Tough day for Watts
VALLEY cyclist Aaron Watts travelled to Sydney as one of 80 starters in the Elite and Under-23 Championship at Kurrajong last week.
He came back on Monday as one of only 21 that finished the 165km race.
"I did expect more people to finish the race than what did, so that was a surprise," Watts said.
Watts was the 17th cyclist overall to cross the line, but was the eighth finisher from the under-23 field.
Port Macquarie's Chris Jory won the race, finishing in a time 4hr 03min 55sec.
Watts couldn't keep up with the blistering pace set by Jory, but did well to cross the line eight minutes behind the lead pack.
"It was probably one of the hardest races I've done," Watts said. "The course wasn't too bad, but the pace was hard to keep up with.
"From memory the average speed was a tick under 40kmh."
To make matters worse for Watts, the temperature gauge hit just under 30 degrees.
"It was a pretty warm day out on the road and that just made it tougher," he said.
Completing the race is a great achievement for the Valley-born Watts, who is only just into his second year of competitive cycling.
The fact he didn't pick up any injuries afterwards was even better.
"I pulled up pretty well actually," Watts said.
"There was the usual tiredness and dehydration after the finish but I escaped any injuries."
His next major event will be where it all began when he lines up for the Grafton to Inverell Cycle Classic.
"Grafton to Inverell was the first race I took part in," Watts said.
"I think I finished around 35th in C-grade last year but I'll be aiming on improving that result or moving up to B-grade."
The 228km Grafton to Inverell Cycle Classic starts on October 27.