Pedalling into the penultimate race of the National Road Series (NRS) this weekend, Townsville mother-of-two and climbing queen Ruth Corset is still leading the pack and – if all stays on track – she and her Holden Women’s Cycling (HWC) team look to secure the national crown.
“I said to her, ‘I want you to have your first win’… she was crying after the race and it was a really great result for the team” – Ruth Corset
Earlier in the year Ruth made the decision not to race the fifth and sixth legs of the NRS in Victoria; but changing family circumstances meant she has not only been able to take part, but has racked-up a 20-point lead that’s likely to be enough to see her crowned Australian women’s NRS champion.
In last weekend’s Amy Otway Classic, on the Great Ocean Road, Ruth and teammate Ellen Skerritt were both first to cross the line; finishing the 109.7km race on the Sunday holding hands in 3:15:12. By taking this uncommon approach, Ruth and her team were ensuring that 19-year-old Skerritt could secure her first win and increase her chances of overseas selection.
“I was talking to her the whole way to make sure she ate and drank and stayed motivated,” Ruth tells, who – despite remaining extremely competitive herself after an overseas racing career and winning the NRS in 2012 – is increasingly adopting a mentoring role in the HWC team. “When we were coming into the finish I said to her, ‘I want you to have your first win’… she was crying after the race and it was a really great result for the team.”
While Ruth is comfortably leading the NRS, the HWC team is only just four points off first place in the team standing and is in with a good possibility of taking the lead over the two remaining races.
Today Ruth is travelling to Canberra for the Vie13 National Capital Tour (September 19-21); followed by the final event of the NRS – the Tour of the Goldfields in Ballarat (October 17-19), which involves a team time trial, criterium circuit and two road races; the final finishing with a climb to the top of Mount Warrenheip.
“I’ve got a good lead, so I’d probably have to not race [to get knocked out now],” Ruth says. “I’m excited about the opportunities for our team and it’s so rewarding to see someone else do well and achieve when you know how much it means to them.”
Ruth admits she is in a different mindset compared to the start of the year where she was going race-by-race and not so sure about her decision to take part in the April to October national comp. “As the year’s gone on I’m enjoying myself more and more and thinking that maybe I will continue to race next year as well,” she reveals. “I definitely feel different about racing now.”
At a local level, Ruth’s next event will be the 2014 Townsville Cup on Wheels (run in conjunction with the 2014 Queensland State Madison Championships) in early October, which she’ll use as a training race and an excuse to get active with the whole family. “My husband Jason and our girls Stephanie and Caitlin are doing it too, so I can’t wait to see them ride,” Ruth says. “Stephanie (12) did it last year, but it will be a first for Caitlin (10).”
The Cup on Wheels has various age categories from Masters to U9-U11 and the Madison Championships is a team race. To find out more about these events see the Events calendar.