Sunday, 26 May 2013

I won a sprint! I won a sprint!! This NEVER happens!

My season hasn’t started very well this year. I ended last year on a bit of a low after psyching myself out at derny nationals and generally getting very tired and under the weather. I spent this winter working upwards of 2 jobs, and as a result did next to no training at all, so predictably, come summer, and with the standard of women’s racing skyrocketing, I found myself lagging a long way behind. I had some big disappointments, not finishing my first road race of the year, and not qualifying for my first derny race, and it’s easy to get dragged down by that.

Then on Tuesday I watched on twitter (and then on TV) as my team mates pulled off this epic feat of getting two on the podium at the tour series, and I decided it was about time I sorted myself out. I had already entered the Dernyfest at Herne Hill for Saturday but the more I thought about it, the more I thought I might quite like to do the National Womens Omnium too. The two events happen on the same day, with the events interspersed, so it was always going to be a bit manic. I set myself up at the track with different wheels for each race, different handlebars for the timed events and a big pile of tools and helmets and a schedule all over the floor around my turbo, knowing I was in for a kicking.

Due to the two event situation I was a bit over geared for most of the day, but at least I didn’t have to worry too much about warming up! We started with a 500m standing start TT, this is never my best event, especially not in such a silly gear, and consequently had a pretty shoddy start, but made it round well enough, if not very fast. Next was the derny heats, I had a good start and my pacer Tony got me up near the front, and then my legs started shouting, it was windy and I’m not great with a disc and got cooked trying to overtake the rider in front, we finished at or near the back but still had the minor final and a chance to try again in a smaller gear, but not much time to prepare. I had a couple of minutes to swap wheels and have a drink before the points  race, and was pretty happy to just cling on at the back of what was a pretty fast race.

I had time to roll off the track and pick my seed for the derny final and then straight back up again, just long enough, in hindsight for my legs to get cold, and as I started at the front I started fast, but after about 5 laps I was hurting and the rest of the field came round. With 5 laps to go my legs started working again and we were making lots of ground back but sadly not quite enough to make many places up, but lessons learnt.

The highlight of my day was the match sprint (!!) I was put with some decent girls, and being a pretty poor tactician and sprinter I wasn’t hoping for anything but I got straight onto the right wheel and found myself coming round her, by a few inches, just in time for the finish. I have never been so happy with a race as that lap, if we hadn’t been sprinting for minor positions I would have had my arms in the air, I have never ever won a sprint before so I was dead chuffed, and still am.

We finished the day with the pursuit, where the fatigue really caught up with me, and then a scratch, where for some reason I decided I ought to attack and try to get across to the break, I nearly made it, sort of, but then got swallowed up and left behind when my legs fell off. I fought very hard to get back into the race finished at the back of the bunch, absolutely empty.

I’m really glad I did it, and I have a week to recover before doing it all again (probably, possibly, we will see) at Welwyn. 



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