It is no secret that when it comes to bicycles my biggest fascination lies in the Velodrome. That being said, the Manchester Velodrome is a special place, a mecca of sorts for track cyclists. I think it is because of the large number of events hosted there and because the strength of the GB Cycling program. Being able to race there made the whole experience even more incredible.
We got on the track a few days before the racing and it was FAST! The track is the same size as our track in Los Angeles, but the turns are longer and allow you to carry more speed. It was looking like we might have some good rides throughout the team. I started having some sinus issues 2 days before the competition began so I had to take measures to makes sure it didn’t get worse. It never cleared up and I would have to race through it.
The night before my first race was a rough night. I went bed at 9PM local and I was fully on terms with the new time zone, but I could not sleep. I was a bundle of nerves, and ended up lying awake in bed for hours. I finally went to sleep and when I woke up I had to wait until 8pm to race. It was pure torture.
My first race was the Kilo Time Trial, 1 Kilometer from a standing start. I got on the bike, timed my jump out of the gate well, and promptly snapped my chain. I was lying there on the track knowing I would have to do it all again. I had about 15 minutes to regain composure before attempt number 2. Breaking my chain had messed with my head and I got off to a slow start. It was over a half second slower than my opening lap should have been, but I settled in during lap 2 and could tell that the crowd, the announcer, and my coach were getting excited. At the end of 4 laps I had produced the second fastest time and had won the silver medal! Standing on the podium was amazing, I cannot put into words how it felt.
The next day was the Individual Pursuit. 4Km and 16 laps around the track, the qualifier is all about racing the clock to get into the final. In my attempt to not go out too fast I went out too slow. It took me 4 laps to get to top speed, but I never really felt like I was on top of the gear and my race fell apart a little bit. I qualified 4th with a time of 5:07. It was an ok time, but it was slower than it should have been.
The final is all about beating your opponent to take the medal. My race in the final started just a little on the fast side, but I didn’t panic and allowed myself to ease into my schedule. I got in a rhythm and started ticking down the laps. At halfway I knew I was behind, but gaining. I made the catch with 1Km to go and just had to maintain my pace. I finished with a time of 5:02.4. It was a 5 second PR and a bronze medal. This one was special because it is what I had trained for all year and I was able to get my head in the game to ride like I was capable of.
The last day was the Team Sprint, but our tired legs couldn’t muster more than 4th. It’s also a race that we didn’t do a lot of preparation for so I can’t feel too bad about it.
I want to congratulate my teammates for some great rides! There were a ton of PR’s, American Records, and even a few World Records set in Manchester! To all that earned the World Champion stripes, I give you an extra salute! As a team we shattered our medal projections for the year and look to have a solid group for the build towards the 2012 Paralympic Games.