Well this past weekend was one of beautiful sunshine, gusting wind and happy cyclists! This year, my third National Championships, were held around the lovely town of Echuca in country Victoria which shares the boarder river with the town of Moama, New South Wales. In fact my friend and fellow competitor Hannah MacDougall and I stayed in a hotel in Moama.
We arrived in the area on Thursday afternoon and we caught up briefly with other riders Alex Green, Simone Kennedy, Matt Formston and Michael Curran for a coffee at the Beechworth Bakery. Hannah was extremely excited about the bakery because it is an offshoot of the original bakery located in Beechworth and she is addicted to their Date Scones! So needless to say the order for Date Scones went in that night for Saturday after the Time Trial.
Friday morning we woke to a cold but sunny morning and we were heading out to the TT course to ride around. We were told that it was a very windy course and boy they weren’t wrong. The first lap we did, just to get used to the course and on the back straight I couldn’t stay in the aero bars because the cross wind was so bad that it was pushing my trike into the gutter! Although the course was very flat I realized that the wind was definitely going to be a factor. On my second lap of the course it was time to put the efforts in and the best thing was to just push through that wind. At least it change on each side of the course, first a head wind, then a cross from the right, then a tail wind (which I loved), then the finishing straight was a head-cross. I figured I would just have to “Love the Wind”!
Saturday morning, the day of the TT, again was a lovely sunny morning and the wind didn’t look that bad at our hotel, so I was very hopeful. Upon arrival at the course, there was wind, but certainly not as bad as the day before. It was amazing to see so many riders here. It was a record number of entries with 75 riders set to take on the TT course and almost every category was represented, which was fantastic! We had even talked two of our Australian Wheelchair Basketball players to take part, Shelley Chaplin in the H4 category and Leanne Del Toso in the C1 category!
I was the second trike starting off, Jarred Langmead was starting 1 minute ahead of me and my goal was to catch him. As I came down the back straight I could see him and pushed even harder and was able to pass him with the tailwind. In the end I was extremely happy with my overall average speed as the qualifying speed for World’s is 28km/hr and I had just gone 31.69 km/hr. My roomie Hannah had an awesome race as well. It was her first race back in 2.5 years after a couple of surgeries on her hip and lots of rehab, with her bringing home a bronze medal! I was so proud of her result. And yes we did end up back at the Beechworth Bakery so Hannah could pick up the 2 Date Scones that she had pre-ordered! She didn’t have to worry about the Sunday Road Race as she was only doing the TT! So she scoffed both of them down as you can see!
Sunday the Road Race was held in the country town of Rushworth about an hour’s drive from Echuca. The start was a controlled start until the first corner and then the race was on. Jarred and I dropped the new T1 rider Bianca on the small climb out of the corner and I was able to drop Jarred about 6km into the race. As it was a short Road Race, I had decided along with my coach that I would ride it like a TT and I was able to do just that by holding almost the exact same speed as the TT, coming in at 31.19km/hr.
Overall it was a great weekend, coming home with 2 Gold medals and also as this was the last round of the National Handcycle Series I took out the overall winner in the Trike category, with 59 points to Jarred’s 48. The great thing was that Alex Welsh (who is coached by Kelly Cycle Coaching as well) took out the overall winner of the NHCS as well as 2 bronze medals for the weekend. I must add that Shelley and Leanne also had a great weekend going home with two medals each as well! Not sure they will continue racing but I’ll work on them!
Thanks also goes to our coaches Helen and Bob Kelly for taking the time to come up to Echuca for the Time Trial. It was great to have coaches there to help with our organisation at the start of the races! And I am sure they are happy with the outcome of the 3 athletes they coach! We are told that next year’s nationals will once again be in Echuca…time to train in more wind!
Next major item on the calendar for cycling is the World Para-Cycling Championships which are being held in Canada at the end of August. The team will be named around the 30th of April and I wish all the riders the best of luck!
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