The world’s best cyclists will be in Australia in September for the championships. What happens when a weekend warrior tackles the route?
It is said that elite athletes have to be incredibly selfish to succeed. I was thinking about that as I wheeled my bike out the door and said goodbye to my pregnant partner, who was due in a few days, and our two-year-old son, who was screaming “I want Daddy”.
It was early Friday morning and I was driving one hour south of Sydney to Helensburgh, where the elite women’s and men’s road races will start on the weekend of 24-25 September. The women will cover 164.3km with 2,433 metres of climbing while the men will do 266.9km with 3,945 vertical metres . The route includes the tough Mount Keira climb which is 8.7km long with an average gradient of 5% but pinches at 15%.
I am not an elite athlete, of course, and was just hoping to get up the mountain without climbing off my bike. The organising committee, Wollongong 2022 , had helpfully provided an official photographer to document any embarrassing moments.
I was riding the course with Mark Renshaw, an ex-professional cyclist and former world champion on the track, who is the safety manager for Wollongong 2022. There were also some local riders and other journalists riding to mark 100 days until the championships started.
We met at Cafe Diem for a coffee before setting out. We headed up a small rise and Renshaw, cycling on the front alongside […]