ALL it took was a gentle nudge in the right direction from father Peter that provided the motivation for Deb Hennessey to claim the Australian road race championship at Ballarat.
Competing in her first race since a 13th-place finish overall at Tweed Heads mid-last year, the Port Macquarie cyclist cruised to an eight minute win to claim age group honours.
Sometimes your parents know best.
“It was a race that I hadn’t targeted; I haven’t raced since July last year and my father encouraged me to enter about a month ago,” Hennessey said.
“I think dad might have seen me out training and maybe he could see something that I couldn’t so he said you should go.”
Not only did Hennessey win the 45-49 year-old age group, she was the fastest overall female by five seconds.
“I’m really so happy about it; things haven’t gone my way when I hoped they would in the past and I’m happy and proud to have a national jersey,” she said.
“It’s on a very challenging course and there is a high attrition rate or do not finish rate including in the elite division.”
Unfortunately, fellow Port Macquarie cyclist and 2018 NSW road race champion Brandon Conway fell victim to the challenging course.
The two were training partners in the lead-up to the race.
He was forced to retire with two laps to go due to severe cramps.
“Another local Liam Magennis was also in the under-23 division and was four seconds off the leader so he had a really great race as well,” Hennessey said.
The race forms part of the national Gran Fondo championships.
“There are age groups from 19+ and if you want to race masters level at an international level you need to race in a Gran Fondo qualifying event,” Hennessey said.
“There are several in Australia which are the national championship events for that.”
A full-time job as a clinical psychologist has prevented Hennessey from competing as much as she would like before her success in Victoria.
“The reason I haven’t raced for six months is because I work full-time and that’s been my priority,” she said.
The Port Macquarie cyclist was unsure what 2019 would have in store, but indicated she had pencilled in an appearance at the Seaview Classic later in the year.
“There is a Seaview Classic from Port Macquarie to Walcha in September so that should be a fantastic event and maybe make racing fun because work takes a lot of concentration,” Hennessey said.
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