BATHURST’S Kirsten Howard has successfully defended her Blayney 2 Bathurst short course crown.
Howard completed Sunday’s 70 kilometre ride in a time of one hour 45 minutes and 45 seconds, putting her more than four minutes ahead of her winning mark from last year.
The next closest competitor in the battle for the women’s title was Dubbo’s Haylee Fuller (+1:32) with a big gap back to Illawarra Cycling Club’s Tahlia Dole (+9:42).
Making her efforts all the more impressive was what she did only a day earlier.
“I was a little tired. I had my first game of rugby yesterday,” she said.
“It started off quite fast. There was a lot of chasing and attacking. There was a lot to keep your eye on. You didn’t really have time to check out the hay bales.”
Fuller was never far away from Howard throughout the race and the Bathurst rider was trying her best to note where her fellow Central West rider was.
“I tried to keep an eye out. I was looking out for a pink number but trying to keep a good position for myself.
“You knew who the stronger riders were as we came towards the QoM [Queen of the Mountain]. I tried to stay with the strong climbers around Lloyds Road at that steep pinch there.
“It’s nice to think that you can get a win at home but racing’s one of those unpredictable things. There’s always the chance for crashes and punctures, so you just have to go in there and back yourself.”
Howard has previously been a multiple runner-up in the long course event.
However, she’s grown fond of the faster, shorter edition.
“As I get older I think I’ll reduce the kays,” she laughed.
“I really enjoy the fast pace of the 70km course. Everyone’s attacking and going hard all the time.”
Bathurst also featured prominently in the men’s short course results with Nick North and Dean Windsor a part of the sprint finish.
North found his way onto the podium behind winner Lincoln Hey (1:45:13, Central Coast Cycling Club) and Josh Brodie (Parramatta Cycling Club).
Windsor finished the short course in fifth.