What a flying visit to the west coast of Australia! The third round of the National Hand Cycling Series was held near Perth this past weekend and it was really great to see not only 6 riders from the east coast but 3 from New Zealand make the trip. We were certainly fortunate that the round wasn’t being held in Victoria as the state was inundated with rain! But Perth turned on the nice weather for us. Although I must admit that this area has a huge amount of wind!!
It was great to catch up with everyone again and good to see some new riders having their first hit out at racing. Saturday morning we were picked up by Wayne (who suspiciously looked like Santa!) and taken to the course in Wandi which was about a 40 minute drive from our hotel. The course was a good one but parts of the road were very bumpy and I think my back teeth certainly did a bit of shaking! It also had some great climbs and some fast downhill parts. It was a mass start with the handcylces and I got stuck on the outside at the first turn so once I got around the corner went up and past quite a few of the lower classes H1-H2 and was able to ride with Ron a rider I had just met. We certainly kept each other honest and although he beat me on every downhill it was great because I worked my butt off to pass him on each climb. I was also riding my new trike from my sponsor Liv/giant and with it being a kilo lighter it really did make a difference.
I only had 4 laps to do and I don’t think he realized this as he had 6 to finish and when I stopped after the 4th he was surprised. I was the only trike competing this weekend and it makes it really hard when you have to ride on your own, so I was certainly grateful to have Ron there to push me so I can understand how hard it would have been for him to have to finish the last 2 laps on his own. But I was really happy with my average speed over the course as the wind was certainly a factor.
We had the afternoon to ourselves so a couple of us just sat by the pool for the afternoon and luckily the pool wasn’t heated so I was able to do some contrast hot/cold recovery using the spa and the pool. Saturday night I was able to catch up with a friend Kathleen O’Kelly-Kennedy for dinner, so that was really nice, knowing someone so far from home.
Sunday morning dawned and when I looked out the window and saw NO wind I was so excited. However that excitement wasn’t going to last! We headed to the Time Trial course which was at Champion Lakes which is a Regatta Centre – rowing course and it was here that the wind picked up. The first 2km down the straight we had a pretty big cross wind coming at us from the left so that when we turned left at the bottom of the course we headed straight into a full on headwind and this continued as we made our way back to the start/finish line. We all had to do 4 laps of this as well, so I tended to think of the cross wind as a welcome accompaniment before the head wind! But even though I am complaining about the wind I ended up doing a personal best average speed, so I was extremely happy with that (probably helped being on my new Liv/giant trike as well!). In the end I got the 10 points on offer for each of the races which then put me into first place overall in the Trike category, after the 3rd round. The 4th round is part of nationals in April, so I will have some competition there.
But I have learned that you don’t need direct competition to help make your goals and dreams take shape. To achieve these goals and dreams you just have to get in the habit of taking action. You have to just simply make full and effictive use of each moment possible as soon as it is around. Chasing Ron up those hills was one of those moments of taking action. Yes I might have been the only trike, but by god I probably worked harder than if I was racing another trike because we would have been riding with tactics. By chasing Ron down it was one of the best training sessions I have ever had!
As Ralph Marston says “Challenges provide outstanding opportunities to be your best, and to get even better.”