IT was a performance which shocked Bronte Stewart more than anyone else.
But the Wagga schoolgirl now has confidence she can make an impression in the National Road Series after stunning onlookers with a dominant performance at the recent under-19 state road championships.
Still just 16, Stewart blitzed her rivals by around ten minutes in the road race, horrid wet and windy conditions, but couldn't claim the title as she was too young to be eligible.
It was a stunning display from the diminutive Kildare Catholic College student, who at one stage was nearly blown off the road as storms lashed the Gunning circuit.
Tolland Cycling Club's Stewart, who has signed to race with Sydney Uni Staminade in the upcoming NRS series, also won the time trial the day before.
She has made a habit out of pulling out victories in horrible conditions.
"I was actually thinking before that the harsher the conditions are the better I go, which is a bit weird," she said.
"I just feel comfortable I guess because I know everyone else is struggling, it's a mindset thing.
"It (conditions) was terrible, when we turned around coming into Gunning there was an open stretch of road and the wind came right across and blew me to the other side of the road.
"I did a U-turn and that's when I was out on my own, and the lead car was probably thinking 'what is she doing?'
"That was in the initial break, the first bit when you break away is the most important because you have to work to create the break."
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Stewart said the display over the 68km circuit has given her great self belief before the challenges that lie ahead.
"I felt so comfortable on the weekend, I found my groove in the time trial and then the road race," he aid.
"The junior courses (under 17s) are flat so they're more for the heavier riders with power, and if you're little like me they chase you down.
"But the course on the weekend suited me so much. There was some little climbs where you could get away."
"I was confident I'd put in a good performance but the result really shocked me. I didn't believe it and I think the people around me were a bit overwhelmed as well.
"Everyone kept asking me are you upset you can't take the trophy, but not really."
Stewart said she and fellow youngster Keira Will would look to use their first tilt with Staminade as a chance to develop and learn how to ride as a team in regular races.
"I got a call from an NSWIS coach and said they might offer you a spot. A couple of days later we were talking with the team director and we signed the contract within a week," Stewart said.
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