Young rider puts club on national stage
One of the many cycling enthusiasts to descend on Ballarat in early January was Busselton cyclist Courtland Wood, when the historic regional Victorian city became a cycling mecca for the Australian National Road Titles.
The event is the pinnacle of Australian cycling with the best under-19, under-23, elite and para-cyclists battling for the coveted green and gold national champions jerseys in the criterium, road race and time trial.
The winner has the honour of wearing the jersey in all races in which they compete during the year.
Courtland, 16, raced in the colours of Busselton Cycling Club in the under-19 criterium and road race in his first year in the category.
However, he is no stranger to national competition, having competed for WA in Tasmania and Victoria in the junior ranks. Most recently he competed in the 2018 junior championships in Bunbury, finishing in the top 10 as the first West Australian representative in the under-17 category.
The Year 12 MacKillop College student had been training six days a week for months in preparation, as well as regularly travelling to Perth to compete in State-level race events.
He trains regularly with Busselton Cycling Club members and is supported by the South West Academy of Sport.
The hilly course for the road race is a challenge for all riders and with the flat terrain around Busselton, Courtland has been heading to hillier roads at every opportunity.
In the criterium, he battled extreme heat of 40C to be in the bunch in the final laps.
Unfortunately he was caught in a crash with two laps remaining but courageously remounted to finish 25th of 45 starters. The next day, the road race was a nine-lap ride over a hilly 11km course.
The difficulty of the hills became apparent on the 5th lap as he began to suffer leg cramps, eventually being distanced by the pack.
Courtland soldiered on until being pulled off the course on the 8th lap.
While disappointed at not being able to finish, he was satisfied with his performance, especially considering the effects of the crash and heat before the road race.
Courtland said he hoped he could be in the mix for the top positions in future years.
Busselton Cycling Club president Carol May said it was possibly the first time the BCC kit had been worn at the nationals.
“We are all very proud of the effort Courtland has made to get there,” she said.
“It’s a great experience for him and we look forward to watching his progress in coming years.”
Courtland will now travel to Adelaide to ride with World Tour professionals and watch the Tour Down Under, with the hope of joining the race in the future.
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