THE steep terrain of Italian roads – it is something that many cyclists fear but in the case of Emilie Miller, the prospect of racing in such terrain is an exciting prospect.
Miller flew out for Italy on Tuesday, the talented handcyclist part of the Cycling Australia team which will contest the 2018 UCI Para Road World Championships.
It is not the first time Miller has represented her country, but the prospect of what lies ahead in Maniago – located in north-eastern Italy – certainly excites her.
“The nerves are starting to kick in, but I’m also very excited about it. Making sure I’m ready, making sure the body is ready to go – I feel like I’m in really good shape, so I’m excited to get over there, hit the roads and see what happens,” Miller said prior to departure.
“I’ve spent lots of time on the road and had a really good prep in the gym as well. I get awesome support with Mark Simons at D2F and Adam, who is my trainer.
“I’ve had a really solid prep with those two guys and obviously with my coach Toireasa [Gallagher] on the road. I’ve made sure I’ve got a really good strength base and can add some speed in at the end.”
The support base Miller has not only from her coaches, but the Bathurst community, is one which has helped motivate her in the build up to the World Championships.
Last week the members of the Titanium Swim Club she coaches took time to wish her well.
“It’s lovely, it’s nice to see that they’re invested in what I do myself outside my involvement with them,” Miller said.
Having left Australian soil, Miller will now draw on the support and motivation offered to her by her team-mates. The 15-member squad is expected to be in the mix for a number of podiums in Italy.
“We’re really fortunate to have a team that is quite successful, so I think everyone draws inspiration from each other, everyone really wants to do well for each other and do the coaches and staff really proud,” she said.
“It’s great to have that strong bond … but as well as that, everyone is really supportive as well, it’s a positive environment to be in, it creates a great culture.”
The course Miller – who will contest both the road race and time trial – will face is the same as was used for last year’s World Cup. It means she has an idea of the challenges which lie in wait.
“It’s going to be a really challenging course, there are a few really steep parts in it, but it’s exciting to be riding in Italy, going through all those little Italian towns,” she said.
“I think there are not too many places that don’t have a hill in Italy, but those steep bits are what it’s all about. You try to push yourself and put that strength training to use and just give it a crack.”
The championships run August 2-5.