My first World Cup experience will definitely not be my last, because there is no way that I am leaving my track return on such a disappointing note. With a huge contingent of women competing in the Melbourne World Cup (video), I was forced to race out qualifying heats for both my scratch race and points score debuts, where entrants are split into two races, with 12 of 20 girls proceeding through to the finals from each heat. I was nervous leading into my two scheduled qualifying races, never for a second underestimating the difficulty of qualifying for a World Cup final on such little training and experience. I failed miserably, finishing 16th in the scratch and 14th in the points. After having had my first taste of European track racing, I am hungry for another bite in Beijing come January.
But prior to Beijing, in fact the day after World Cup racing, I was focused on the Victorian Omnium Championships (video). It is a points based system comprising five events, where the competitor with the lowest accumulative tally at the conclusion of racing is titled the winner. With no offence to my competitors, it was a step down in standards from World Cup and allowed me to enjoy and experiment with racing. I rode high pressures and the same gear all day, afraid of what might happen to my newly manicured nails had I attempted to play with tools! First up, the 200m flying (pictured above) and a third place, an event where I sprint as hard as I can and still feel like I haven't done anything when the effort is over. This was followed by a relatively slow 5km Scratch Race and another third placing.
My first win came in the 2km Individual Pursuit. Not riding to a schedule or having a coach track-side were two new things for me, but coming from a pursuit background allowed me to cruise to victory. With two events remaining, I had now taken over from early leader Hannah Bush and Chloe McConville by a single point, feeling better as the day wore on. Perhaps my best ride of the championships came in the 10km Points Score, after a rough initial sprint that became a little heated aggravated me enough to go on the attack and take a lap with Hannah and Chloe in tow. In the process, I took out the three remaining sprints, forgetting to keep some in reserve for the final event. Luckily a fourth place in the 500m Time Trial was enough to guarantee me victory (11) over Hannah (14) and Chloe (17) (pictured above).
After a long day at the track, it was time to frock up for the Australian Cyclist of the Year Awards (recipients), and it wouldn't be my life without a story behind the night so here goes! My Mum forgot my dress, so I searched Melbourne frantically for a friend with a fancy wardrobe (god hail Chloe). I missed my hair and make-up appointment, opting for straight hair that I then knotted up with a trial hair-spray (making it look like I hadn’t taken the time to brush it). I broke the strap on my heel, and after using my teeth eventually got it into satisfactory walking condition (hobbling). I arrived at the awards night one hour late (pictured above with Rochelle), missed entrée, inhaled my steak, stole Anna Meares’ dessert and spent a lot of time consuming free wine that was passing straight through me. My excuse? I celebrate every win :)
Results: World Cup, 5km Scratch Race, Qualifying Heat
Results: World Cup, 10km Scratch Race, Final
Results: World Cup, 10km Points Score, Qualifying Heat
Results: World Cup, 20km Points Score, Final
Results: Victorian Omnium Championships