ROAD TO GLORY: Marsh focussed for Nationals
CYCLING: Grafton cyclist Shaun Marsh is laser focussed.
The Grafton Cycle Club teenager has put pedal to the asphalt over the past three months, and is now ready to take on his biggest challenge yet - the Cycling Australia Junior National Road Series.
The NJRS is a new initiative introduced by the national body this year that will see juniors compete at State-based tour events across the country to earn points towards the series leaderboard.
It replaces the standalone National Junior Road Championships which has been absorbed into the series.
Marsh, 15, has had his sights set on the series since missing out on the Championships last year.
"It was tough to miss out last year, but it just proved how hard I needed to work to get there,” Marsh said. "It took a lot more work than I was expecting, but I have done it and now I am ready.”
Marsh has been regularly training with members of the Grafton Cycle Club, and as the only junior regularly finds himself competing among the club's big boys during their weekly chook runs.
Comparing times to some of the better riders in the Clarence Valley each week has set up Marsh perfectly for dropping back to the junior ranks.
He has also been using a heavier bike to give that added bit of speed come race time.
Marsh will compete at the opening NSW tour event at Port Macquarie this weekend, where he will race in a time trial, criterium and 65km road race.
"I think I have a good chance but I would never say I am going to win,” he said. "There are people coming from all across Australia for this event and they aren't coming to make up the numbers.
"I am feeling really excited, but I know once I get to the starting line of the first event the nerves will kick in.
"I just need to stay focussed, I have done all the work I can, now it's just about putting it together on the road.”