I don’t normally write race reports, but having recently raced the SA track champs I just need to do a short write up to share my experience and maybe just a bit of my passion as well.
First up for me was the points race. This is my personal favourite and always guaranteed to be exiting. 15kms with 6 sprints in which to gain points. Rider with the most points win. Sounds like fun hey? We were a very small field that took to the track, but with Lynette Burger and Maroesjka Matthee in the mix it was never going to be easy. My normal tactic is to break away and lap the field, earning a bonus 20 points in the process. However this wasn’t going to happen as Tannah chased down every attack for teammate Maroesjka. So it was sit in the bunch and SPRINT. In the end Maroesjka took a clear victory on 28 points, Lynette was second on 16 and surprising myself I claimed third on 14.
The next morning it was time to race against the clock in the 3km pursuit. Now anyone who has tested themselves against the clock knows that this is pure agony. The tactic is simple, start of steady and build. Well that’s the theory. For once it all came together. In a good pursuit you find yourself in this bubble and it’s just you and the bike and nothing else matters and I found my bubble. A smooth easy start, with steady early laps building it up and up and up. My 4:20 was my seasons’ best and good enough for second on the day.
It felt like I had barely caught my breath when we were called to the line for the 10km scratch race. Once again it was going to be a four horse race with no-one giving an inch. We all attempted an attack, but nobody made an impact. So it was fasten your seatbelts for the gallop to the line. Tannah led us out but with half a lap to go Maroesjka blew past her. Tannah managed to hang on for second and I sneaked past Lynette just before the line to take third.
Saturday morning saw us back on the track for a quick 500m. This is once again against the clock. Now this is more a sprint event, but having practiced so many starts for the pursuit I knew that even though I am no track sprinter I do have the technique and in this race that is 50% right there. So off I went and off and off. I just couldn’t get the gear rolling. My legs screamed at me the entire way. So it was a quick cool down and off home to rest up for the next day. Lounging around at home I received a phone call to say that medal presentation is about to start and believe it or not I had to be present. So of
I rushed to the track to hear that I clinched silver! Best ride ever.
Sunday morning arrived too early with genuine relieve amongst the elite ladies that this was to be the last day. First up Keirin. A motorbike paces us for 5.5 laps picking up the speed gradually then swings off and racing is on for the last 2.5 laps. Fast and furious. Except I wasn’t so fast and had no fury left in my legs. But here lies the beauty of track racing for me. Not even an hour later I had the opportunity to redeem myself in the 1500m. All through the race I positioned myself better and when the final kick came took an inside gap to fight to the line. I finished third but ecstatic because it was hard aggressive racing.
My medal tally reads 2 silver and 3 bronze. I will admit that they were just thrown into a box at the bottom of my cupboard, but my heart is singing because I got to race my bike.