DUAL Olympic medallist Michelle Ferris knows exactly where she is heading once she crosses the 76-kilometre Port Campbell to Warrnambool Handicap finish line.
The Sydney-based former track cyclist will head from the Raglan Parade finish of the Melbourne to Warrnambool, turn left onto Kepler Street and then take another left onto Lava Street before stopping at popular burger shop Kermond's.
A burger with the lot and a side of chips is the reward the 43-year-old, who won silver medals at the Atlanta (1996) and Sydney (2000) Olympics, has set for finishing the inaugural edition of the handicap on February 15.
The Cycling Australia Hall of Fame member has no aspirations of winning the handicap or Sunday's criterium at the breakwater but only wishes to finish both.
The handicap begins in Port Campbell and follows the final 75 kilometres of the elite Melbourne to Warrnambool course before crossing the finish line in Raglan Parade a few hours before the elite race.
4️⃣ Days until entries close!— Powercor Melbourne to Warrnambool (@M2WCycling) February 3, 2020
🔜 Make sure you don't miss out on racing the @PowercorAust#M2W20, Royal Bikes #PortCampbell to #Warrnambool Handicap and the @LadyBayResort
Middle Island Criterium.
🖥️ Enter: https://t.co/8FW1gjavBq…/schedu…/entries/#VisitVictoria#VicGovAUpic.twitter.com/4jMVukQG4g
Ferris' decision to return to her home state and race in the Melbourne to Warrnambool's newest events, for which entries close on Friday, centered around her rediscovered love of the sport.
"I've spent a lot of time off the bike the last few years and getting back on the bike has helped me mentally," she said.
"I've always wanted to be part of the Melbourne to Warrnambool in some way coming from Warrnambool and I thought that with the with the longer rides I am doing nowadays I decided I wanted to go do a race that was completely out of my comfort zone and also allowed me to come home for weekend.
"So that ticked off a couple of the boxes to make me think 'why not do this?'."
Ferris, who works in a bike shop in Cronulla and has begun to dip her toes into coaching, said her competitive edge had also returned.
"I felt like life was boring as you'd get up eat, go to work, come home, eat and go to sleep and I thought about getting back into riding," she said.
"It's something to do but it has also helped me feel much better mentally and overall which gives me something to think about, to do socially and also expanded to doing some races again.
"I'm thinking of doing more criteriums and short races but it's not about winning but that social aspect and challenging myself to do something different."
🚲☀ Training up for the @BayCrits or the @CyclingAus National Crit champs? Maintain your form and give the Lady Bay Resort Middle Island Criterium a shot.— Powercor Melbourne to Warrnambool (@M2WCycling) December 30, 2019
📆 Sunday 16 February 2020.
📍 Pavilion Cafe & Bar.
ℹ️ Enter here: https://t.co/12TpKaz9T3#M2W20pic.twitter.com/j7ZP8huECN
Road cycling is still a little foreign to Commonwealth Games and World Championships medallist but she is starting to get the hang of it.
"I had actually done it when I was on the track as a form of recovery," Ferris said.
"But what I have noticed as a track rider you have one gear and on the road you have multiple options and sometimes I forget to use them. It's quite funny because I get stuck in a gear and forget to change it.
"It's those little things - the racing and positioning for racing - but it has been fun and challenging at the same time and I still go out there with a smile on my face."
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