|Sprint qualifying in T-Town|
America well how quick does time fly, just shy of 3 months seemed to go faster than a blink of an eye! 11 race meetings speed across our time there each with its own high and lows and varying success. Straight off the bat 2 of these race meets are the ones that stand out from the rest both due to the success that I achieved in them but at varying ends of the track cycling spectrum, but I’ll touch on these later!
We arrived into America on a brisk morning on the 31st of May in San Fransisco, after an afternoon of exploring what the city had to offer we were off and onto Philadelphia and then onto Kutztown Pennsylvania, home for the next 11 weeks. The first few weeks consisted of UCI tier 1 races trying to gain selection points for this seasons coming World Cups, the second of which is at home in Cambridge! This racing was hard and fast racing with World and Olympic medalists competing, my best result was a 11th in one of the keirin’s and 10th in the sprints. These races may not have all had the desired outcome result wise but they were good building blocks for the coming season and even better were amazing learning experiences for the future, which in my book is nearly as good at winning at this stage in my career.
|Getting to have a go in endurance racing is always some fun!|
After the UCI races had finished and the elite boys departed the American shores for the sunny location of Majorca we moved onto more endurance carnival type racing and were joined by the woman's endurance team. My first week of this type of racing was once of the more interesting nights of racing I’ve done, I was the stoker on the back of a Tandem, best described as the most exhilarating yet scary amusement ride you can do! We managed to get 2nd in the sprints after only a couple of training sessions riding together. Once this evening had pasted it was time for me to join back up with my team mates in some good proper carnival racing. I managed to win the Omnium on my first night of this racing without winning a single event something that took me a little by surprise if I’m honest. The following week was the biggest night of racing we had had, a total of 7 races over the course of the race night that consisted of 2 big races, one the …… unknown distance and the other the US 10 mile scratch championship. I managed to win the unknown distance as the distance didn’t turn out to be too far, the 10 mile though was long and I’d be pushing myself to the edge of my of the slight bit of endurance I had in my sprinter legs. I found myself on the front with a lap to go, not the most ideal position on a 333 meter track but never the less I tried to progress the lap as best I could trying to be at my fastest at the end of the back straight, as we entered the back straight riders started to come to my outside and get along side me, I was pushing as hard as I could but at that point thought I was going to loss it but all of a sudden my legs managed to find 6th gear and I was off, actually managing to pull a gap and win the race by a comfortable margin! I was over the moon with the result and to top the night off I managed to win the overall omnium for the night. We had 2 more of these race nights before the some UCI racing started back up, the results weren’t as spectacular as the two previous but still solid results none the less.
|Racing to 3rd in the final sprint comp|
As the trip started to dwindle down we were in our last week and it was a sprint comp. I needed some points to secure my eligibility for the World Cup season and this was one of my last shots to get those points so the pressure was on. In the lead up I had been struggling to find my legs and to just get simple things such as the lead in right for my sprint qualifying. race day rolled around quick as it normally does, i tried something new in qualify and it worked brilliantly, managing to qualify 4th fastest and do the 3rd fastest time i’ve ever done! the racing was hard but I managed to race myself into the semifinal against the guy who got 4th at the London Olympics in this event, racing it was and close he ended up having too much gas for me but I was still pleased with the ride, I ended up finishing 3rd in the event which not only secured me the vital points I required but also was my first elite podium in a sprint competition!
After 78 days we left America to head home. The trip felt no where near as long as 3 months, I think this was due to the changing faces we were around and the stuff we did on day offs to get out and about. A couple of personal highlights for me was in a 5 day break we had i managed to get away and go to Washington D.C. and also to Boston, two city’s that I’ve wanted to go and visit for years. Getting to experience Nascar for me being a big motorsport fan was an experience I’ll never forget and the many other adventures we went on such as roller coaster riding at Dorny park of redding terminal market place in Philadelphia. The trip was defiantly a success in terms of cycling but also off the bike with the people who I met from varying countries and the experiences that were made. America 2K15 was a blast!