Saturday, 12 December 2015

Three years in the making.

The last few weeks have been pretty successful for me. I have had the Vic GP (which I talked about in the previous post), a couple of Sprint Series rounds (open to novice riders as well for those interested!), and as of today I raced at the Victorian State titles.

The last two rounds of the ABOC Sprint Series, held at Blackburn, have been really exciting to race. There has been some solid competition and some very tactical races. In the first of the two rounds since I last spoke, I rode a 12.4s flying 200, which isn't fantastic considering some times I have done in the past. However, it is a fairly consistent time, my times hadn't varied a lot in the last year or so. That time qualified me in 3rd place, behind a 12.1 and a 12.0. Despite this, I knew that I had to give it my all if I wanted to win. It came down a lot to tactical ability and I was able to make my way to the 1st vs 2nd final and win. I've had a tendency, lately, to race a lot better than I qualify. My tactical ability, as well as my overall effort to push myself seems to be amplified when I am put in a situation racing another rider. I can often win races against people who qualify faster than me, however, when I am racing against the clock, something seems to be a little off. It's an issue I need to work on in order to ride faster timed events.

In the most recent round of the ABOC Sprint Series I managed to show some improvements to my F200 time. Whilst it was not my fastest time at the Blackburn velodrome, it was a milestone I hadn't seen in a long time, and that was breaking the 12 second barrier, with an 11.9 second flying 200. I was pretty happy with that time considering I hadn't come close since early 2014. This round saw me take out the overall win again, putting me as the current overall leader in the aggregate points. I hope to be able to maintain my lead for the remaining two rounds, but I don't think it's going to be easy. There's plenty of competition.

Today, the 12th of December 2015, was the Victorian State Championships. It was a very eventful day, full of interesting twists and turns, but one that was ultimately very successful. The racing commenced at 9:00am, although they were pursuits, something I don't race. I started my warm up at around 9:30. My warmup is a series of hops, skips and jumps in order to activate the muscles with minimal fatigue (as compared to spending time on the rollers or riding laps around the track), which we have dubbed Prancercise.  This is then followed by a couple of activations on the track. It's a pretty simple warm up, but it's proven effective. The first event I had was at a little after 10am. It was a standing lap. When the gate let me go, I managed to pull my foot and I had to reset, which put me off a little bit. However I still pulled out a time of 19.1s when I attempted it again. There were no medals presented for it and I hadn't really prepared for it. I had decided to do it only a few days before the event. I wasn't particularly happy with that time, but it wasn't the event I was there to race.

After that I spent a couple of hours preparing for the sprints. I sat for a little bit before spending a couple of minutes on the rollers and doing a power jump in preparation. Prior to the qualifying I felt relatively calm. I wasn't nervous. It turns out today as well that all of the stars aligned. For those of you who have read previous posts of mine, you would know that for the last 3 or so years, I have had a time goal to reach during qualifying for match sprints. And that has been to break the 11 second barrier over 200 metres (10.999 or faster). It has been a point of contention of mine for a very long time, and today I managed to finally achieve what I have been working towards for far too long. I qualified with a time of 10.985. I crossed the line and looked up. I couldn't help but let out a little fist pump and a smile as I rolled around the top of the track. I raced a total of 5 more races that day. One elimination round and 2 best of 3 rounds. After winning the elimination round I was put up against the top seed rider who had ridden a 10.5s f200. The first race was fairly close, I rode it tactically well and he only managed to pass me on the line. The second race was a bit more interesting. In the last 3/4s or so of the last lap my rear wheel exploded.
I can't say that I am entirely sure how it happened. I was in the middle of the bend at the time and managed to ride it on the rim to the end of the back straight before I fell off on the grey concrete at the bottom of the track. Fortunately I'd slowed down significantly by then and only ended up with a small hole in my skin suit. It could have been a bit worse. There were a few chunks taken out of my frame where the rim hit. I'm optimistic that the damage is not significant enough to make the bike un-rideable. Fingers crossed. 

The commissaires decided to give the race to my opponent, which put me into the 3rd vs 4th final. Despite the little stack I got back up and, after borrowing someone else's wheel, raced another two rounds in which I won back to back sprints. I claimed my bronze medal after a hard, but very rewarding day of racing.  I must say as well that the day was rewarding from more than the point of view of my success. I saw one of my training partners ride successfully in the women's events claiming second in the sprint, and I also so another of my close friends and training partners break the 11 second barrier straight after myself. Watching the hard work pay off for them is certainly very inspiring as well. My coach also deserves a mention for being supportive of me for a long time where I have struggled to work towards achieving this big milestone of mine.
Back to training tomorrow. 

No comments:

Post a Comment