A FLAT tyre may have seen Harrisen Bryant’s campaign at the Cycling Australia Road Nationals end on a disappointing note, but it did not dampen his enthusiasm to test himself against the best.
The week in Ballarat marked the first time the Bathurst Cycling Club talented had attended the road nationals, Bryant tackling a full program in the under 19s men’s category.
He placed 12th in the criterium and 17th in the time trial, those results giving him good confidence leading into Saturday’s road race.
Due to the heat organisers cut the distance of that race to 69.6 kilometres and moved the start time to 6.30am.
As such the racing was intense, Bryant looking in good form as he attacked off the front on the opening lap of the notorious Mount Buninyong circuit and established a good lead over the peloton.
He covered that first 11.6km lap in 18 minutes, 39 seconds before he came back to the bunch.
However, the following lap he struck trouble.
“It was a bit disappointing, I got a flat on the second lap,” he said.
“I was like midway in the bunch when I got the flat. That probably put me a minute 30 away from the bunch. I tried to catch them with the team car in front of me, but they were gone.
“I was shattered.
It was amazing riding with that crowd around you and even with the numbers in the peloton.Harrisen Bryant
“I did feel good. One of my team-mates I was protecting was on the front and he couldn’t get off, so I was like doing little attacks and hoping another one of the teams would come across and they’d get on the front and start working.”
While Bryant withdrew from the road race after his third lap when he realised he could not rejoin the peloton, overall his first experience riding at nationals was a positive one.
“I was very happy with the crit and time trial, I wasn’t really expecting to go so well, so I was pretty happy,” he said.
“I’m keen for this year, states and stuff now.
“I wasn’t really cycling last nats, I’ve probably only been riding for about 14-15 months, like full-time cycling.
“I used to do triathlon for awhile, I did a couple of state triathlons and it was good, but I just wasn’t up there, my quality of swimming wasn’t the best.
“But I was pretty good on they bike, so I thought I’d give the bike a go and here I am.
“It was amazing riding with that crowd around you and even with the numbers in the peloton, it’s so different to riding in Bathurst. It was so much more supportive.”