Last year was a period of change for the Shepparton Cycling Club.
Having not had the resources to host the Christmas Track Carnival, it did not stop the riders at the club from continuing an impressive summer.
Liam Edwards, Byron Woods and Indiana Michel all contested the National Road Cycling Championships last week in Ballarat, while four riders also completed the full four days of Christmas racing across Victoria.
Arthur Hobson still leads the club as president, with various changes in the committee making public relations officer Nadine Edwards hopeful the December marquee event would return.
‘‘At the time we didn’t have the resources, so we thought we’re better off giving it to another club with resources instead of doing a half-ditch effort, but we’re confident that we’ll get that back at the end of this year,’’ Edwards said.
Some core people invested in the club never change, with Olympian Steve Fairless setting the pace on the motorbike at training.
Edwards had high praise for Fairless, who never tires from helping out the club where he started.
‘‘Lots of people that have success at any club don’t go back, but the kids look at Steve as a bit of an icon and it’s good having him, the kids all know who he is and he’s very good with kids,’’ she said.
‘‘He’s taking a bit of a back seat with his racing, but he gets just as much of a thrill out of helping the kids.’’
An emphasis on road racing is one of the Shepparton club’s new-year resolutions.
The club is hoping cyclists can transfer the lessons learnt on the Packham St velodrome onto the open road.
‘‘We are hoping to incorporate some road racing, it’s high on the agenda and we’ll work towards getting a few events happening while we’ve still got summer and daylight savings,’’ Edwards said.
‘‘We’ll try and work with other clubs like Echuca, Moama and Wangaratta ... we’ll support their events.’’
While road racing provides its own set of challenges, Edwards said following the pacing bike around the velodrome strengthened riders in sprint stages.
‘‘It’s something that gets the legs spinning and it’s good for getting the top end pace,’’she said.
‘‘There’s not much road racing until kids get a bit older and do racing, but for junior kids it’s all about the track and learning a lot of bike handling skills.’’
With track training on a Tuesday night, Edwards was hopeful it allowed potential riders to combine cycling with a host of other sports.
‘‘A lot of the kids do play summer sports and winter sports and manage them both, so with training on Tuesday it doesn’t seem to clash with other sports, which is one of the reasons we chose it,’’ she said.