So here it is, my track debut.The triathlon race wheels (respoked) and the TT helmet came in useful! I had the P2 on a turbo trainer, warning up when I was asked did I do triathlon?! Does a bike really give it away that much!?
I was in the first (slowest) of three heats in the women’s masters 1 category (35-44). at world level it is broken down to 40-44, but not at local and national level.
The girl that I was against did her first national champs last year. They all are really nice but claim to be relative novices too. Not as novice as me! I only climbed on a velodrome for the first time ever a few months ago. I have never done a velodrome race, and only bought a track bike a few weeks ago. That’s how new I am! I did find it quite freaky having my name on the big board. all the riders were treated the same, whether you were elite or not. It was so laid back too, I am glad I had the balls to do it, it was a perfect way to start out, I think. I know that I am not very good at starts. I know I give away a few seconds here. I simply need to practice it more, that’s all. I was reasonably happy with the race. I gave it all I had, I was not freaked out by the little blocks on the bends signifying that the blue band was out of bounds. I hadn’t ridden the track with those out before.
I have a tendency to give myself a hard time and set the bar high. Its how I have got to where I have got to! However, I realised today that in equivalent terms, it was like doing my first ever triathlon. I can remember that day too and I was bricking it. I had only recently learned to swim and was not too sure if I could cover the distance I needed to cover.
Track cycling is the same. OK, I can ride a bike but that is where the similarity ends. You wouldn’t understand until you have tried a fixed wheel track bike yourself. I needed to remind myself that I was NEW at this, I was doing this for the first time, and was in fact newer than anyone else in the building, I expect. It was like starting that first ever triathlon and discovering that the Brownlees were also there. there were elite NZ cyclists here and there, simply mingling in as if it was nothing unusual.
The girls in the masters track cycling squad are all really nice and the group is beginning to welcome me. I remember the tears, thinking I was totally crazy and out of my depth when I started out. I didn’t waste time building up speed, I just threw myself in, in true MEL style. I almost didn’t go today.
I am glad I did. I learned a lot, and was able to remind myself that Rome was not built in a day: I didn’t get onto team GB in a flash, it took time. This will too. All the while I will enjoy it, smile and do my best, that is all you can ask of yourself.
final two races are on Sunday morning, including the dreaded 2000m Individual pursuit. Murderous, it truly is! Some would say that 2000m isn’t far, what’s the issue? Imagine that balls out sprint for the line when you hit the blue carpet at the end of a race. now times it by 10 – the whole 2000m is like that!
Think of me on Sunday morning, won’t you!