My last junior worlds was another amazing learning experience! It started off racing the Team Pursuit qualification round. We had a solid ride up 3km and then in the last kilometre the team began to fall apart. We went out faster then planned, and we payed for it in the end, but we ended up qualifying in 5th place with a time of 4:37 which put us in a good place for our first round ride the following day.
With a few line up changes and some new energy, we executed our best ever ride. We rode a time of 4:31.9 which is a new Canadian Record and the fastest we have ever ridden. We had planned our lap time schedule to do a time of 4:35 but everything came together perfectly on the day. We started fast but the line was smooth and everyones pulls were so strong and steady so we were able to hold the fast pace. We ended up placing 5th overall but I believe we were one of the happiest teams there!
The following day I had the Omnium which started with a qualification Points race. This is where my Omnium experience ended last year so I was definitely a bit scared and nervous hitting the line again; afraid of not qualifying but this time I made it through which meant I had four more races to race!
The Omnium starts off with a 20 lap scratch race. It was quite slow with everyone watching each other until the final 10 laps where the pace picked up until the finish. I ended up in 6th place which set me up well for the rest of the omnium. The key for success is to have constant good placings throughout all the races.
Next up was the Tempo race which is a fairly new race that I do not have a lot of expense with. I went in with a plan I was confident about, but nearing the end of the race as I was working my way to the front I got squeezed between two riders. A rider came down on me, hit me, and took me out. I hit the deck quick and I remember standing up really quickly telling my coach “Laura I didn’t hit my head, I need to get back in the race.”
I hit the deck with seven laps to go, got back on the track with five laps to go, but didn’t re-group with the riders until 4.75 laps to go. In the UCI rule book it says that the riders has to be on track with five laps to go because after that riders get no free laps. However in this case the Commissaire felt that I had an advantage so even though I crossed the line in 7th place, I was put into 18th because I was “lapped.” I was very frustrated and disappointed with that call, because it put me down in 12th position overall where I could have been much higher near top five. I had to move on and accept the Commissaire's call.
I went into the elimination ready to fight. I started farther back on the bottom of the track and right from the gun the race was so fast. It is the fastest neutral lap I have ever done. I had to try and work my way to the front but it was challenging to do. I ended up riding near the back and sprinting every bell lap to get around at least one rider, which was not ideal quite and took a lot of energy. Then at one point I found myself in a very small space and a rider moved up track, my wheel got swiped and I found myself on the boards again. Again I got up but this time I was eliminated so this race was cut shorter than I had wished.
Making my third skin suit change and number switch I then hit the line for the final race in the Omnium, the Points race. Early on I found myself in a break with a few other riders and I scored maximum points and took a lap on the field. I was excited about taking a lap because it was my first time ever in a big race - I took the small win:) I started the Points race in 11th place and finished in 9th. Although it is far from what I wanted, I bounced back from crashes and rode my hardest on the day. I walked away from the omnium very sore but with so many learnings. Thankfully I had one day of recovery before I hit the track again for the Madison!
I was incredibly sore the morning of the Madison, but I did what I had to do and made it to the start line ready to fight hard! It was an 80 lap race and we scored points early on to put us in good standing. Then with around 40 laps to go, my partner was caught up in a crash and went down so I immediately had to enter the race where she had left it. Often in a Madison a rider is in the race for a couple laps before switching out with their teammate but because my teammate crashed and was getting her bike fixed to get back in, I was in the race for 10 laps straight. I did my absolute best but it was so hard to be in for such a long period of time. I was so happy when I saw her back in so then I could be the relief rider. We scored a few more points at the end of the race once I'd recovered a bit after that long effort, which placed us in 6th place overall. We obviously had really wanted to hit the podium in this final race together but we were very satisfied with how we rode together and again how we overcame the challenges we faced.
I am now back home and still recovering from my friction burn injuries. I went out to the velodrome this weekend to watch Provincials and help coach some of the youth riders because clearly I can’t get enough of the track scene haha! Also cheered on Al, Brenna, and Holly! Today I got on the bike and went for a ride and it was quite painful but it is improving slowly. I will be good to go for the Fondo which I am really looking forward to!