|Winning the Irish National Champs Road Race (photo by Barry from IrishCylingPhotos.com)|
After my silver medal at the National TT Champs, I had already achieved my aim and could go into the road race relaxed. I still consider road racing a bit more of a lottery, you not only have to be fit and strong, but you also have to be able to take the right decision at the right time, making use of opportunities as they arise. I guess with experience you become better at recognizing and using these opportunities, but I am not kidding myself, I know I still have a lot to learn on that side when surrounded by seasoned professionals.
|Women's Championships starting off (photo by Nadia Gativa)|
The course was seven laps of a 12.5km loop (total 88km), about 6km of a bumpy/hilly road on the way out along the Suir, over a bridge, then a pretty flat and fast way back to the town along the river with the finish on the middle of the bridge. The weather was blustery with a headwind on the way out and there were some strong showers.
|Olivia pushing the pace up the hills (photo by Nadia Gativa)|
|Suffering in the rain (Photo by Nadia Gativa)|
|Up and over along the river Suir (photo by Nadia Gativa)|
|Crossing the finish line first! (photo by tipperaryphotos.com)|
The four of us worked fairly well together into the last lap, with Olivia trying to get away a few times, but we didn't let her go. Olivia attacked with about 3km to go, but we were on her wheel, then she tried again at 1km to go, which is about 600m before the last corner onto the bridge, but again we didn't let her get away. We rode around the left-hand corner onto the wide bridge and the three girls went onto the right side of the road, but I stayed on the left. I had thought that one of the girls would attack out of the corner, with 400m to go and wanted to be on the shorter route, but nobody went and I found myself alone on the left. I kept travelling the same speed, on my side of the road, waiting for one of them to start sprinting to the line, so that I would start too, but when the 200m sign came up and they still hadn't started their sprint, I decided I might as well go myself and sprinted like a possessed mad cow, head bopping, eyes crossing, hoping I can keep it up before someone comes around me. I knew I had won when I crossed the line.
|I won! (Photo by Nadia Gativa)|
|Elite women's podium: Siobhan Horgan (2nd), Mel Spath (1st), Olivia Dillon (3rd) (photo by Nadia Gativa)|
Secondly, I want to thank my friend, bike mechanic, masseur, soigneur, organizer and mental supporter Stewart Carr (yes, all in one person!), who tirelessly helps out at races, making sure that I have a world class set up, so that the only thing I need to do is to pedal. He's one of the most valuable people to have around in a race - doesn't matter what happens or breaks, Stew can sort it out.
On top of a world class coach and set up, I am also lucky to have the support of my sponsors who make it possible for me to ride on world class equipment. First and foremost I want to thank Cycleways/Specialized for their ongoing, growing and loyal support. Thank you for providing me with a world class road frame to ride this year - I bet you didn't think it'll be a champions frame by the end of it! Now I just have to make sure that the mountain bike gets the same honour.
I would also like to thank my nutrition sponsor ZipVit for their ongoing support. You play a big part in my success.
|ROARRRR!!!! (Photo by Nadia Gativa)|
Thanks also to all the people in Cycling Ireland who have supported me in the process of declaring to ride for Ireland. I have lived in Ireland for the past twelve years - it is such an honor for me to be able to wear the Irish Champions jersey and I'll wear it with pride both in Ireland and internationally. I may have been born in Germany, but my cycling is 100% Irish born!
I am so overwhelmed by the support of the Irish Cycling community, I have never before felt so many people being happy for me at winning this race - this completely reassures me that my decision to declare for Ireland was right.
Finally, I'd like to thank the race organization and Clonmel CC for putting on such a well organized, great and very safe event. I thoroughly enjoyed the race and I am already looking forward to the Suir Valley 3 day on the August Bank Holiday Weekend, another great event in beautiful countryside.
See, I really only played a small part in it!
My Strava file from the road race champs: http://app.strava.com/activities/11687571