Morelli fights to Para-Cycling World Championships for 3rd year in a row
This is a special installment from Shawn Morelli about her recent fight to earn her 3rd set of World Championship stripes at the Para-Cycling World Championships.
Maniago, Italy – Well where do I begin. My week did not start off like I would have liked as my bikes somehow never left Denver. So when I arrived in Italy I had no bikes and no one could tell me there location. I took 2 additional days for them to arrive. So as you can imagine I was full of some anxiety and frustration.
However they did arrive and I began my preparation for the Time Trail and Road Race which was a lot pre-riding the TT course to develop a plan on how I was going to race. Lucky the TT course and RR course were the same course this year so all my planning could be done fairly easily.
The night before the Time Trail I talked to my coach Simon Bennett and we developed a detailed plan on how to race the course down to how many watts at each kilometer of the race I needed to be at. The only unknown was what my competitors were brining to the fight. I knew they had been training since May for this race so they were coming in strong. My training has been hit and miss all season because of medical issue I have been receiving treatment for that has interrupted my last couple training blocks. But my coach believed I had done what I needed to do be ready and if I executed the plan I would be successful. So on the day of my TT I went to line believing this was my race. I rolled out and immediately started receiving direction from my follow car. At my first split I was told I only had a 1 sec led. I knew this was going to be a close race. At my second spilt with 3km to go I was 3sec up. Now factor in human error and I knew I was going to have to lay everything down right there to win. I did. I crossed the line with an 8sec gap to second and a 10sec to 3rd. It was close but I had the victory.
Then the Road Race came rolling around on 5 August. I had done my best to recover from the TT. Again I had talked to my coach and had a plan for the Road Race, but like with all good plans they go out the door once the race starts and you adjust on the road. The Race was 68km over a 5 lap circuit. At 47.8km I found myself in a break with one other rider Hannah of Australia. I asked her if we are working together or fighting each other. We agreed to work together to build our lead and fight it out in the last 3km. It was a very hot day and we raced in hottest part of the day. We had some missed feeds and found ourselves sharing water and dumping water on each other, taking bottles from random people who were offering them because we could not get enough fluids. I went through 8 bottles in that 68km. Seems like a lot. So we stuck together building our lead and the last 3km it was on like donkey Kong. At 2.5 km I came from the back and put in a 80% attack, getting a good gap and let Hannah come back into me and go in-front. I knew this could be a risky move but I had a plan for the last 1km so I was not concerned ok maybe a little concerned because she came past me in a sprint and I had to grab her wheel or it would be over. We passed the 1km to go banner and I told myself be patient follow your plan. This was very difficult as I was getting as I had to be calm approaching 800m to go, I knew we had to make a very hard off camber right turn into and uphill cobble finish. I came off her wheel right before the turn. Hit the turn full gas and was up and sprinting before she was all the way through turn. I was banking on getting a lead coming out of the turn and because it was a cobble finish she would not be able to close in time. I did a quick check and saw I had just over a bike length, stood and sprinted at 200m to go I checked again and saw I had a sizable gap, sat and continued to sprint across the line.
Then it was done. I collapsed into our swannies ams. I didn’t even have the energy to celebrate. It was one of the hardest races I had done, the course, heat and competition. I ended my week with 2 World Championships, making it the 3rd year to retain both jerseys. One thing is sure these gals are hot on my heels. I look forward to racing with all of them again.