Peloton Watch
  Michaela Drummond to focus on the track and Commonwealth Games selection  
  July 8th 2017  
  Michaela Drummond celebrates winning the 2017 New Zealand Madison title. Photo: Dianne Manson  
  As the 2018 Commonwealth Games edge closer New Zealand hopeful Michaela Drummond has decided to finish her road season earlier than expected. With the 19-year-old now moving back to New Zealand from racing in the US in early August to focus on working towards selection for the Games.

Drummond headed to the United States to race with Visit Dallas DNA Pro Cycling after an outstanding track season, her first in the elite category. Where she won the Oceania scratch race, two New Zealand titles, claimed two World Cup silver medals and added team pursuit bronze at the World Championships.

Her first block of racing in the United States ran from late April to early June with the month and a half of racing exposing her to a mix of criterium and road races. Including her first ever UCI race at the Tour of California before she picked up a 10 top at the Grand Prix Cycliste de Gatineau.

After a quick trip home for university exams, Drummond headed to California for a training camp with her New Zealand track teammates. In consultation with her coach Brendon Cameron, Drummond made the decision to finish her current stint in the US at the start of August with the Cascade Classic and then return to New Zealand and work towards the Commonwealth Games.

Headed to the US to join Visit Dallas DNA after Track Worlds what were your expectations?

Heading to the USA I expected a lot of racing, travelling and to bring my riding to another level. Coming off Track Worlds I knew I wouldn't have any base miles in the bank so I was going to struggle in the longer road races. So I decided I would focus on the criteriums while using the road races for fitness.

Found it difficult at first adjusting to life in the US how did you adapt to it?

I struggled at the start with the natural feelings of missing home and not going as well as I had hoped for both the team and myself. I don't like letting people down and not performing well added to the stress. I started asking myself questions about why I was even there. I did realise I needed to be patient and things would get easier. They did and I started making my way further up the peloton race by race. Then before I knew it I was behind in study and the stress kicked in again. I managed to get through exams and racing but mentally I was struggling.

Your first ever UCI race was a World Tour race the Tour of California what was it like racing against some of the best road riders in the world?

I was super proud to be able to step up for my team and take to the start line of the Tour of California as originally I wasn't on the roster. It was an awesome four days of racing in one of the most beautiful places Lake Tahoe. It was a real honour to race with the likes of Boels-Dolmans but also very challenging. It is something I will never forget.

Claimed a top 10 in a UCI race Grand Prix Cycliste de Gatineau what did it mean to get that result?

Top 10 was really good and satisfactory for me as it showed my results were improving every race. Personally I would have loved to have nailed the lead out for teammate Mandy Heintz, which would have made the result all that much better.

Just finished a training camp in New Zealand with Cycling New Zealand how did you find it?

After going home to New Zealand for exams I got really sick with a chest infection so I wasn't able to fly to California as planned and begin camp a day late with the girls. I ended up missing another four days of training and found it a challenge to ride at the level I was expected to.

Looking back at the camp I don't feel as off form as I thought I was. I just had been really sick. Went on a flight and hadn't fully recovered. I still hadn't even finished my antibiotics when I started training again so I just want to take that into account to build my confidence for the rest of the season. I have worked hard and I have loved every bit of racing that I have done to date.

Made the decision to come back to New Zealand and focus on making the team was it a hard choice to make?

To be honest the choice wasn't hard. I knew what the right thing to do was for me but the thought of letting anyone down was the biggest fear. After struggling on a training camp with the New Zealand girls and not sleeping something had to change and I had to do it for myself.

This was the most selfish decision I have had to make to date but I have a very understanding team that also just wants the best for me. After hearing their approval for me leaving early the stress dropped and I felt a sense of relief. I can't begin to explain how thankful I am to have been apart of such an amazing team and I can't wait to deliver some great racing in Boise and Cascade to finish my season with them. So my choice was easy but the pressure to please was difficult.

Track season and the Commonwealth Games your full focus now?

I want to build up my fitness for the upcoming World Cups and begin to show some great form so that the Commonwealth Games could be a possible event for me. I have a lot of work to do and it's not going to be easy by any means. It is time to get my head stuck into these next few weeks of racing in the US and go home where the real hard work will begin.

You have represented New Zealand at both junior and elite World Championships what would it mean to be selected from the Commonwealth Games?

Selection for the Commonwealth Games will give me the confidence that I need to say that I'm on track for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Everything for me is a step by step guide and the Commonwealth Games is one step. It would be extremely rewarding and it's only in Brisbane so easy for the whole family to come and watch. Which is something that I've always wanted.

Your professional team Visit Dallas DNA Pro Cycling has been supportive in allowing you to go back to New Zealand?

I have been truly blessed with a supportive team/family. They looked after me so well for my short time in US. I have made some amazing friends and I have learnt so much. They only want the best for me and as I want the best for them. Leaving the US knowing I have their full support is really awesome and I know a lot of people would say the same.

Overall how did you find the racing in the US? What has been your highlight?

My experience has been life changing. I have learnt so much about myself and I was able to meet a bunch of new girls and staff. Riding my bike was just half of what I learned racing over in the states but the highlight no doubt would be making long term friends in Visit Dallas DNA.

What was the biggest challenge you found?

Racing in the USA is challenging to say the least. It was a massive step up from national racing in New Zealand. I had never really experienced teams racing either which I believe makes the racing even more challenging. Thankfully I had a really awesome team that supported each other as well so that made the transition easier.

The biggest challenge for me was the constant travelling. It's hard to fit in a good block of training when you are racing every weekend. Also the constant fight to stay with a peloton who had started the road season in January I felt like I was playing catch up every race.
 © 2016