Over the past week, I have been competing at the Youth and Junior National Track Championships.
Day One was the sprints. The sprint consisted of a flying 200m effort for qualification and then based on your qualification time would decide who you would go with in a match sprint. In my 200m effort, I ran into a small mechanical with my rear hub loosening and making my chain looser. This meant I couldn’t go as fast as I maybe could have but I could still finish with a time of 12.4 seconds. This meant I qualified a disappointing 17th but that meant I had to beat one person to get into the finals, but this turned out to be my teammate (and Madison Partner) Anthony. I was drawn the front of the match sprint and I tried to control the race but I left a gap for him and by the time I caught up the race was over.
After the sprints, the events I had entered were on Thursday and Friday so it meant I had 2 days off so I went to the track both days to watch the racing and support my friends.
Day Four was the Madison Qualifying and the 500m TT. I’m not sure what went wrong in the Madison but I kept making mistakes and losing gaps and I think I was frightened by a very basic Madison mistake early on in the race, where one rider from another pair tried to go in between our change, nearly causing all 3 of us to crash. The Madison was difficult to take so I apologised to Anthony and had some time to myself to try and get my head together for the 500m TT later in the day. I managed to get back in to a good frame of mind to warm up for the 500m TT. I went as hard as I could but I could only managed 24th out of 39 riders.
Day Five was the 2km Individual Pursuit. I set myself a realistic goal of top 20 and to get a personal best time. I was off in the 9th heat with a Maindy Flyers rider on the opposite side of the track. I worked out over dinner the night before to do the time I wanted to do of around a 2:24 I would have to average 17.5 seconds per lap (Excluding the starting lap). I got a solid start and got up to speed quickly and settled into my aero tuck. I gave it absoulutly everything right to the line and I managed a time of 2:25.7 which put me just outside the top 20 in 23rd place. The biggest positive was that my time of a 2:25.7 is around 10 seconds faster than my PB from last year at the Track Nationals.
Overall, The Track National Championships wasn’t as successful as I had hoped but I can look back on many positives with PB’s showing that I have improved massively since last year but I still have a long way to go to get to where I want to be.
Finally, I would like to say a massive thank you to VCL coaches Alasdair Mangham and Mark Patterson and Olivier Nilsson-Julien for their support over the whole of the Track Champs.
My next target is the North West Youth Tour in 13 days but I will be back at the Track Nationals next year as a junior so hopefully I can improve even more by then.