Day 1 in Manchester.
Hey folks, it’s Monday morning and I’m back at home after a pretty hectic weekend. When I finished on Saturday at 11pm I did a quick pack up and headed straight back to the hotel for more packing. I was trying to get to bed as quick as possible, my flight to Dublin was at 8am the next morning.
It all started on Friday at 6.45am when my alarm shocked me out of a good sleep, the day had come and my race was at 10am. As I tip toed out of the room and tried not to annoy Felix to much I ran though in my head what I needed, hoping I hadn’t forgot anything. At breakfast I hammered in the carbs and just relaxed to be honest. From experience I knew it was gonna be a hectic day and most of it was beyond my control, control the controllable as they say!
With breakfast finished I rode down to the track as easily as I could and enjoyed the fresh air on the way down. It was about 10 minutes from the hotel to the velodrome and it was just enough to collect my thoughts and get my head into gear. Once at the track I had about 1 hour 30 minutes before I was up and the first thing was the Omnium qualifier. As usual the really hard 6 race Omnium had one more race to make it that wee bit harder! 7 races in 2 day takes its toll on the body. My qualifier on paper had a lot of sprinter types in it which doesn’t suit me but it actually turned out to be a benefit. I would rather race as steady race rather than an up and down one that the sprinters would love. I finished 3rd in the race and qualified rather comfortably. Back at the pits and on the rollers I felt relief; my worst nightmare was not qualifying for the race. When I finished cooling down my main goal was to get back to the hotel for a massage and a sleep, I had 3 hours before my next race.
After a bit of R&R I was heading back to the track for the flying lap, the first race of the Omnium. Already that Groundhog Day feeling had started and the race was only beginning! Once at the track it was business as usual and I was on the rollers for my warm up. The flying lap was something I was shocking at when I started doing it, I was a disaster but Andy and even Felix showed me the ropes in training and it’s become one of my better events. I was going for a top 3 in my head and so I put on a 106 inch gear. It was 6-7 inches bigger than I’ve used before but I had faith that it would work, it did and it didn’t!! On paper I was a tenth faster than I had ever been before but I finished up in tenth place, a bit gutted! Believe it or not 4 tenths faster would have won me the event, that’s how close the event is! Cooling down on the roller I was trying to get focused on what was to come, the flying lap was done and dusted and there was nothing I could change, 1 down 5 to go.
The flying lap.
With more R&R I was back on the rollers warming up in what seemed like a blink! The points race was the next race and my CV will tell ya that I’m not great at this. I tried a new approach of looking forward to the race rather than dreading it as I had done in the past. That approach kind of worked but the result tells you otherwise, I finished 15th I think. I had an aggressive race and was in numerous moves that went nowhere and an all or nothing effort failed as I was caught with 2 laps to go. 120 laps of torture were over and an average speed of 52 kph tells you why. My legs were wrecked, my lungs were on fire and I could only manage about 40rpm on the rollers. After 10 minute just turning over the pedals I started to feel human again and was able to function normally, I packed up my things, drank loads of water and got myself back to the hotel for a rest. Next up and last event of the evening was the elimination race, a curse of a race and a race that has the potential to kill you!
At the hotel I was getting ready for my last race of the day, it was 9pm and I was packing up to go to the track and race! My body was going through the motions at this point but somehow I had to snap out of it and get focus for the last race of the day. Yet again another race that my CV tells you I am crap at, however, it is one race that I am determined to beat and become good at. I’ve watched numerous races 10 times in an attempt to ingrain some sort of technique and tactical awareness but I know nothing comes easy in this game. My finishing place was 15th (I think!) which still isn’t great but I really feel I started to get how the race works, I was moving around in the group better and the only thing letting me down was my legs. I was feeling the effects of the points race which I could have made a bit easier on myself. Yet again I was on the rollers and cooling down for the last time today. 13th was my overnight ranking which is miles of the top 8 I had my sights on.
This is my run through of the first days racing so I’ll leave you with that and I’ll post up the action of the second day later on.
Enjoy and feel free to ask me something I’ve forgotten or any random question you like.