The Simon Anderson Consultants 2018 Masters Road National Championships will take place over challenging terrain in one of the southern-most areas of Australia, the picturesque Gippsland Lakes region, however the distance is no barrier for a group of cyclists from Cairns who will be making the 3,000km trek to the start line.
A crew of seven from the Cairns Cycling Club, including Damien Ingram (MAS4) and Gary Haydon (MAS5), will line up across the three days in the road race, time trial and criterium.
For Gary Haydon, who will contest the Masters 5 division, it comes after two straight seasons of lining up in one of Australia’s toughest races, the Melbourne to Warrnambool.
“Last year, it was a great buzz of competing on the Commonwealth Games course in such a lovely part of Australia,” said Haydon. “With no Melbourne to Warrnambool in 2018, it made sense to do this event again and experience what I’m told is another lovely part of Australia.”
The Championships kicks off on Thursday 18 October with the individual time trials in Metung, followed by the road races on Friday 19 and Saturday 20 October in Swan Reach. The Championships conclude on Sunday 21 October with the criteriums in Paynesville.
“I finished the road race and criterium in a reasonable position in both, so I am looking to improve on them this year,” added Haydon.
For Damien Ingram, the Masters Nationals is a logical progression from the club and regional scene.
“Cairns members ride together regularly and participate in numerous events at both club and state level as a regional team,” said Ingram who will line up in the Masters 4 category. “However, as the state and national level events are absent in the Far North, it requires us to look afar to compete at this level.
“The Masters Nationals presents the opportunity to test ourselves both terrain and age group. Also, October is a fantastic time of year for us here in the Far North, providing perfect weather with an appropriate lead-in to train.
“The southern climate is always a little shock to the system but the annual pilgrimage to these southern events, has us becoming acclimatised.”
So what is it about the Cairns Cycling Club that has this crew so motivated to travel and race together?
“It is a nice country club in Far North Queensland, and now the home of the Tour of the Tropics also known as TOTT,” added Haydon. “The club has a good mixture of criterium, and road races and racing numbers are excellent.
“Quite often we pick up an NRS rider training in the region, trying to escape the southern winter, who will enter the races and give us all a touch-up.”
Simon Anderson Consultants 2018 Masters Road National Championships
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Find out more about the Cairns Cycling Club here.