Cycling Australia sat down with triple reigning masters road national champion Simone Grounds (Dubbo Cycling Club) ahead of the 2018 Championships. Simone will be heading down to the picturesque East Gippsland region for the Championships which begin on October 18.
How I got started
I wanted to keep fit in the hockey off season while I was in Brisbane. I started doing triathlons as cross training in the summer and cycling was the leg that suited me and I enjoyed the most, so I kept doing it and started racing. I actually started road cycling racing as part of a Come and Try Racing series initiative for women’s racing by Cycling Queensland. This really helped me develop my confidence and gave me a great pathway to move up through the grades as my confidence and skill as a rider improved.
Best thing about cycling
I love being able to get out in nature, in the landscape and ultimately just be outside with the wind in my hair. There’s so many cycling disciplines and I love them all in their own way. I also love riding with other cyclists – people who I may not other wise meet and share stories over a ride or coffee. It’s a great way to spend time with people and it’s great for mental health.
On developing women’s cycling
I‘m currently riding with the Vie13-KOM (King of the Mountain Financial Advice) women’s racing team. We’re all about developing women’s cycling and have ladies in all grades to inspire and provide a pathway for women who want to race in a supportive environment. We’ve got a great group of Masters ladies who are all inspiring riders and I’m looking forward to having some familiar faces around me at races.
A being a triple defending national champion
2017 Nationals was a big event for me. I’d come back from 2 years of serious fatigue and had finally found the energy to string some good training together and made it a major goal event. I thought I’d never get back into racing again, so it was a huge achievement in my life to commit to that level of training and to have it pay off, so it was a huge “life win” for me.
I also really enjoyed being back up in Queensland. I was familiar with the courses having raced on them when I was living up there as an Elite rider, so that made it a lot easier to prepare for them.
The actual event was completely bittersweet for me. I lost an aunty I was very close to the day before the time trial (the first race), she’d been sick for some time with breast cancer but she went downhill rapidly in the weeks leading up to the Masters. I didn’t feel like I could race, but my family had travelled up to Queensland with me and I just had to do it. I used mindfulness techniques to put my grief aside, focus on my preparation and give my racing all I had.
Looking ahead to 2018 Nationals
I’m most looking forward to seeing if I can repeat those results! Sport is fickle and winning in cycling is so hard! Much harder than people give it credit for.
I’m looking forward to being fit and healthy and with stronger form than last year. I’m also looking forward to racing on different courses. I always love racing in and discovering different areas of Australia.
I hope to set some new PB’s, to get to the line healthy and to spend some quality racing time with my team mates.
Advice for first timers looking to enter the Masters Road Nationals?
Don’t put pressure on yourself and focus on the experience not the results. As a Masters’ athlete, there’s so many demands on your time, you need to minimise the energy you waste on worrying about things. There’s some great people to meet and the events are always really well run, so just enjoy riding with people your own age group and getting inspired by others.
Find out more about the course and schedule here.