My name is Hannah van Kampen, and I am a first year Bachelor of Recreation and Sport student at EIT. I’m also a cyclist and am currently balancing study with my build-up to the nationals where I hope to achieve a medal in the open field.I have been cycling competitively for three years in New Zealand. Last year, I spent five months in the Netherlands as a guest rider for a Dutch cycling team – the Netherlands because I had connections there, but Europe because it’s the heart of cycling. My ultimate goal is professional cycling and Europe is the place to achieve this goal, so last year I went to get a taste of top-level women’s cycling. It was a great experience and I now have a good understanding of what it takes to get to the top. It’s a long journey up, but I’m willing to give it a go. But first, I have decided to knuckle down and complete my Bachelor of Recreation and Sport to give myself a better understanding of sport and to have a degree to my name.I started at EIT a couple of months ago and think I have been successful in balancing my training with study. My coach Ivar Hopman lives just across the road from EIT, so I have been able to sneak in a few training sessions at lunch time, although I have discovered concentration levels in class are low after an erg session which involves 6 x 5 minute efforts –not really one of my better ideas. I think the most successful way I can balance training with study is to be organised, use my time well and learn to prioritise appropriately.
Club nationals start in Queenstown in a week’s time so I have been building up to that and am currently starting to ease off training to fully recover for race day. My build-up has included a lot of racing – club races every Tuesday and Thursday night and a Ramblers Club race on Saturday afternoons as well as travelling for a few tours (multi-stage events) around the North Island. That has included the Hub Tour, a three-day tour consisting of a time trial, two road races and a criterium, which is raced around a small circuit that is usually less than a kilometre. Points are awarded on sprint laps. I finished the Hub Tour first to take home my first tour win and the yellow winner’s jersey. My most recent tour was the PNP Cycling Club Easter Tour. Racing with the B grade men was very interesting and challenging. A further challenge was the amount of racing – five races covering 400km and all in three days. Let’s just say our food consumption was impressive! I came away from that with three stage wins and finished third overall in the A grade women’s category – a good enough effort to earn that Easter chocoIate methinks.
So that’s what’s been happening for me in the past few months. One more big effort in training and then it’s race time. The excitement’s sky high, and a little bit of nerves is starting to kick in. Bring it on:).