Still under the weather, Mel returns to the UCI World Track Championships for the Points Race…
Having returned from Manchester with a Gold medal and new Masters World Record for the Team Pursuit, I found myself on the M6 driving back to Manchester four days later. Still coughing and still with no voice!
In terms of family co-ordination, this weekend was to be an epic feat, if we pulled it off. There was myself riding the World Masters Points Race in Manchester on Friday, my husband Ed, competing in the Langdale Horseshoe Fell Race in the Lake District on the Saturday morning, and the children were invited to a friend’s birthday party, also on Saturday morning, so it was going to be a challenge. My mother in-law thankfully agreed to cover babysitting for the few hours between school and bedtime.
As usual with the M6, the traffic was appalling and it took six hours to get to the velodrome, so I arrived with 30 seconds to spare before sign off closed and this gave me only 45 minutes to prepare before my race started. On the one hand, I was a little flustered and underprepared, but on the other, I didn’t have time for my usual stomach churning nerves!
The competition in Masters racing is now so fierce, that people are generally finding they have to specialise in either endurance or sprint events. With three age categories up in the same Points Race, there was a large field of over 20 riders and it was to be a battle from start to finish. I admit I have only ridden one other bunch race in eight years, but it was very fast and aggressive. I went on the attack many times and in some cases got a really good gap, but for one reason or another I was marked and I couldn’t get it to stick, so I kept being brought back. Failing to gain a lap, I had to make a charge for the line in the final sprint. Needless to say, I need to work on my sprint! I did just enough to take Bronze while Susie Mitchell of Ireland rode a brilliant race to get the Gold medal and New Zealand’s Erin Criglington, Silver.
Post podium and, thankfully, there was no dope control this time, so my challenge was to get out of the velodrome as quickly as possible. The plan was to meet my husband just off the M6 to enable us to swap cars, so he could continue the drive to the Lake District in the better of our two cars. Incredibly, this worked rather well and I continued home to arrive at midnight and take over the childcare, whilst he continued up to Grasmere, and I to a 3yr old’s birthday party the following morning (yet again, wondering if I was actually on a World Masters podium in Manchester the evening before, or whether that was a dream!).
After 20 hours of driving, one World Masters Points Race Bronze medal, one Fell Race and one toddlers party, I think a normal and quiet family weekend might be on the cards!
Many thanks to the World Masters officials and TORQ Track Team for making what has been the best World Masters yet, with a haul of 13 medals between three of us, to David Jack for his tireless Pit Bitch duties and coach Chris Davis for his level head, patience and ability to get a word in edgeways!
Thanks must also go to those who support me, without whom, I would not be racing.