Tuesday, 9 February 2016


These last few weeks have been pretty eventful. Lots of racing has been run and it's been a satisfying end to a hard season. The 26th of January saw the Australia Day Madison at Blackburn Cycling Club. I'm not one to race the Madison, which I don't think is hard to believe considering my background in sprint cycling. However I did race the support races, or at least most of them. It was a fairly challenging day, as I am not used to riding endurance events. There were a number of events including scratch races, handicaps, eliminations, keirins and an "Australian Crawl". The Crawl, also know as "The World's Longest Lap" is an event that has only recently taken off. It is more of a spectator event rather than a championship event. The premise is that the riders must not pass the start/finish line before the whistle is blown. The timing is dependant on a commisaire's decision, up to 5 minutes was the ruling given on the day. You can imagine that track standing is involved and the ability to accelerate quickly is also taken into account. I lined up and expecting to do quite well considering my experience with track standing and gate starts, although the mindset made me somewhat cocky. Unfortunately over-confidence meant that I over-thought the event too much, came too close to the start/finish line too early, and managed to fall off during an attempt at over-correction. Fortunately the only thing that was hurt was my ego.

The rest of the day went reasonably well. I managed to come second in the scratch race, pipped on the line. I've had a tendency to sit on the front trying to control the race far too much as of late. It works in keirins and match sprints over less than 3 laps, but not so much when you have a lot of pressure coming, in longer events. The handicap was interesting. I was off scratch, which is unusual for me. I didn't win, and it hurt like hell. That's all there is to it. The keirins were a nice change. An event I was more familiar with, and one that I knew how to race back to front if I wanted to. I managed to win the event off the front with a late kick. Classic textbook ride. The keirins were part of an on-going series at my club with an overall aggregate prize. I missed the first round, but I am hoping that I will be able to bring back the lead over the next few rounds.

Australia Day Carnival
The following Saturday, some 4 days later, I was at Blackburn again, racing more handicaps, scratch races and keirins. This day was much more successful in which I won all of my events. I was off scratch again in the handicap as well. I think the handicapper is trying to get me back for something, although I'm not sure what at the moment. More points towards the overall keirin aggregate.

Yesterday, the 7th of February, saw the final round of the Blackburn Aboc Summer Sprint Series for the 2015/2016 track season. It was a pretty good final round. A number of my old training partners turned up to watch. A current training partner, who has been training almost solely in the gym since State's, decided he would give the round a crack. The qualifying times for A grade went from 12.7 down to 11.9. There were 5 riders. 12.7, a rider who was only new to track sprinting (although not track in general). 12.6 was done by an under 17 rider whose development has been outstanding over the last few years, and whose first experience with sprinting was as the series a few years ago. In the more pointy end of A grade a fellow squad mate pulled out a 12.1. The second fastest was ridden by my fellow Castelli-clad companion with an 11.930, and finally myself with and 11.911.

Castelli-clad Companion

I did not end up racing against the second 11.9 qualifier until the finals. It was a very quick race. My opponent began the race in the lead. It's important to note at this point, that he has started out of the gate for me in the past, which implies that he is a very explosive rider. Having him in front of me with one lap to go is not a good plan if I want to win. However, coming out of turn 2 with 2 laps to go, I coaxed him into moving up the track, just enough so that I could dive down into the lane underneath him. This allowed me to take the front of the bike race and control it. I was able to guard the sprinters lane effectively and increase the pace when necessary to avoid having a move made against me. It wasn't until halfway down the back straight that I finally put full gas into my sprint, where I managed to hit 64km/h. If that doesn't sound fast, that's because it's at the Blackburn velodrome, where it is very difficult to go much faster. I managed to hold off on the front and take the daily win. This win meant that I also won the overall aggregate of the series. The prizes were: my name put onto the Trevor Watson Trophy, my own smaller equivalent trophy, and a number of custom made Gr8 Designs track chainrings. They are a really cool black with yellow stickers to match my BT.

Gr8 Designs Chain Rings
Final Round A Grade Podium
I was, and still am, very happy to have been able to take out the win. It means a lot to me as this series has helped me develop as a rider over a number of years and is a testament to all of the time, hard work, and support that my coach Carl Brewer at Track Torque, my friends and my family have given to me, for which I am very grateful.

At the end of the day, I even managed to snag a.. well, snag off the BBQ. Can't ask for more any more than that!

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