GB Track Training camp
Last month I prepared for my first International para track meeting, hosted by British Cycling at the National Cycling Centre in Manchester. I had been really excited to be invited up a couple of weeks before by the Great Britain Cycling Team coaches to work on the 4k Pursuit (as an endurance rider) for a couple of days. Spending each day on the track one to one was amazing as I learned so much in a short time. I was able to record all my time splits and practice technique with world class coaching and having a specific target race gave me real focus for the event. I was also able to have my regular check in with the GB physiotherapist to catch up on how my physio programme was going and to see the effects of my exercises on my flexibility, which was really noticable.
On my second afternoon of training I went back into the velodrome after lunch to see two other riders and their coach getting ready to share the track - it was none other than Mark Cavendish and Ed Clancy, both really relaxed and friendly. We chatted in between our efforts and the three of us rode the boards for the rest of the afternoon whilst I tried to decide if I was hallucinating or not through the tiredness! Great experiences happen when you are least expecting them.
First International Medal!
Soon I was back up in Manchester for the Track International and warming up alongside experienced riders from all over the world from as far as the USA, Japan and South Africa to Belgium, Spain and the Netherlands; and of course the GB team. Being the youngest I knew I had some big challenges in front of me but I tried to remain calm and remember what I had practiced. In the pursuit qualifying round I managed to make the top 4 into the finals later in the day. I wondered if I could put in that performance again but was determined to do everything I could to beat my opponent, a South African top 10 ranked rider. I had my GB coach walking the line and as the race started I had to resist the temptation to push on too fast as the other guy pulled away by a couple of seconds and then widened the gap. I remembered what my target lap times were and as the race went on I was feeling good but the other rider started to tire. His pace slowed and as we got to the last kilometre I was well up and nearly caught him at the finish for the bronze medal. Performing in competition I had knocked over 9 seconds off my pb in training and felt on top of the world standing on the podium having won my first International medal, and very grateful for all the support I had getting me there. I also reached the finals in the team sprint, and raced the Kilo and scratch race over the weekend, it was a fantastic and brilliantly organised event, and thank you BC and my coach Andy for getting me race ready. Next up, my long awaited rest period and a chance to look at the race calendar for 2016!
Thank you Alex,Merry Xmas to your and your family from SD TEAM.