A little variety in life

I have always been encouraged to try different disciplines within cycling and have so far tried my hand at circuit racing, track, cyclocross, mountain biking and even the occasional time trial. The last 6 weeks have been very busy for me with preparation for some GCSE exams (most of them being next year) and a variety of bike racing to give me a break from school work.

Track Racing: Over the last month and a bit I have competed in the four Midlands Region Youth Omnium events, each consisting of 5 events: Individual Pursuit, Elimination race, Scratch race, Kieran and Points race. The first Omnium was on the 23rd of April at the 400 metre outdoor track at Halesowen. Since the National Omnium Finals in July 2015 I have only competed in one track event and I knew this would be tough. From the start of the day I wasn’t quite feeling my best after the 1st round of the National Road Series the weekend before at Hetton. In each of the 5 events I didn’t do as well as I was hoping. In the final results from the day I was placed 10th but had gained an insight to the speeds and riding styles of the other riders from the regions around.

Wolverhampton Omnium on the 7th of May proved to be a very different day to Halesowen. For me it showed how racing at a track regularly or before a targeted event can make a difference to your riding. The experience I had gained from racing here at the National finals last year and watching the racing of other age categories prior to my races this year was a huge benefit throughout the day. This showed in my positioning in the elimination race, placing 5th, and the points race and an improvement by three places over Halesowen to get 7th overall.

Alderney pose

The next two Omniums were on consecutive days, Saturday the 14th and Sunday the 15th May. On the Saturday I raced at Newcastle-Under-Lyme, another outdoor track and one which was again new to me. Newcastle being a similar track to Halesowen in that it was around 400m in distance was a chance to use what I had learnt from the other two omniums and try and improve on my results again. The points race was my strongest race of the day taking the first sprint and keeping an eye on those who could disturb my overall placing and secure 7th overall again.

On the Sunday, the final omnium was at Derby Velodrome. It was only my second ever indoor track event and on a track I had never ridden before. The pursuit and elimination weren’t my best events but in the kierin I was in the 2nd heat and finishing in a strong 2nd place in my heat helped me climb a few places in the overall standings after some disappointing races in the morning. The points race, my favourite of the 5, was a tough race but was a race that I had to rely more on my head than my legs to get me to the finish. I was better in this race at following the wheels of the strongest riders which helped me gain some points in the first sprint of the race after being able to follow them through the gaps they had made. Later in the race a solo break formed which I managed to bridge to with two other riders. The four of us held a good pace and kept increasing the gap to the bunch to eventually lap the field and also go over the top and take all the available points in the last sprint. This race was my strongest from all the omniums. I am pleased that I was able to finish the series with a good result and a smile on my face!

Mountain Biking: The day after the Wolverhampton Omnium I took part in a Southern XC mountain bike race. Although tired from the day before I was happy to enjoy the sunny weather and relax a bit, finishing 3rd in my age group. I am happy with this result since this was my first time on a mountain bike since September 2015.

Road: Having obtained the required 50 ranking points since the beginning of the season I was able to apply for and received my dispensation card. This allows me to enter races in the age category above mine. On Thursday 19th May (the day before my 15th birthday) I took part in my first women’s race at Milton Keynes Bowl and was pleased to finish 3rd.

Til next time, Alderney