'Happiness and elation'.
That is what Lithgow girl Emily Watts felt when she realised she had secured her spot as the under 23's National Road Racing champion in Ballarat last weekend.
According to Watts, the nationals course hadn't changed since she first competed three years ago and was still 'hard as ever'.
"An added difficulty that we haven't had in past years was the weather as it is usually a very hot race but this year it was freezing and wet," she said.
This meant that many of the technical parts such as cornering had to be taken slower, to avoid a crash.
"The race was on from the start with the winning attack going away on the first lap. I made my breakaway move on lap three and didn't look back," she said.
Watts underwent a lot of training for this event with a range of very specific training for the Time Trial and the Road Race.
"I have never prepared so well prior to a nationals and I went into the championships more confident than ever," she said.
"I have been doing a lot of structured track training for 2020 track nationals and have recently been given an NSWIS scholarship.
"With this scholarship I receive a lot of specialist help including the gym, nutrition advice and psychological support."
She said all the learning and assistance she received with this allowed her to train and race at a higher level.
Watt's didn't face too many challenges in her bid to become the national champion, saying her race went 'super smoothly'.
"I think in the closing few laps we didn't really know how far we were away from the riders in front or behind, this meant that in the closing laps if we were caught from behind than I would have been absolutely spent and unable to potentially keep up with the climbers that were behind," she said.
When Watts realised she had won the title, she was happy and elated.
"My breakaway partner Amber Pate from South Australia crossed the line just ahead of me in a sprint finish, however, that didn't matter, I had reached the two goals I had set and surprised myself so much," she said.
I knew all the work and sacrifice was worth it.Emily Watts
"I was still crying even when I got to the presentation and when I put on the green and gold jersey for the first time.
"It was the most amazing feeling of pure disbelief, the experience was all very surreal and I was even pinching myself for many hours after it."
Now that Watts has had the time to take in the massive achievement, she says it hasn't changed the way she approaches anything in her life.
"I am still the same Emily, I had a really good race and am really proud of my achievements," she said.
"My love for cycling will stay the same."
Watts now goes straight back into training.
"The next National road series is in late March and I also have the 2021 Track Nationals that I am training for," she said.
Watts said she couldn't have made it without all the support of her family, friends and sponsors.
"I would like to just acknowledge all the supportive messages that I received after my racing although I haven't got to replying to all them yet, your support is amazing," she said.
"My family and my boyfriend have been the most supportive with me having to frequently put my training as a priority over holidays and just my general time.
"Also, my team KOM Knights of Suburbia, to celebrate with them after the race was the most amazing experience and the utter stress they all felt during the race for me truly warms my heart.
"To the team sponsors and my personal sponsor, their support has been critical to my success in cycling so far."