Comeback in Cali.
Sorry it has been so long but to be honest, I just mentally checked out after Cali!
Needless to say, after Astana I was absolutely gutted. The outcome from this could have been one of two scenarios - complete loss of hope of Olympic qualification or - dust myself off and get on with it. Luckily, in our house, Grace doesn’t allow moping around or negative cr*p so onwards and upwards it was!
After only three days at home post Astana, I went back to Majorca for more serious training! There was some sort of “big picture plan” at play as I had a cold for the first week and all I could do was steady rides. The lack of quality training really got to me after a while but I just kept telling myself “big picture,” It’s happening for a reason. I did manage 2 sessions on track before I headed off to Colombia which was a much needed shock to the system!
I arrived in Cali on November 25th and had a full week to get used to the track. This is one of my favourite world cups and the atmosphere is awesome. It’s nearly like a carnival and the locals really love seeing the Colombian riders doing well which lifts the roof.
With a lot of roller spins and a final tune up on the track race day soon arrived. As usual there was a qualifying points race with the best 12 riders in 2 heats going through to the Omnium itself. For once I qualified easily by gaining a lap half way through the race then I was able to just follow and save energy.
The flying lap was next up and I only really had about 20mins to try and recover from the qualifying race. As usual it’s an event that I’m not great at but I’m not bad at it either. 7th place was a good start and reassured me that I’m not too far off the mark. The points race was the next event and it’s a guaranteed suffer fest. The details are all a blur but when the dust settled and I stopped coughing my lungs up I placed 9th. 9Th is ok, I’ve been a lot worse off than that and yet again it’s a confidence boost that I’m still mixing it with the best. The last event of the day was the elimination race. This always haunts me and I have yet to master it. As usual it’s all a blur as there are so many things going on. The wheels soon fell off and I was out, 13th and a big dent in my overall placing.
The following day, with a nice lie on and a casual morning I was on my way to the track in the early afternoon. The 4k pursuit was next on the agenda and I was hopeful of another single digit result. With my usual warm up and pre race routine done I was in the start gate and ready to go. The race went ok but I started suffering only 4 laps in. I was far from my best but managed to limit my losses with a 4min 29sec ride and 8th place. The lack of hard work in Majorca really showed in the pursuit but yet again it wasn’t a disaster and at least I know what to do, don’t get sick!!
The Scratch race was next on the cards and a race that I’ve shown I can win. I’ve learnt how to ride it in a way that is best for me and that has given me more confidence. The race itself was rapid, I think the average was 52kph and the race never really eased up. I was second across the line but was unlucky that 5 guys had gained a lap but still 7th place wasn’t too bad. The final event was here and there is no science involved in riding it. 4 laps as hard as you can go!! I placed 8th in it and wasn’t the happiest. I was convinced I could do better but that’s life.
I finished up 5th overall, one place ahead of the current world champion, Michael Freiberg. Initially I felt crap but as I said there were plenty of quality riders behind me.
With the omnium business finished in Cali I lined up for the 200m Sprint qualifying the next day. It was something I was doing because I had nothing better to do but on hind sight I should have stayed in bed. In my head I was thinking it’s another practice at a flying lap but my legs were quick to tell me to put the bike away! I did a shocking 10.9secs for 200m and with my tail between my legs I started to pack up my stuff and get ready to head home.
After a bit of a delay getting home I finally touched down in Dublin, as happy as a pig in ???? I really couldn’t wait to see Grace and just hang out with her. With a couple of days of avoiding doing anything I had to start training again. Thankfully, Cycling Ireland have lent me a Watt bike to train on over the Christmas period so I’ve been having lots of ‘fun’/torture sessions on it! I’ve hit a new max watts of 1665 so I’m pretty happy with my progress. My plans for the next couple weeks are to relax and enjoy the time I have at home....and of course, plan in some hard sessions!
I’d like to thank everyone who has helped me throughout the year. All your kind words and positive vibes are appreciated. There are loads of Facebook messages and tweets that I never replied to but they are all taken on board and really mean a lot. A special shout out to Andy Sparks, everyone in SINI, my Majorca training partners and the Cycling Ireland staff who look after me on the trips. Thanks everyone!
I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Cali track, Not quite indoors but makes for a cool atmosphere.
Cali from my room, 17 floors up.