The Philip Island Time Trial is one that I have been doing for the last few years, since I began competitively riding. For those of you not from Australia, Philip Island is located south east of Melbourne and the only access other than by water is by driving over a bridge from the mainland. It is a tourist destination for a number of reasons. It has magnificent coastline, fishing and surfing and a lot of holiday homes.
It was home to the Philip Island Grand Prix, V8 cars, but they stopped racing there about 2 years ago to take this amazing sport to other locations around the world. However they still have club meetings at the track and also learning to drive and obtaining your CAMS licence. The track is also home to the Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix which this year will be held October 18-20th and draws thousands of people to the island. It is also home to an abundance of wildlife especially the Fairy Penguins which also draws thousands of crowds nightly to watch the penguins make their way out of the water and up into their burrows. With busloads of tourists travelling up to see this sight it can get quite crowded.
However this morning the 13th of July, 73 cyclists took over the track! The event was being hosted by my club Carnegie Caulfield Cycling Club. It is usually very very cold, windy and wet when we do this Time Trial as the track is right beside Bass Strait and the wind comes right off the water. On the way down to the island this morning I was in the car with Hannah MacDougall and she kept looking at the weather radar as it was showing a lot of rain headed towards the island, so we were a wee bit worried about what the weather was going to be like. But the gods must have been smiling on us this 13th day because it was probably the best weather I have had there. Yes there was a wind, but not as bad as it has been, there was no rain and it certainly wasn’t as cold as I have felt it!
We had 6 Para Cyclists taking part today, myself on my trike and Hannah on two wheels, Alex Welsh and Stuart Tripp, both hand cyclists and Loz Shaw and Michael Gallagher both on two wheels. It was great to have so many there and for everyone to do so well. Michael was 3rd in A Grade, Loz was 2nd in C Grade and Stuart was 5th in D Grade with Hannah, Alex and I competing in D grade as well (everyone raced against able-bodied riders). I had a personal best time by 4 minutes on the course so I was over the moon with my ride.
It is 5 weeks until we go to Canada for the World Cup and the World Championships and this past week I have really struggled to get over last week’s rowing training, so I wasn’t really sure how I was going to go at this TT. At one point I questioned whether I should actually go but realised that by going and doing this race it would help me learn, grow and achieve to work to the best I could possibly give.
I’m glad that I went because in the end it was the best outcome I could have asked for, I had a great race and am right on track for August!