by Alex Renzella
Two-time Champion of Champions Justine Barrow will look to bounce back from injury and defend her Masters Road Nationals titles this October in East Gippsland.
Barrow, the reigning women’s Champion of Champions, fractured her clavicle and ribs in late May this year competing at the U.S. based Winston-Salem Cycling Classic in North Carolina, hampering her preparation and form entering the Masters.
Having undergone surgery only nine weeks ago to repair the injuries, Justine has since then been steadily getting stronger and targeting a return in October, ‘never missing or slacking off in a training session.’
“I have been doing a lot of indoor training sessions, which hasn't been the worst thing in the world in Melbourne's winter. I hope that I will be back to full fitness by October.”
Justine has been involved in the past four Masters Road Nationals racing in Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland which were highlighted by her two Champion of Champions honours and her maiden Criterium last year in the Women 2 category.
The physiotherapist and now avid cyclist had a somewhat serendipitous introduction to competitive cycling after some encouragement from a few members at local club, Coburg Cycling Club, to get in the saddle.
“A Coburg member twisted my arm, and I entered a D grade Crit. I ended up the first placed female, won $50 and loved it - I was hooked and haven't looked back since.”
Now headed to her fifth Masters Road Nationals event, Justine has her eyes firmly set on the road race title in East Gippsland asserting it her strongest event of the three, declaring ‘the hillier, longer and tougher the better.’
Representing many of the female riders that will take their places in the event in October, she went on to support all women to get involved and try something that they may have never previously considered.
“There are very few opportunities for us to race in Masters categories, so it is well worth taking the chance to test yourself against your peers. Finally - you are competing for a National Jersey - something I never expected to win 4 years ago when I entered my first Championships.”
Entries for the Masters Road Nationals are open until Monday October 8.