TO be among the first women to ride international cycling's most brutal one-day event still feels epic to Nicole Frain, one week on.
The Federation University nutrition student, in speaking to The Courier, detailed how incredible it was to be on the starting line for the inaugural Paris-Roubaix Femmes.
A 116.4-kilometre route for a race better known as Hell of the North was far shorter than the men's 260km trek, but the aggressive riding across 17 muddy, slippery cobblestone stretches lived up to the nickname.
Frain, aged 29, finished in the Roubaix velodrome 20 seconds outside the time cut but takes great pride in knowing her name would forever be etched as a starter.
Her hands badly blistered, Frain said riding the cobble sections was so painful, she just had to grit her teeth.
"It was a pretty epic feeling being a part of history. It was a big event, a lot of hype and this played a bit with nerves, too," Frain said.
"Paris-Roubaix isn't like other races where you might have 'easy' points of the race. It's on all day and your body really feels it then to come into a six-day tour."
It was a pretty epic feeling being a part of history. It was a big event, a lot of hype and this played a bit with nerves, too.Nicole Frain
Frain had one day's reprieve before launching back into action with her American team Tribco-Silicon Valley Bank for a six-day tour in the United Kingdom. She said the transfer to the UK was a big and tiring ordeal.
Tribco-SVB teammate Nina Kessler sealed the red sprint jersey for the tour.
It has been a huge step for Frain, who finished third in Cycling Australia Road National Championships eltie time trials in Buninyong, to now be racing on the international stage.
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A body builder-turned triathlete, Frain turned her focus to cycling about four years ago. She is part of Fed Uni's elite athlete program, allowing her to juggle study, competition and work.
Frain bases herself in Ballarat each year for RoadNats and to complete a science intensive for her course.
She has already made clear a strong determination to capture an official finishing time when delving back into Hell of the North next year.
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