When I started racing bikes, I started racing on the track. I was still a bike messenger, most days working on a fixed-gear track bicycle out in the streets, and a few friends and I made the jump to do our Learn to Ride program together at the Burnaby Velodrome. I started racing track on Friday nights, and I wouldn't start racing on the road until the following summer.
What I'm getting around to saying is that, while I love racing both on the road and the track, there's a special place in my heart for the boards of the velodrome. So while I have won two Provincial Championships on the road (including the TRT supported Road Race Championship) I had extra motivation to win THIS championship jersey.
I put in a lot of work with my coach, Jacob Schwing of the Flying Squirrel Academy, to improve on my timed events in the Omnium (the Omnium is a six-event discipline, comprised of three bunch races and three individual timed events), historically my weak spot on the track. The hope being that, if before going to National Championships in late September I would be able to enter the final event in the top five, my points racing strength would get me on a podium.
So not only was this weekend of racing in Burnaby motivated by the glory of a BC Jersey, I was also using it as a test of form and dress rehearsal for Nationals.
In Burnaby the events ran in a slightly different order: we started off with the flying lap, a running start time trial for one full lap of the velodrome. Being a timed event all of the aerodynamic gear comes out. Part of the reason this weekend was a dress rehearsal is getting experience on all the gear. My inexperience doing full speed efforts with a double-disc wheel showed in the Lap. The front disc can act as a rudder, the air pushing you out of your line, forcing you to ride farther and therefore longer. This happening caused me to only score 4th place points in the first event of the Omnium and I was NOT happy, even outraged.
I let the anger simmer a little, trying to channel it into my next two events (the last three are run the next day). It worked. I was able to win the Scratch and Elimination races and gain back some confidence.
The start of the next morning I kept the ball rolling, riding as hard as I could for my next two timed events, the Kilo (1km TT) and the Individual Pursuit (4km TT), where I was able to JUST squeeze out a win for both. Which was a bonus, the Individual Pursuit was also scored as a Championship which put a Champ Jersey in my pocket already, easing the pressure slightly.
In the points race, despite my two closest competitors heavily marking and trying to unhinge my tactics, I was able to defend my lead in the Omnium to secure my second Jersey.
Overall the weekend was a huge success. Not just because I was able to ride faster than others in the events, but achieving the goal of bettering my individual timed events was huge. I rode a personal best in every individual event (including the Flying Lap, where I messed up my line, slowing me down), hitting goals like this three weeks out from Nationals is a giant boost of confidence.
Now with this goal out of the way and with the continued support of my coach and my team, I'm working even harder leading into Nationals to continue to push my best on the boards and see if I can earn TRT a National level medal before closing out the 2016 season.