Cycling: Schofield announces retirement

Katie Schofield.
Katie Schofield.
Dunedin rider Katie Schofield has announced her retirement from competitive cycling in an emotional blog post after being dropped from the Cycling New Zealand high performance programme.

Schofield, who finished fourth in the women's team sprint with Natasha Hansen at the ICU track cycling World Cup in Colombia last year, breaking a New Zealand record in the process, said she was devastated to be dropped from the national team for the second time.

Schofield was cast aside by the national body in 2014, but fought her way back into the frame to be in a three-way contest with Hansen and Steph McKenzie for two places at this year's Rio Olympics.

However, she missed out on those places, despite achieving a personal best at a recent trial to retain her national spot, and said she no longer had the drive to continue in the sport.

"Yes, I could keep going, as I am in the best state physically - achieving a personal best in my trial can confirm that.

"But I have been on my own before [in 2014] and it was tough.

"[That year] was a testament to my drive, commitment, determination and intelligence to train myself to get back into the squad for the international competitions at the end of that year.

"And again, over the last two months, with the support of the luxuries you get with being in the high-performance programme, I improved from where I was at before that training block.

"But I made gains because I had some collaborative input to my day-day training and that particular programme worked for me.

"But now, mentally and emotionally, I am done.''

Schofield said she was told two weeks ago she had been dropped because she had not progressed enough during the past 15 months.

It was a decision she has had trouble coming to terms with, she said.

"I disagree with the reasoning for my dismissal but nothing can or will be done to change it.

"This has been extremely hard for me to take.

"Imagine being told that tomorrow you can't turn up to work and live out your passion.

"But that is the nature of professional sport.''

Her decision to retire had come earlier than expected, but she had done all she could to realise her dream, she said.

"I have fully enjoyed my time in the high performance programme.

"To ride a bike and train for a living is an experience that I will cherish.

"Being a part of the centralised programme and seeing the development of world class [riders] and the crowning of world championship riders is a testament to its success.''

Retirement was a daunting prospect and Schofield was not sure what lay ahead, she said.

However, it was likely she would enter the science or research fields.

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