Not one, but two Armidale Cycling Club riders were involved in the prestigious 2016 Australian National Road Race Championships last weekend in Ballarat, Victoria. Racing in their respective mens and womens U23 category, Sam Jenner and Holly Harris produced fantastic individual performances. In the mens time-trial, Sam was the first NSW rider over the line, finishing 13th out of 35 starters and in Saturday’s road race he was 26th out of 111 starters in a brutal 132k race on the Buninyong course in conditions that forced 56 riders to abandon the race.
We will hopefully hear some stories first-hand from Sam in the coming weeks but we did manage to catch up with Holly who, as a previous competitor in the world mountain biking championships, was swapping trails for firmer ground and seemingly taking to it with ease. The accomplished U23 mountain biker has been kind enough to give us her own take on what competing on skinny tyres at national level is like, and she let us in on some great news about her plans for 2016 with her new road team. Take it away Holly!
“Well, for some strange reason a few weeks before Road Nationals, my coach and I decided that it would be a good idea to try my hand at road riding to help me build a solid base for the fast approaching MTB season!
First up for me was the TT, and it was a bit of a shock to the system with an average HR of 180bpm for almost 50mins. I had a bit of gear trouble and ended up competing in the big ring which meant I got to do quite a few unexpected SE’s. Although it wasn’t really an ideal race I actually really enjoyed it.
Photo Credit: Kirsty Baxter
Next up was the 102k road race, where U/23 Women and Elite raced together. There were around 90 girls in my bunch which was pretty cool since I am used to racing in an Armidale one of around 5! I soon worked out how to sit in with them and started loving the fast descents. I managed to hang with the main bunch until the second last lap where a lack of race knowledge and sore legs got to me. I pulled through the last two laps finishing only a few minutes [an amazing 3m:07s behind the elite winner actually Holly] behind the bunch in 40th place overall and 9th in U/23, which I was pretty happy with as 30 girls didn’t even make the finish!
It was very cool to see Sam Jenner have an awesome race in the U/23 men race the day before in brutal conditions! Also a big thanks to Deb Jenner for your cheering!
Surprisingly I enjoyed the road racing, so much so that I have recently signed with Hogs Breath Cafe Tineli Women’s Race Team, so I will hopefully be doing more on the skinny tyres in the near future!”
Thanks Holly and congratulations from everyone at Armidale Cycling Club on your great performance on the road at national level. Hopefully we’ll get to race with you again in Armidale soon, maybe even with some bunches that are slightly bigger than five riders! Having you and Sam representing Armidale on the national stage is fantastic, good luck to you both for 2016.