A long way to the top but Taryn’s on a roll

TARYN Heather is furiously pedalling the Border’s roads.

Decked out in the black-and-white livery of team Bigla, a Swiss flag leaving no doubt as to its origins, she is preparing for a nine-month northern hemisphere professional cycling season riding 800 kilometres a week, spending 30 hours in the saddle through the heat of an Australian summer.

But the former Holbrook woman, who is living in Wodonga, 30, is not complaining. She is living the dream — picked up by the rookie professional team as a specialist time triallist after three seasons with the AIS team in Europe.

Yesterday the 55-kilogram dynamo had just finished an early morning session behind a motor bike as the mercury edged towards the 30s.

By the end of the month, she will be in the team headquarters — just outside Zurich — in metres of snow and doing cross-country skiing to ready her for the racing summer.

Her program will be handpicked to maximise her speed and climbing ability.

“I hate the cold, hate the snow,” she said.

“But after three years with the Australian road-racing team, it was time for a change and this was just too good an opportunity to give up.

“I’m on a strength-based endurance program, because once you get into the season you can’t get that sort of training into your legs,” she said.

“You need to build a base that carries you through the year.”

Heather said the UCI women’s tour started next month in Qatar but her first race would be on the cobblestones of Belgium in the first week of March.

“The team has 14 girls with six picked for each event, depending on where your strengths lie,” she said.

“I’ve been picked for time trials but I’ll also be used in stage races where there are hill climbs.

“My first race is a road race, a cobblestone road race.

“I actually like it, even though I’m probably not that good at it.

“It is really tough — after a day on the cobblestones you find muscles you never even thought existed.”

Heather will live with another Aussie on the team but is feverishly studying German — the team language.

“They speak German where we are based and so do the managers but nearly all the riders speak English as a second language,” she said.

“I’ve spent three years in Italy with the AIS, so I know a bit of Italian but you learn the swear words in just about every language when you ride in Europe.”

Heather said the ultimate goal was the world championships in late September.

“But we won’t be sitting around twiddling our thumbs — over the nine months it averages out to two or three race days a week, but then sometimes it is a seven-day tour and a few days off,” she said.

“I’m on the team as a time triallist so, at the world champs in Spain in September, we will race as a team in the time trial. That is the goal, that’s what I’m there for.”

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