She hated the bike, but now's a champ
Taryn Heather. Photo: Richard Briggs
As a triathlete, Taryn Heather hated the bike leg - it was a rest before she got to go for a run.
But when her knees gave up the ghost she took up cycling three years ago and is now the Oceania time trial champion.
Heather found herself in the zone on Thursday, blitzing the field in the Oceania championships by almost a minute to take out the title in Canberra.
She stopped the clock after the 25-kilometre time trial in 39 minutes 2.63 seconds - 53.3 seconds ahead of national teammate Grace Sulzberger, with Ruth Corset third.
Born in Holbrook, Heather finished fourth in this year's national time trial championships in Ballarat and second the year before.
The 29-year-old will travel to Europe this year with the AIS team and would like to sign with a professional team.
''I hated the bike, I thought it was a chance just to free-wheel and get a rest for the run, but that's changed,'' Heather told The Canberra Times.
''With injuries I couldn't do impact stuff, I started cycling just for fitness and then I got involved with the club in Mildura and I just loved it, got addicted.''
Canberra's Adam Phelan finished third in the men's under-23 time trial - two minutes 3.7 seconds behind winner Damien Howson, from South Australia.
Kiwi Paul Odlin won the elite men's event.
Phelan's race started poorly, puncturing a tyre in the first few kilometres which cost him about 30 seconds, but not a place on the podium.
The 21-year-old knows this is a big year for him as he tries to secure a contract with a professional cycling team.
Phelan was named in the Jayco-AIS World Tour Academy on Tuesday and will leave for Europe next Friday.
''I'm definitely putting a lot of pressure on myself this year, keep stepping it up and try and progress,'' he said.
''If I don't [get a contract] it's not the end of the world, there's plenty of years still left in me.
''It's definitely a great opportunity for me this year and I hope to keep improving.''
The championships will resume on Saturday with the women's elite and under-19 road races, following a rest day on Friday.
The men's road races are on Sunday.
OCEANIA ROAD CHAMPIONSHIPS: In Canberra. Saturday: Under-19 women's road race from 9am; elite women's road race from 12pm. Sunday: Under-19 men's road race from 9am; elite and under-23 men's road race at 12.30pm.