We left our Adelaide home bound for Singapore, then Switzerland with high hopes, big dreams and distinct smell of bleach which reeked the apartments. The long running tradition for the males to bleach their hair was recognised and executed among the entire team, as the females played hair-dresser, and the males waited anxiously as their hair turned strawy and blond. However all were in good spirits, and embraced the oh-so attractive tradition gracefully.
The enormous Singapore airport is a playground for a money-blowing experience, but it turns out there is only so much spending, swimming and consumption of Pork buns that can be done until sitting on a plane for 12 hours sounds attractive. As the weary eyed team fought against time differences, we were soon sky high and on our way to Zürich, Switzerland.
We had about a week to settle into the scenic Aigle. Our accommodation was about a 30 minute drive from the velodrome, and settled amongst some pretty impressive bergs… I was definitely glad that we were there for track. We were able to visit Leysin, a mountain top town, which allowed for an amazing view of an already amazing country. The Swiss summer definitely did not disappoint, with clear blue skies which allowed for a clear view of the snow topped mountains and 30 degree days which made for a fast track!!
The 200m track was definitely an experience, the tight bends and short straights made for steep bankings and a hefty amount of G-Force to be felt. Day 1 of the championships was the qualifying round of the team pursuit. We all knew exactly what we had to do, our form and preparation was second to none, it was just focusing and doing what we had done a million times in training. As my previous coach Warren McDonald used to say, ‘keep it smooth, keep it strong’, and that kept repeating through my head as we rode through the 4k in a time of 4:36: 762, which put us in 3rd place heading into the semis with a new Australian record!
Full results from racing can be found at: http://jrworlds2016.veloresults.com/index.php
The second day was round two of the TP, we were 3 seconds down from the kiwis, which we needed to beat to make it into the gold/silver ride off later tonight. From the qualifying it was evident that the kiwis began to split up in the final laps, however still managed to produce a good time. Our plan for round 2 was to put them under pressure in the first half of the race hopefully provoking a split. Unfortunately the legs were not there for the hard ride we knew was necessary. We went in thinking its all or nothing, and that day unfortunately did not play out for the Australians. However, despite our disappointment, the development we made as a team and individually could count as a win in it’s own right.
Day 3 was scratch race day! I qualified 4th in my heat which put me through to the final later that night. The pace was off at the start, but few attacks started in the second half which picked up the speed. An bold move from Rebecca Raybould from Great Britain at 10 laps to go saw a gap in the field. This was shortly followed by Devaney Collier from Canada, who was stuck in no mans land, unable to bridge. Then Lucie Jounier from France went to complete the top three out the front. At 3 to go I began to wind up, however; despite some pace I left it 3/4 of a lap too late, just catching France in the last straight. Massive kudos goes to Raybould for her smart move which payed off.
My last race was held on Day 4, the woman’s madison. This was the first women’s madison held at a world standard in both the jr and senior rankings, so it was exhibition event, but a wins a win, so my partner Nicola Macdonald and I showed up at the start line ready for some good racing. The 100 laps went as a bit of blur, with everyone everywhere, but it was down to Great Britain, the other Aussie team (Australia 1) and ourselves (Australian 2). With 30 laps to go we were 2 points behind GB, we fought hard to surpass their lead in the sprints, however on the day they proved too strong. As the final results were Australia 1, Great Britain, then Australia 2 rounding off the podium, I am very honoured to say that I came third in the first ever women’s madison.
The madison for women is an awesome initiative and I am so glad that women are seen as equals in a male dominated sport. Our race was very fast and very intense, and I think we proved that we are just as capable as the men. I hope all the spectators enjoyed the race as much as we did and hopefully next year rainbows will be rewarded for the efforts of some incredible women.
My first and last Jr Track worlds is done and dusted, and what a championship it was with a record number 317 athletes from 43 different countries, 4 world records were broken in 4 days, so the competition this year was hot. My experience while wearing the green and gold skinsuit was beyond anything I could have ever imagined, and this is thanks to a number of people who dedicate so much of their time to the progression of myself and many athletes. Jason Niblett, Sean Eadie, Rik Fulcher, the mechanics (Ray and John). My coach back home Nick Formosa, Warren McDonald, Merv McDonald, The Queensland Academy of Sport, Cycling Australia, The Commonwealth Games Association, everyone that contributed to my GoFundMe page. My parents for all their support and for treking all the way here to fly the Aussie flag high, and Sam for keeping me half sane
Onward and upward from here. Ill keep you updated!