Norts and bosses on track

February 07, 2018

Rhianon Norton and her husband Brad dominated at the Victorian Masters Track Championships. The Shepparton Cycling Club members returned with four gold medals and a world record.

Brad Norton is the holder of a world record in the 3 km individual pursuit following the Victorian Masters Track Championships, while his wife Rhianon also excelled.

As far as a weekend away with your partner goes, it does not get much better than this.

Husband-and-wife duo Brad and Rhianon Norton claimed four gold medals and a world record at a recent state titles event.

The Shepparton Cycling Club members dominated the field at the Victorian Masters Track Championships, each winning both Masters One events they entered on the Australia Day weekend.

Brad, 33, claimed an 11.3-second victory in the 1km individual time trial before storming to a world record time in the 3km individual pursuit — finishing in 3:22.150.

But after crossing the finish line he was initially disappointed with the time he thought had flashed up on the screen.

‘‘I didn’t realise at the time, when I crossed the line I looked up at the scoreboard, which was around the first bend, and I’ve seen 3:27,’’ Brad said.

‘‘With that I was going to be a bit peeved because I’d been training really hard and thought around that 3:23 mark is where I should be at.

‘‘Once I’d seen Rhianon acting a bit strange I looked up at the scoreboard again and seen 3:22. That was a pretty big thrill.’’

Meanwhile, Rhianon’s 500m time trial netted her a 0.6-second victory and her 2km individual pursuit time was a quick 2:35.712.

It continued a remarkable start to the sport for the relative newcomer, who has dominated at the state and national level since picking up a track bike.

‘‘I haven’t raced before. I picked up the track bike for the first time in September 2016 and raced my first one in October 2016 and then won the Australian title in March last year,’’ Rhianon, 32, said.

‘‘(Before that) I’ve been busy having kids and studying.’’

A recent surgery was also not enough to slow her down, coming back fitter than ever.

‘‘I had some time off. I had two surgeries during last year to repair my stomach muscles because they were all pulled apart after having my kids, and they weren’t getting any better, so we got it all stitched up,’’ she said.

‘‘I’ve only pulled a few months together (of training) and I’ve got back to the same form as I was at the start of last year, so I’m pretty happy about that.’’

Rhianon’s success and enjoyment on the bike has been a catalyst in Brad’s superb form, with the pair feeding off each other to perform to their best.

‘‘I have raced on and off for a long time. I was very good as a junior and into my early 20s and then lost the love for the bike for a fair while,’’ Brad said.

‘‘Then Rhianon said she wanted to have a go at the pursuit on the track and I said ‘ah well, I’ll coach you’. Then I got the bug back.

‘‘It’s important to have a balanced lifestyle, so having something that we both like doing that we can do together when we’ve got the opportunity to is a big motivating factor behind it.’’

Next on the agenda for the dynamic duo, who have been married 10 years this month, is the National Masters Track Championships from February 28, where they hope to continue their great form, although they will rarely get the opportunity to train together in the lead-up.

‘‘The training together doesn’t happen too much because Brad sometimes takes the morning shift of riding and I’ll take the afternoon because we have to look after our girls (Isla, 5, and Anabella, 3),’’ Rhianon said.

‘‘So we get to race together, but other than that it’s kind of like ‘hey, how is your training going?’, ‘Good, how was yours?’ and then we wait to the weekend.

‘‘We’ll be training through our anniversary, but we’re happy with that because that’s what we do.’’

On a wider scale, they would also like to see more of Shepparton’s next generation of sporting stars have a go at cycling.

‘‘Hopefully having some success for us will be some good inspiration for the cycling community in Shepparton to bring some kids back into the sport,’’ Rhianon said. ‘‘It has a good history of good riders here at the club and it’s dwindled recently, so hopefully we can get some more people involved.’’

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