IT’S THE race that is set to make or break the sacrifice, struggle and joy of a year’s training for Justin Vincent.
The 42-year-old schoolteacher will contest his third consecutive Melbourne to Warrnambool Cycling Classic on Saturday, with ambitions of simply crossing the Raglan Parade finish line with a “respectable” time under his belt.
However, Vincent believes his previous experience in the race – which resulted in him finishing in Lismore and Cobden due to fatigue – will hold him in good stead for the 101st annual classic.
He said the mental mountain of pushing his body through 277 kilometres was the toughest challenge on the horizon. “I’ve been getting closer to finishing each year. Making Lismore and Cobden obviously in the last couple of attempts, I’m hoping this year will be the year I’m able to finish it,” he said.
“I think (the mental toughness) of the race is everything. Your legs hurt, and your body is overtired. Mentally knowing you can keep going is the hardest part. It’s definitely a mental challenge.
“Getting across the line and getting a medal is (the same as) winning it for me.”
Vincent will ride alongside fellow Warrnambool Cycling Club member Hayden Brodie in the iconic race.
He said his preparation had been dedicated to spending time on the bike, as well as devising plans for nutrition to be consumed throughout the race.
The race is expected to roll into Warrnambool at 2:45pm.