Summer 2012/13 was supposed to be my off season. Hanging at our Karekare bach, swimming, surfing and sunning. But as soon as I rode around the Manukau Velodrome I quickly realised that this summer would be different. On a rented track bike with no breaks or gears I learnt to ride the high sloping walls and fly down at speed. I was in love with track.
I trained on the track 3 – 4 times a week including race nights. I got to ride behind Paul and Chris and be motor paced in dizzy circles. Before I knew it the season was ending and I was competing at the Auckland Track Champs.
I won all four of my races. (Scratch, Points, Derby and 500mt ITT). I also broke the track record (U15 women) for 500mt ITT, set by Steph McKenzie back in 2006. Stephanie is a top New Zealand track cyclist now riding for Team Novo Nordisk!!! How cool is that. http://stephmckenzie.blogspot.co.nz/
It was then that I realised my next step would be going to the national’s, one year earlier than we had been planning. With this exciting turn of events I found myself on a plane to Invercargill. My nerves were in overdrive. The Invercargill velodrome is the only covered velodrome in NZ. http://www.cyclingsouth.org.nz
Riding on the wooden boards was really different and absolutely amazing. It was so fast and an amazing experience. I competed in seven races including heats. I got to use automatic starting gates and wore an aero helmet for the first time. During the week-long event I had my birthday. Paul and Alison surprised me by singing happy birthday while going through the tunnel. No cake though as I was in competition mode.
I soon discovered that my summer of training had paid off. I won gold in the Points Race by making a breakaway on the final sprint lap.
I also won bronze in the Scratch Race after narrowly being pipped at the line following my trademark solo breakaway.
Track Nationals was an amazing experience and I am extremely grateful I could compete. It was also fun hanging out with my team mates from Auckland Cycling and my fellow competitors. Plus I had loads of support from my friends at school and teachers.