EMILY Watts could not have been happier when winning the Bathurst Cycling Classic's division one women's criterium last year, but this weekend she will not defend her title.
Instead the former Bathurst Cycling Club member turned Sydney Uni Staminade star is in Tasmania chasing success at the Oceania Road Championships.
Watts has already enjoyed a breakout summer as she not only won a criterium silver at Cycling Australia Road Nationals, but made her debut in the Women's Tour Down Under.
In the lead up to the Oceania titles, where Watts will contest the under 23 women's individual time trial and 105 kilometre road race, she has trained hard.
She and her Sydney Uni team-mates attended a two-day camp in the Southern Highlands earlier this month, tackling 3,000 metres of climbing across eight hours of riding.
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That came after Watts won her age group at the NSW All Schools Triathlon, a strong cycle leg proving critical to her success.
"The day started off [with a] 700 metres swim, which if anyone knows me, has never been my strongest leg, [but I] came out in shooting distance of the top hitters," Watts said.
"So I hurried on to the bike leg so I could put some power down for a solid 30 minutes in the 20 kilometre bike. Catching first place just as I dismounted the bike, the run is my grass root strength but theses days is not my greatest.
"Pacing was of most importance, as not to get too excited in the first kilometres of the five kilometre run. The relief of crossing the line after a solid day out was amazing and was only added to by coming over the line first female home."