Final day in Manchester.
This morning was a nice surprise compared to yesterday, I wasn’t racing until 3pm so I had a lie in and a gentle rollers session planned before lunch. I had more good news to, Grace had flown in after work last night and she was here for the day to see my ugly mug racing. With my easy morning soon over I was feed ‘n’ watered and on my way to the track again, this time though I was getting a lift down as it was raining pretty hard out. As history has shown today was my day to more up the standings. I was aiming for a top 8 but needed at least a top 10 to carry on scoring Olympic points.
First race of the day for me was the 4K pursuit, I haven’t been out of the top 6 in this event since I started riding the Omnium so the ball was in my court and I had to finish as high up the rankings as I could. I did my usual warm up and psyche up and was in the start gate ready to go. Unlike my previous 4k pursuit I was uncomfortable for the whole race, normally the first 4-6 laps don’t really hurt but I was shifting around in the saddle and didn’t really get into a good rhythm for the whole race. I posted a time of 4min 28secs which I’ve done in the 4 previous pursuits I’ve ridden, consistency should be my middle name! Happy enough I warmed down and watch 4 other people goes faster than me, not exactly what I wanted but a solid ride all the same.
Race 5 out of 6 was the Scratch race, yet again another race I had proven to be useless at so I was hoping for a change of luck. 60 laps of racing and the first one over the line wins, easy! Nothing is easy on the track and especially at this point in the Omnium. I had marked a few riders that I would follow and tried my best not to screw it up. Turns out I had nothing to do with what happen halfway through the race, a puncture and a slow one at that. I was racing away and I heard a hiss beside me, thinking nothing of it I raced away but after about 10 laps my front end was feeling weird, a few times I nearly crashed in the banking. It was a funny puncture as it went down so far and stopped, there was about 50 psi in the tyre when I pulled in. I had 5 laps to change my wheel and rejoin the race where I left it. At this point though the speed was on and I was straight back to breathing out my ass! I did the best I could and finished up 15th, another poor showing in a bunch race.
Finally after what seemed like a week of racing the last race of the weekend was upon me, the Kilo TT. As with the pursuit this was a race that I had always done well in and I don’t think I’ve been out of the top 6 in it. I was sitting in 11th overall and with the possibility of getting as high as 7th it was all to play for, 4 laps of the track will decide whether I finished anywhere from 7th to 11th. I did my usual race prep and was ready to go, the only thing different this time was Andy had toe straps for me to use. I have pulled my foot out of the pedal a few times before and he wanted to remove any possibilities of anything going wrong. With my feet well and truly attached to my pedals I was really ready to go. The next 4 laps went pretty well, I was using a big gear which meant I was one of the slowest on the first lap but I made ground on everyone on the last lap, 1min 4sec was my time and that ranked me in 5th by the end of the race. When the dust had settled and everyone’s placing were shifted and shuffle I end up 9th overall, not quite my 8th place target but pretty dam close.
My last world cup of this season was over and although not that impressive it was my best result of all the rounds but I went away with the feeling of ‘what if.’ I had rides that I was delighted with and a lot of rides that were shocking but there is that feeling that when certain things click I know medals are achievable. Next up for me is the World Championships in Holland in just over 4 weeks so I’m off to get some quality rest then some quality training in and I’ll keep you posted on how it goes.