Jaime Nielsen will head to Napier next weekend looking to secure a third national time trial title after three times finishing second including in 2016. We got to chat to Nielsen as she finalises her preparation for Napier following a busy track summer across the ditch and domestic racing back here in New Zealand.
RC: You’ve had a good track build up with Oceania Champs, and you’ve been busy racing at events like the Team Championship. At this point with a week to go how are you feeling about your form heading to Napier this time around?
Jaime: The Oceania Championships were a good early season hit out in the 3km Individual Pursuit. I was happy with my time of 3.32.9. The Dynamo Team Championship, the Lake Taupo Criterium & Road Race and the hilly Taumarunui Classic race back in November have helped me gain back some fitness after the break post-Rio Olympics. These races have been refreshing; I’m meeting new people through a shared passion for sport and being challenged at the same time! Getting back to the roots… It reminds me why I love it.
I’m looking forward to the opportunity to race in Napier again. We had a short camp there as part of our Olympic Campaign in May this year – it’s a beautiful place with good weather and great for training!
I’m currently in a heavy training patch so some days not feeling too fast! When I think about how I’ll be next week I can’t help but question whether I’m creeping or just fatigued! However I’m looking forward to the racing opportunity next week. Last week I got my TT bike & race wheels checked over at Spoken Cycles and got a bit excited seeing it race-ready! After this event I’ll be building toward the World Track Championships in Hong Kong in April – but first have to earn my place in the team via the Track National Championships in February and a World Cup event overseas.
RC: Last time you and Rushlee had a great battle for the time trial title, and we look forward to seeing that again. How does the time trial course in Napier compare to that in Christchurch?
Jaime: The time trial course here is very different to Christchurch’s flat out-and-back course. There were usually strong winds – especially in 2015 with that very strong head wind return to finish! I like both courses.
In Napier there are a couple of short climbs, a twisting descent, some flats but mostly rolling countryside which adds more texture and a variety of challenges. It could be anyone’s race. It’ll be a good race to watch. In Christchurch I had a run of three consecutive years in 2nd place before taking out the title in 2014 & 2015. I narrowly missed the title last year. Seems to always be those 2nd’s and 4th’s!
The course for the road race the following day is really interesting, after a big lap in rolling countryside the finishing circuit soon puts everyone to the test – I remember it was pretty spread out by the end!
RC: Tell us about your goals for 2017 and how a national title (or two) would compliment those goals.
Jaime: Both national races are an opportunity for team points toward the international road season. The win means you can proudly wear the silver fern in that event overseas for the whole year. It’s a pretty special privilege. Wishing all the competitors best of luck on the day. It’s a great spectator course – people can feel free to bring water if it’s hot!