the interest in Para Cycling throughout Victoria and has done an amazing job. Ben has put an introduction to Para Cycling program together that runs for 6 weeks and has had a great turn out. He has also set up a points system so that even though most of the riders are in different categories, organisers are able to work out placings. This is based on the average speed of the winner from each category at last year’s World Championships TT. If the rider hits the same speed they are awarded 100 points, faster they get more points, slower they get less points.
Today was the first time that the system was used and as we had 12 riders over 10 different categories, it was put to the test. I must say that the course was a fairly tough one with a very long climb from the start but what goes up must come down especially when you are on an out and back course! It also wasn’t the best of weather, very overcast, fairly cold (13 degrees) with a bit of drizzle but no wind that was going to cause much of a problem.
It was also the end of my recovery week, so I was looking forward to seeing what I could produce. I wasn’t overly please with my average speed, but I must say that I hit two ends of the scale getting down to 11.3km/hr but on the other had hit 62.9km/hr coming in towards the finish! I was lucky enough in the end to place 1st with Stuart Tripp (H5) in second and Hannah MacDougall (C4) in third. I was really surprised that Stuart didn’t take it out as he looked like he was flying!
Thank you to the Castlemaine Cycling Club for being the first to introduce a Para Cycling category to their event, it was run extremely well! I hope that more clubs will realize that they can really add value to their events with the inclusion of a Para Cycling category. It was also really encouraging to see a number of new riders taking part and it certainly looks like with Ben at the helm Para Cycling is well and truly growing within the state of Victoria.