Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Impromptu training camp.

Over Christmas I had a few days off, which I felt I deserved after a long training period. Although I might not have if I was going to nationals. Unfortunately I did not make the team, which was not entirely unexpected. With that said, the decision was only recently made that individual entrants would not be accepted to race at nationals (as they have for the last couple of years). I can't help but think it was a silly decision on the part of the officials, and the timing of it was also poor. With less than two months before the event that I had been training for all year, I had hoped that they would at least wait until the following season to implement the new ruling. Politics. Fortunately, though, this did not mean the end of my race season, just the end of the major events for me. 3 days ago I raced at the Summer Sprint Series at the Blackburn Velodrome, but I'll get on to that in a minute.

Bike storage in the ghetto gym.
Over New Year's I was up in Bairnsdale having an impromptu training camp with a few of my training partners. While we were up there, we were staying up at one of the boys' houses, of whom I have a lot of respect for after the drive up. The drive up to Bairnsdale is roughly 3 and a half hours long and he was making the trip, there and back, every Sunday for a while leading up to competition. Whilst up there, we went on road rides (where I did some sprint efforts) and some of the guys did some very intense gym sessions in a very small area of the garage. The camaraderie, let alone the testosterone, during these training sessions was awesome. I'm sure the neighbours, despite them living a fair way down the road, were probably sick of all the cheering and encouragement by the end of the few days. 

Bairnsdale is quite a beautiful place. On one of our rides we went to a lookout and the view was brilliant. For New Year's Eve we went into Paynesville. The family we were staying with own a boat and we were lucky enough to be able to sit on the boat, some 50 metres from where the fireworks were being shot off in the bay. I have to say that the experience overall in the Bairnsdale area, with my best friends and training partners, was fantastic. 
The view on our bike ride.
Fireworks on NYE

Now onto the Sprint Series. Last Sunday saw the 4th, and penultimate, round of the Summer Sprint Series for the 2015/2016 track season. For this round there were only 4 people in A grade, but that's not to say that the competition wasn't tough. This round saw a number of people from interstate. Two people from QLD and two from NSW. I decided to pull out my Victorian skin suit and put an even bigger target on my back, just for the occasion. During this round we even saw the women's track record broken by less than a tenth of a second with a 12.8s F200. The qualifying times for A grade saw the fastest do a 12.0 from NSW, followed by a 12.1 who was a local, then myself with a 12.3 and lastly another 12.3 from one of the Queenslanders. I wasn't particularly happy with my qualifying time, it was a fair bit slower than in the previous round. After seeing the times, I knew that I had my work cut out for me, it was going to be down to some tactical racing.

The first round for myself was against one of my training partners who had qualified 2 tenths quicker than me. Despite this, I had the front and managed to control the race to my advantage and won. The second round ended up going a similar way against the Queensland rider. In the third round I was racing the NSW rider, who qualified fastest with a 12.0. This was a very challenging ride. He was both faster than me and had a good tactical ability. I started the race as the following rider, and knew that I needed to take the lead as soon as possible in order to control the race. The main reason for this was that he had a similar riding style to myself. A powerful kick. This meant that chances were, the person on the front doing a late kick would win. I took the front, however I moved up the track a little too far near the front straight with one lap to go and NSW snuck underneath me. At this point I knew that I desperately needed to make a move. I took height in turn 1/2 and hammered it down the straight in an attempt to get past. For those who don't know, passing around turn 3 and 4 at the BBN track is very rarely successful. However I somehow did the impossible. I stayed on his hip enough as we were coming around the bend to get the run off the bank towards the finish line and managed to win that round. At this stage I was undefeated for the day. All that was left was the 1 vs 2 final for me. This also meant that I was racing NSW again going into it. The final started the same way, I was the following rider. I told myself that I couldn't risk having to make the pass again like in the previous round. I took the lead from underneath the rider, although he shut the door very hard and I held my nerve as I took the position in front. The pace picked up almost immediately as NSW wanted to stop me from having the lead. I matched his pace and he was caught on the hip. This forced him to make a move, of which I countered entering turn 1/2 as he moved up the track. I watched and waited until the last second to make my finishing move down the back straight. I had the pressure on through turn 3/4 and managed to hold off the NSW rider and take the A grade win for the day. Interestingly enough, despite my qualifying time of 12.3 seconds, my final 200, for which I was leading the whole time in the last race, ended up being 11.9 seconds. I can't remember the exact numbers, but I am pretty sure it was marginally faster than my qualifying in the previous round when I also did 11.9. I think there's something in there about motivation and me riding faster when I've got a carrot to chase. Somehow I need to learn to channel that fire when I'm in training and when qualifying for events. 

A grade heat 1
At this point I am currently leading the overall aggregate for the Sprint Series. I am hoping that I can maintain my lead at the end of the last round in February. I'm looking forward to the next round, hopefully I can manage a F200 that I am happy with. 

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