So the track season has begun for me and I must admit it was in a less than desirable way. Despite very much looking the part for the week of the 2009 Oceania Track Championships, the results didn’t come in quite the fashion I had hoped for the team. After being stung $100 excess (thanks to Virgin) at Melbourne airport, I landed in Adelaide to be greeted by team-mates Rochelle Gilmore, Tiffany Cromwell and staff member Michael Hardy, who had put his life on hold to be at our beck and call during the championships. After heading to Glenelg and sitting through hair and make up (courtesy of Colour Cosmetica), we sported our new HP-Teschner kit for a photo shoot with Dan Peters Photography. A heat wave had hit Adelaide for the day, so after a few poses we relished a short dip in the water (pictured below with Rochelle, bottom with Tiff) before being reminded that we were cyclists…here to race.
I’m not used to pedalling continuously and I’m not used to pedalling fast. Combine these factors with a new Teschner bike (HOT) and lack of preparation and it’s no surprise that I started the week on struggle street. Rochelle had returned home from Europe only a few days prior, and Tiff hadn‘t touched a track bike since early 2006, so our tactic was simply to find our race legs. Thursday night saw us line up for the 20km Points Score final, where I became totally lost in the first sprint and found myself struggling with the speed. Rochelle managed to claim points in the second sprint, and moved into 4th after I led out the third sprint. As the race became aggressive, we became stronger, and after winning the fifth sprint we were warned for collusion. Rochelle took out the sixth sprint and would have taken the lead, but was instead disqualified for detouring onto the blue band! I was soo angry and almost pulled out in protest, instead I rolled in for 11th.
The following day saw us complete the 10km Scratch Race. I tried to be active and even found myself off the front for a few laps, but still I felt lost on the track. With six laps to go seven NZL’ers took the lead, but that didn’t stop Laura McCaughey (TIS) from taking a flyer and as a result, the win. Rochelle found herself boxed in with five laps to go finishing 7th, while I rolled in for 9th and Tiff 12th. My final race of the championships was the Omnium, consisting of five events in the one day and based on an accumulative points system. Despite being warned for collusion during the week, I was out to help Rochelle (who withdrew from the final event feeling fatigued) and get some extra racing in. My best result was, not surprisingly, 2nd in the 2km Individual Pursuit (above), which helped me to finish 6th overall from 13 starters. Racing is no doubt faster and more exciting than I remember, bringing an aspect of fun to competition.
When the session had concluded on Saturday night, I didn’t have the energy to eat dinner, let alone a meet and greet with track friends I hadn’t seen in years. Instead, I packed my bags and on Sunday morning, flew back to Melbourne to prepare for another week of suitcase living, accommodated in the Mecure hotel on Swanston Street. On arrival in Melbourne Rochelle and I met up with my Mum for an evening outing to the Rocky Horror Show. What better way to clear the head than to watch men…dressed as women, running around in heels doing the ‘time-warp’? It’s safe to say I loved the performance! But now, after a forced week of rest and recovery, I look ahead to my first ever Track World Cup. A scratch race and a point’s score later it will all be over. As a road rider, it’s hard to conceive how so much time and energy can go into something that lasts a whole of 7 minutes!
Results: 20km Points Score
Results: 10km Scratch Race
Results: 5-event Omnium