Peloton Watch
  Lauren Perry Blog: Racing in the US and the future  
  July 1st 2015 By Lauren Perry  
  Lauren Perry in action at 2014 Australian Championships. Photo PelotonWatch  
  Following two highly successful years in the under 19 ranks with junior world titles in the individual and team pursuit Lauren Perry made an immediate impact at the elite level. In January 2015 Perry was part of the team to win what was at the time just Australia's third World Cup gold in the team pursuit. Less than a month later claimed her first elite individual national title in the scratch race, as well as adding the Oceania scratch title to her palmares later in 2015.

Despite the success upon stepping up to the elite level, the past 18 months have been challenging for the 20 year old both physically and mentally and left her questioning her place in the sport. Following a break earlier this year including missing the Australian Championships, and with limited opportunities to race in Australia, Perry headed to the US to race. In her own words "It's been a battle on whether to keep chasing that Olympic dream or to get myself a degree and a stable future."

After a long 12 months of nothing going my way, battling with viruses and getting near last in every race, I decided it was time to take a break from cycling and start over again. On January 1st after a tough Tassie Carnivals Series I took two months off the bike and did all the things I could never do whilst training. When you train for an average of three hours a day and work another five (average) it's so hard to find time for the 'fun things'.

Soon after returning to training I booked flights to the USA. From the day I booked I think I had roughly seven weeks to get as fit as I could. The first few weeks of training were great. I wasn't going very fast but I was enjoying riding again and had motivation back. As I began to get fitter I would occasionally have days where I felt like I could keep going and going, but I had a lot of days where I felt like people could walk past me faster.

The trip came around very quickly and before I knew it I was here in Kutztown, Pennsylvania. I arrived at midnight on May 30th and instantly hated it - it didn't help I had a nasty cold either. Everything was so different and I suddenly felt a little lost and lonely. Luckily I had a few Aussie sprinters sharing a room with me, which made settling in a little easier. My first race day was the opening night of the UCI racing at the TTown Velodrome.

The racing here is a little different to home and I really like it. From that Friday night I started to enjoy being here much more. I met new people who became great training buddies and friends, which made time off the bike fun too. The reason for my trip to America was because training had become a chore for me. I ride my bike to race, not to train! But the opportunities at home to race frequently aren't there.

Here in America I've been racing around three times a week and as I'm writing this I've raced six out of the last ten days! The fields have been of decent numbers and great quality - especially with the inclusion of the NZ Olympic team. The decision for me to come here and race was one I'll never regret. Although I haven't raced as well as I would've liked I've thoroughly enjoyed my time in the USA.

The past 18 months have been very challenging for me physically, but more so mentally. After 10 years in the sport and at a time where it seems everyone around me is getting their lives together, it's been a battle on whether to keep chasing that Olympic dream or to get myself a degree and a stable future.

I still love the sport of cycling, however my biggest motivator is success - which I believe isn't a bad thing, if I rode to make up the numbers in the bunch I wouldn't be where I am.

With very little success for so long I now question whether I'm capable of achieving my future goals. For now I plan to keep on keeping on, but first I'm really looking forward to a relaxing week with my boyfriend, Darcy before returning home back into training and work.
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