WHEN is pain good pain? When it helps you to become a successful member of the Everesting club.
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Last Sunday former Bathurst Cycling Club talent Emily Watts set herself the challenge of virtually riding up Mount Everest. She did it indoors at her Lithgow home using her bike, rollers and Zwift online.
She used it as a way to mark the one-year anniversary of a training accident which had left her in a neck and back brace.
"When you think about what I felt this time last year - it's a different sort of pain, but I like it," Watts said.
"I was up at 4.15am to get myself ready and I finished around 4pm - it was 11 hours and 12 minutes.
"The longest I would have been on the bike before is like five-and-a-half hours and I never even dreamt of doing a 200 kilometre long ride. I think my longest ride would have been about 140 kays."
Watts completed the virtual climb of Everest by climbing and descending on the Watopia KOM reverse course.
"I'd done a little bit of research and I spoke to someone who'd done it four times on Zwift - which is crazy - and he said this was the best climb to do it on," she said.
"It was a 25-minute climb which meant you were resting quite frequently unlike other climbs which would take you like an hour, if you did that you would get less recovery."
During the challenge Watts only took three breaks to eat and change. They lasted no longer than 15 minutes.
Those small breaks, as well as watching movies and talking to fellow riders, helped Watts to conquer her epic challenge.
"It was actually easier than I'd expected, I thought that I'd get to about hour three, four or five and be like 'I don't how I'm going to get through double this or triple this', but I kept myself distracted by talking to other people who were riding with me and it ended up going quite fast," she said.
As well as being an achievement which she will long remember, the Everest challenge was also good preparation for Watts' National Road Series on Zwfit season.
This Saturday Watts will line up for her Subaru-Giant team in the first virtual cycling race of the national series - one designed to give Australia's leading domestic riders some competition during the coronavirus shutdown.
The first race will be a criterium held on the Dolphin Circuit, which begins at 10am.
"I don't know how many women's teams will be in it, but there will be a fair few people in it because we are allowed more riders than would usually be allowed on the road," she said.
"We can ride with six to 10 girls in a team. It's different sort of tactics and we are still trying to work it out - you can't really lead people out in sprints because you can actually see the watts per kilo that riders are doing.
"You can't really surprise the pack with an attack, breakaways are 10 times harder - it's interesting and it will be very hard racing, which is what we need at the moment."
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