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"I am meticulous. If I have a goal to achieve or job to do, I'll get it done.

"I am meticulous. If I have a goal to achieve or job to do, I'll get it done. And will have been calculated in the way I prepared." This is how Kate Perry described herself to me late in 2017 at a team training camp in Lorne, Victoria – the backdrop of today's Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race. She also went on to tell me: "I see a solid Nationals campaign for the team. I'd personally like to get a good result in the Time Trial [she came 5th]. But my mental energy is unquestionably going to be on the road race this year."

 

And those with even a passing interest in women's cycling will know that Kate pulled a humongous turn on the front of the 2018 FedUni RoadNats. Positioning herself in the early break with World Tour calibre riders, Mitchelton-SCOTT's Jesse Allen and FDJ's Lauren Kitchen, the TT specialist from Melbourne did the lioness' share of the work. Kate set the tempo and drove the break almost the entire distance of the race until a spirited peloton caught the taxed threesome with roughly 10km to go. She still managed to finish in the top 10.

Success, both on and off the bike, is not unusual for Kate Perry, who's rather more levelled headed, than her namesake. Now in her third year with Specialized Women's Racing, she has been competing in the NRS since 2014 and has a significant palmares. Third in last year's Road National ITT; 3rd in the Oceanian Road ITT Championships (2016); 1st Overall at the Tour of Bright (2015); 1st Overall at Warburton Road Race (2014). The list of accolades goes on.

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But it hasn't all been plain sailing. Introduced to cycling by her father when she was five-years-old, she first found her feet on a tag-along bike adjoined to her dad's, but would miraculously stop pedalling when there was even a sniff of a hill. Noting this reluctance for vertical metres, Kate's father opted to take her to Brunswick Velodrome every Sunday with all the other little tickers.

 

"I didn't look back from there. I joined up with Brunswick Cycling Club (she's still a member today) and raced from when I was about eight years old to when I was 15. All on the track. I took to the road as a junior right up until the first year of elite women, which coincided with my first year of university. To be honest, I was a bit burnt out; lacking direction. I was a decent rider as a junior, but I wasn't anything special so it was unclear as to whether I would continue."

 

She took a break. Instead, focusing on her studies – first becoming a Bachelor of Exercise Science and then going onto to complete her Masters in High-Performance Sport. It was this opportunity for Kate to focus her energy elsewhere and somewhat let her hair down that ultimately inspired her back into the sport after a three-year hiatus.

She now finds that balance a necessary part of being successful in the sport. And she may just be one of the busiest women in the peloton combining roles as an Event Project Manager at Melbourne Olympic Park with a coaching role for FTP Training, renowned within the Melbourne cycling community, as well as being a PT Instructor for another city-based studio called Cycling Collective.

 

"I'm fortunate that I've had a good circle of people around me, particularly in the last 12 to 18 months where I'm able to separate cycling and work. I exert 80 per cent of my brain power on my role at Melbourne Olympic Park, which is completely separate from cycling and that complements my coaching, which is an interest as much as it is a job. But having two separate focuses is important. Having that ability to switch off, and find what your limits are in all aspects of your life is difficult. But necessary."

 

That said, an ambitious Kate Perry hasn't put pay to the idea of heading over to Europe and chasing the opportunity of being a full time cycling professional.

 

"I think anyone of us who is here giving up our time and putting in this much effort wants to go places. I'm 27. In female cycling years that's your prime. I still have plenty of years to work out what I want to do, but I think I'm at the point now; I'd like to give it a nudge."

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She also isn't deterred by the challenge female cyclist's face with little to no support coming from Cycling Australia.

 

"Women's cycling is moving in the right direction. Comparative to other elite female sports, there's a long way to go. But equally, cycling itself has a long way to go in terms of whether it has a sustainable future. That's not just limited to female cycling. If you're willing to sacrifice a lot; then sure it's a viable profession. But I think more people are becoming aware that you need something else already in place for life after cycling."

 

Whatever the future holds, Kate Perry is a champion and you're going to hear her roar.

SPECIALIZED WOMEN'S RACING WILL COMPETE IN THE CADEL EVANS GREAT OCEAN ROAD RACE. JANUARY 27, 2018