From Montreal we headed to the opposite end of the Earth for the first UCI Para-cycling Road World Cup in Sydney. This trip meant another country and continent checked off my list and I was very excited. Australia is always a place that I’ve wanted to go and it lived up to my expectations. But first the racing.
The format for the racing was standard- a road race and a time trial. The road race was held first on the Eastern Creek Raceway another auto-racing circuit. The course combined the typical racecourse with their drag strip via access roads making an 8-ish Km undulating circuit. There were some 180s, hard 90s, S bends and chicanes culminating with a long, downhill finishing straight. The girls raced separately this go around which meant a small field. Sarah Storey won and it came down to a sprint between Claire and I for second. With a bike throw at the line, I managed to snag second on the day. Instead of flowers, we were given stuffed frilled necked lizards to take home.
|Always throw your bike! Photo: Chris Lane, Cycling Australia|
The next day was a time trial through Olympic Park, the location of the 2000 Sydney Olympic Village. The 6km course was the most technical I’ve ever seen for a Para-cycling event. It was great! I rode my road bike, a Felt AR, which is basically a TT bike with drop bars on it to begin with. Throw on a set of clip-ons and it’s about as close to a TT bike as you’re going to get without it actually being a TT bike. I digress. I felt fantastic! I liked the course despite there being no rhythm to it. I took the corners like I was on rails. Second again; I just plain got beat. In order to win, I need more power. If you know of anyone that’s looking to get rid of extra watts, let me know, I’ll take them.
The Olympic Park TT was the first race in a while that I felt good on the bike. The end of last season and almost all of 2011 has been pretty tough for me and I’ve struggled to have fun on the bike. The TT was fun, plain and simple. My legs felt great and I was happy to call myself a bike racer again.