• Katrin Garfoot already has a time trial medal, a bronze from the 2014 Commonwealth Games (AAP)Source: AAP
It’s a long way from the Balmoral B-grade club criteriums to the pressure and the atmosphere of the Rio de Janiero Olympics. Few would have thought it possible for a 29-year-old making her racing debut in Murarrie, but with the team for the Games set to be announced soon Katrin Garfoot is all but certain to be announced as completing the unlikely feat.
By
Jamie Finch-Penninger

2 Jun 2016 - 8:50 AM  UPDATED 2 Jun 2016 - 8:51 AM

The German-born Garfoot (34) was coaxed into the sport by her husband, a fact many Australians will be glad of when she appears in the green and gold skinsuit at her pet event, the road time trial, in Rio.

She spoke to Cycling Central from a recent training camp with her Orica-AIS team-mates in Italy.

“When I visited my husband, I was living in New Zealand and he was in Australia, he would go out mountain biking with a friend and I would feel left out. He said to come along, so I borrowed a bike and went.”

“I had a lot of fun and I was quite good at it compared to the guys. So he bought me a mountain bike and then he said I needed a road bike. I said I didn’t need one, but he still bought me one, then I got a better one. He kept on pushing me a bit and eventually he said I should do racing. So I got a three day licence and started racing in 2011.”

It has been a rapid rise since those humble beginnings for Garfoot, with an explosion onto the National Road Series in 2013, winning stages and race overall en-route to the series victory. She quickly picked up by Australian squads heading to Europe and after she impressed there in 2014 she has steadily progressed to the point where she now regularly contends for wins against the best in the world.

“Well it happened quite fast, but because I’m old, it’s probably good that it did happen quite fast. Otherwise, I would never have seen what I have seen. I think the most exciting thing was getting the chance to race in Europe and starting that.”

Starting 2016 with red-hot form, blitzing the time trial at nationals before also winning the first UCI race of the season at the Santos Women’s Tour and then wearing the leader’s jersey early in Qatar. She has built back into form since that strong start and looks like she will head to Rio in good shape, not that Garfoot is getting ahead of herself.

“Well, I haven't been to the Olympics yet so for me the emotions… I don’t know what to expect yet. And it’s still outside the selection period so it’s all about getting there at the moment and I’m trying not to think too much or get emotional about it.”

She went on a reconnaissance trip with Rachel Neylan (Orica-AIS) and senior coaching staff to check out the courses in Rio and appeared happy with the way the trip went.

“It was two and a half days full packed with riding. We rode before and after lunch around the courses, or what we could of the courses that was ready. It was really good to get a good look at the climbs.”

“It will be hard time trial in regards to pacing and what the best tactic will be to use, we are still working on that refining that, but that’s what makes the course interesting. The climbs are short, four kilometres, but they’ll be enough so that the sprinters can’t go up them and I think they will suit me.”

Garfoot has made her name by beating others, but it is the struggle to beat herself that motivates the German-Australian, a fact that no doubt serves her well in the lonely race against the clock.

“For training I’m motivated by beating myself all the time, which is actually quite negative as well because I can’t always beat my best time. So I struggle a lot with ‘Have I been good enough today? I didn’t get the watts I got the other day.’ So I constantly criticise myself but I think that motivates me to go out and do a really good ride.”

After finishing only nine seconds off winner Linda Villumsen (UnitedHealthcare) in the world championships time trial, Garfoot can realistically dream of another Olympic medal in road cycling. It would Australia’s first since Sara Carrigan and Michael Rogers in 2004.