Grace Anderson heads into the K1 Elite women’s race with a strong field around her all looking to take the title that last year belonged to Amanda Jamieson. This year’s race starts in Thames and takes the field to Whitianga with the climb of Kopu-Hikuai coming very early. We stopped for a quick chat with Grace pre-race.
RC: First of all heading into this year’s K1 Elite race how are you feeling physically as you approach the race? How has training been and how much have you targeted this race?
Grace: Training has been going well, K1 is not really a race I’m targeting with it only being at the start of the season my focus is on being in peak shape for Elite Nationals. For K1 I’m looking for a tough day out on the bike and from previous experience when I raced in 2015 I’m sure the course will deliver that.
RC: How important is a race like this to women’s cycling in New Zealand?
Grace: Races like K1 are very important to women’s cycling especially with such limited racing available to women especially elite women. It’s cool to see K1 supporting women and its always a great event to be part of.
RC: Having Kopu-Hikuai so early in the race is obviously going to have a big impact on how the race pans out. Do you see that climb being where the race is won or do you imagine there will be enough road between there and Whitianga for the race to come back together?
Grace: Ultimately, I don’t see the race being won there but with such a small field of strong riders you never know what could happen. However, the impact it has on the legs will definitely effect how the rest of the race pans out.
RC: Being the only Mike Greer Homes rider on the start line obviously rules out playing any team tactics. What can you tell us about the rest of the field and who you look at as being a threat on the day?
Grace: It’s always nice to have team mates in races but everyone is in the same boat so it should be a tough race with no team tactics coming into play. The field is small this year but there are a lot of strong riders competing. I probably see Deborah Paine as the biggest threat, I’ve raced against her in the Calder Stewart this year and she’s a super strong climber so I’m sure she’ll use that to her advantage on the weekend.