From Tester to Trackie in 6 weeks
I’ve been with MBPC for almost 5 years and in 2017 I had a serious accident at the finish of a TT. After this I no longer wanted to race on Dual carriageways. Fast forward to 2018 and under Dan Barnett I hit my targets of podium in the Tour of Cambridge, National Welsh Master TT champion and to win the AG and 13th overall in the Closed Circuit Championships. After a strong winter training for TT’s when it came to spring 2019 I realised I had just lost motivation to race TT’s.
I was at a real crossroads as TT is all I’d known. I tried some MTB racing with for something to do but just before going to the team training camp in France I made the decision that I wanted to do the track. We did some testing and found that I would be competitive on a national masters level. So without a bike we hatched a plan to tackle the Nat Masters Individual Pursuit in June.
I suspect that Simon thought I was completely bonkers but was forthright with me that if I committed we could get somewhere near that transition. The training was immediately noticeable as to how different it was for the discipline. Simon was thorough and was looking at improving my 1-5 min power which really quickly I was seeing some huge gains such as 30w for my 1 min power. In between this I was undertaking the arduous task of building a track bike.
The Nat Masters arrived and I was quietly confident given the numbers I was hitting but one small problem was that I’d never done a gas gate start or even rode my track bike. I entered the 750m TT more so that I could ride the bike. I felt so out of my depth when I turned up and I almost did an about turn and went home. The race was a disaster, as I almost fell off at the start but I managed to stay upright and not crash. I finished last.
The IP was 2 days later and I did wonder whether to go or not but I knew I had to and Simon gave it to me as only a Yorkshireman could, so I knew backing out wasn’t an option. The race was a blur, I had set 18s laps as a target but found myself hitting 16s laps until I was about to make my catch and then I eased up not knowing what to do. I eventually overtook him and crossed the line for a 3:29. I knew this was a not bad time (turns out it was a new AG British Record). I watched rider after rider not get close to the time until the final heat and a 3:27 nicked it. I was buzzing though as I had just won a Silver National Medal. I was so happy, what makes a large part of the cycling coaching experience is sharing the good and bad with your Coach. I simply sent Simon a photo of the leaderboard and got an immediate response that just said “Yes, get in!”
I have been concentrating on road racing since June and managed to sneak my 2nd cat licence but now it is back to track specific training. We still keep levels of endurance in the training but the top end is where we are doing so much work. For the remainder of the season I have the LVRC Nationals and then the big one is the World Masters Track Championships in Manchester in October. I am well and truly invigorated and cannot wait. After my accident in 2017, the Doctors told me that due to potential lung damage high intensity might be best avoided and stick to the longer stuff….they can’t always be right!