Andrew Johnston

January 10, 2018

AS you’ll see in today’s paper, it’s been a massive weekend for cycling.

Not only with the Junior Track Carnival held in Moama, with nearly 100 youngsters getting down to the Velodrome to compete in a string of events including four state titles. But also with the Road National titles held in Ballarat, a handful of Echuca-Moama cyclists making the trip and producing some staggering results.

Cycling is another sport where the difference between the amateurs and professionals, or local level and national level, is staggering.

Pretty much everyone can ride a bike. Many probably even think they can ride a bike well.

But to be able to ride 70 kilometres, at an average speed just under 40 kilometres per hour (like Samual Eddy and Chase Costello-Manning did in the under 19 road race), takes a truly remarkable talent.

Just as impressive was paracyclist Michael Taylor, second in both the Handcycle MH3 time trial and road race.

And let’s not even bring up Saturday’s heat — the riders battled through tremendously tough conditions to complete the race.

It’s another one of these sports I really like, yet know my abilities pale in comparison to the big guns.

There’s something about cruising down Beach Road (the main cycling hang-out in Melbourne) and pushing yourself, yet being able to sit in and enjoy the beautiful scenery, that I really enjoy. But when the going gets tough? I’m nowhere to be found.

How these young cycling stars can keep their bodies going in such difficult circumstances, and even climb hills each lap, is what sets them apart from the rest.

There was a similar sense at the Junior Track Carnival.

The ridiculous heat brought some events forward out of the heat and meant others were cancelled, but there was no escaping the brutal conditions.

But event co-ordinator Edie Haley told me once the riders got out in the heat, they didn’t really mind it.

The track is extremely steep at either end and to get the required power and speed to win a race you’ve got to risk having a huge crash. It was clear that track cyclists, or perhaps cyclists in general, are a special, and perhaps crazy, type of athlete.

As always, I’m reminded our region’s athletes are so talented, in a wide range of different sports.

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