By Mark Zalewski in Ballarat
Three months ago, twenty-three year old and Tasmania native Cameron Wurf was coming back from the rowing world championships with a bit of tendonitis bothering his wrist. So he decided to pick up cycling as a way of staying in shape as he recovered. Three months later, Wurf is faced with a decision - stay with the sport of rowing through his goal of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, or pursue his new found talent in cycling, after taking a surprising fourth place in the elite men's time trial in Ballarat?
"This was the first time trial I've ever done!" Wurf told Cyclingnews after the race. "In the last 8 km I found the going a little bit tough. I'm used to rowing and we only row for seven minutes. 49 minutes is like seven rowing races back to back!"
"After the rowing world champs I had tendonitis, and I needed time off to focus on Beijing. I started cycling for cross training, and for the past three months I've just trained... done a couple of local races too. I liked it, so I looked at the time trial because it's the closest thing to a rowing race. The bikes look pretty cool too, so I figured I'd have a crack at making one of them go fast, and here I am today."
With this result after only three months on a bike, especially ahead of some strong riders, Wurf is pondering the option of racing more. "I'd love an opportunity to pursue cycling. I loved it out there today! I have the Olympics in rowing, but I've enjoyed every training session the last few months, so I'd love an opportunity to pursue it. I'd take it if it was offered, but I'll wait and see what happens."
Before anything, the former U23 world champion rower will contest Sunday's elite road race, which should be a different experience all together as rowers do not race in packs. "I'm 72 kilos so I hope to get over the hills okay. The big thing for me is just learning right now, tactics and so forth. That is something you don't have to worry about in rowing, because you have your own lane. Pretty much the same with the time trial too."
In a perfect world, Wurf would be able to pursue both rowing and cycling, though he is unsure how feasible that may be. Regardless, he says he would not try both if it meant compromising either. "If I had the opportunity to row until Beijing and then go to cycling, that would be cool. But I feel you have to commit one hundred percent to something."
Of course, the money that is involved in cycling as a way of earning a living might be an argument some would think would sway him onto two wheels. But Wurf does not think in those terms. "There is a lot of money in cycling, and none in rowing. But that is the beauty of coming from rowing, I do it for the love of the sport."