Mel Sneddon enjoys the thrill of the chase at the National Masters Track Championships and shares her belief that women’s racing seems to be on the resurgence…
The opportunity to race at the National Masters Track Championships is one of the reasons I returned to cycling, after nearly eight years. It is such a great meeting to be part of. Aside from the fiercely contested racing, it is an event that needs to be marked in the calendar as one of the most social and supportive.
On my return to competition from many years out, what has surprised me is how many women have recently taken up Masters Track Racing, making it a lot more competitive. This means speeds are getting higher, races more aggressive and records broken. As many as 40 women had entered this year’s Championships and there will be many more to follow next year I’m sure. It is fantastic to see so many women taking up the sport a little later on in life.
With my apprehension of riding in a bunch race, I decided to only ride the pursuit. Usually, I start much too fast, but for once, I came out of the start gate and settled quickly. As a result, the lap splits were much more even throughout the race and I finished with a new PB of 2.35 to take the title and Gold medal.
Obviously on a high about my new PB, I was easily talked into entering the points race by Jan and coach, Chris Davis. I am not sure how it happened but I appear to have agreed to sign on for the race having not ridden a bunch race for nine years. The bike was quickly changed from a pursuit to drop bars (for the bunch), by our Pit bitch David and I rode it around the track centre a couple of times, reckoned it was ok and before I knew it, I found myself up on the boards starting a points race wondering how on earth I’d got talked into it!
Not wanting to be anywhere near anyone else, my only plan of attack was. to attack… so I did! Taking three others with me after the first sprint, we gained a lap, taking sprint points along the way. Once I got to the back of the bunch, I rode straight over the top and out the other side to take another lap, this time on my own. To my surprise, I was delighted to learn that I had collected enough points to take another Gold medal. Though I think next time, someone might need to refresh me on how to ride a points race!
It was great to be racing with TORQ teammates Janet and Louise, who both collected a large medal haul at these Championships. And not to forget the ‘extra’ teammate, Chief Pit Bitch, David Jack, who worked tirelessly to organise us women and our bikes!
Thank you so much to Graham Bristow and his team for organising a superb event as ever and thanks also to those that support me: