17/02/2011 - The impressive feats of a Cycling Southland trio is proof it doesn’t take young legs to smash national records.
Masters cyclists Ray Robinson, Erin Criglington and Jacqui Dearlove all claimed New Zealand records at last month’s Southland championships – an achievement they’d each love to repeat when the RaboDirect National Elite and Age Group Track Championships are staged in Invercargill later this month.
Robinson and Criglington both claimed record times in their respective 2000 individual pursuits, while Dearlove broke the 500m time trial record she set at last year’s national fixture.
For Robinson, it marked a successful return to the track after a two-year hiatus following shoulder surgery.
“To come back and be able to achieve that gave me the inclination to say `I might ride nationals’,” he said.
“Nationals are what everyone aims for, unless you’re involved in the international programme. For the domestic riders, the nationals are the pinnacle of the year’s hard work.
“I would like to be able to ride well and compete for the province to assist Southland to retain the points shield.”
For Criglington, shaving nearly a second off the record she set in 2010 was satisfying.
“I hadn’t done the pursuit since the nationals last year so it was a pleasant surprise,” she said. “It was great just to see all the training has been paying off.”
Dearlove deemed her record-breaking performance “exceptionally surprising” and was now striving for a personal best at the national fixture.
The pair hoped their achievements would attract more master’s women to the thrill of track cycling.
“I’m hoping to really see more ladies come out of other disciplines to give the track a go,” Dearlove said. “They often look at the track and think it’s just too scary but it’s really not.”
Switching to the sport three years ago from multisport and mountain-biking, Dearlove competed at the UCI World Masters in Sydney just a year later, earning silver in the pursuit and bronze in the points race.
“I came home and realised there was nothing for the girls’ on the national scene so we’re really fighting for that now,” she said.
“The best riding we have at masters level is if we compete internationally.”
Criglington echoed her comments, lamenting a lack of events on the programme.
“The time trial and IP are the only two events that we’ve got at this stage so it would be great to see some more ladies out there and see what we can add,” she said.
“It’s always good to get out there, compete hard, get the results and feel bloody good about it.”
The RaboDirect National Track Championships begin with the Elite Champs from February 25th to 27th followed by the Age Group Champs from March 1st to 5th. Tickets are on sale from Stadium Southland with discounted family and seasons passes available.