National Omnium

Our TORQ Track Team Manager Jan reports from sunny Reading, after racing the fourth Omnium in the National Series for 2015…

Pictures courtesy of Jun Aishima – full set available here

There are many reasons why this Series is such fun and the Fourth round of the 2015 Series, in Reading, was a great reminder that there are some fantastic people within the cycling community and I feel lucky to enjoy some great friendships through my sport.

The fun quotient at Reading was boosted by sharing the shade from the TORQ gazebo with Maddy Moore and Niki Kovacs, with the usual visits from other riders during the day.  In fact our gazebo was such a busy hub that the Chief Comm, Anne Russell, used it for the riders’ briefing before the racing started!

One of the other things that I like about this Series is seeing new talent emerge.  I have had the pleasure of racing with the likes of Laura and Emma Trott, Dani King, Jo Rowsell, Katie Archibald and Becky James – who have all learned their “trade” by riding in this Series.  So it will be interesting to see if Amber Joseph (who showed herself to be a tenacious and capable rider this weekend), can back that up and secure a selection to the Olympic Development Programme later this year.

The weather was glorious, sunny but not too hot and although there was a bit of a breeze (there always is at the Reading velodrome), it was relatively calm.  For the 21 starters, racing got underway with the 500m TT and I was very pleased with my time of 38.26, which gave me the win by more than 1.5 seconds from the super-fast Maddy Moore.  It is fair to say that there can sometimes be questions about the accuracy of handheld timing, especially when the difference is in 10 th’s of seconds, but when there is a margin of that magnitude, I feel reasonably confident that I earned the single point.  Amber more than hinted at her talent by placing third with 39.96, just 0.02 seconds behind Maddy and the scene was set for a three way battle, that would continue throughout the day.

Amber went on to win the Points race, with Maddy third and myself fourth and that put her in joint first place with Maddy after two events.  It was all change after the Sprint though, which I surprised myself by winning – just! – from Maddy to take the overall lead again.  The ever improving Sophie Black was third with Amber fourth.  Then it was the pursuit. 

The times were really fast, with Maddy clocking 2:31.980 and my time of 2:32.500 was more than just respectable.  It was faster than I rode last year by a considerable margin.  I had been less than a second off Maddy’s Pursuit time at the Newport Omnium, but my lead up to the Reading round was far from great (sometimes work stops play!).  There is no place to hide in a Pursuit, and I feared that my ride might reflect the time away from home and lost training over the past three weeks, so the actual result came as a huge relief – even if I did have to go seriously into the red to deliver it.

Pictures courtesy of Jun Aishima – full set available here 

Going into the last race, the Scratch, Maddy and I were leading jointly on 8 points.  It was a lively race, with plenty of moves from riders who were trying to breakaway and the bunch was stretched out at times.  I made sure I stayed with Maddy and Amber and hoped to find a good wheel for the final dash for the line, but sadly it wasn’t to be.  At the bell, the best wheels were already parked on mine and no one wanted to make the first move.  So I made a death or glory strike for the line. In hindsight, I went much much too early but my husband David (who is always brutally honest with me!) agreed it was all I could do in the circumstances to avoid getting boxed in and it might have worked.  Sadly the earlier efforts had taken their toll and as I came into the final straight, my legs tied up and I was swamped on the line. 

A position of 7th in this race put me on equal points with Amber, but her win in the Scratch – and all credit to her for that – gave her second place over me on count back.  There was however no question about the winner, Maddy took that by a clear margin and looks set to defend her titles at the World Masters later this year.

Pictures courtesy of Jun Aishima – full set available here 

If I was more of a “glass is half full” kind of a girl, I would celebrate the fact that getting on the podium at an Elite National Series is always an achievement.  I would enjoy the fact that I won two events during the day; the 500m TT and the Sprint and know that my Pursuit time was creditable.  I might even go as far as pointing out that my lead in the overall Series is now 37 points clear of the second place rider … but I’m a “glass is half empty” kind of a girl and in truth, I am very disappointed to have let the opportunity for a win slip through my fingers. 

Once I have stopped beating myself up (I guess if it didn’t matter on some level I would not do it), I will dust myself off and focus on getting ready for the next round up in Dundee, with the prospect of racing with my lovely team mate Louise Haston – who’s already putting a smile on my face.

Thanks as always to those that support me – mentally as well as physically! – my husband David Jack puts up with so much, as does my coach Chris Davies .   Then there are the companies that support me as well:

Torq Fitness – Nutrition
Wilier – Custom Carbon Track Frames
FFWD Wheels – Race wheels
Limar – Ultra light Road and Time Trial Helmets
Lake Cycling Shoes – Cycling and podium shoes
Active Life Logistics – Dugast tyres
CeramicSpeed – Ceramic bearing upgrades
Todays Cyclist – KMC Chains
Tifosi Optics – Tifosi eyewear
ithlete – HRV measurement and analysis with ithlete Pro
Jagwire – Cables and housing
Fenwicks – Lubrication and bike maintenance
Race Ware – Custom computer mounts
Altura – Team clothing
Lezyne – high pressure pumps and tools
Camelbak – Bottles
Helly Hansen base layers, sports bras, running shoes, stretch pants and fleeces – cycling Garmin Edge 1000