Jan uses the season long National Omnium Series to prepare for the big end of season goal. Round two was held at the Newport Velodrome and provided a rare and welcome opportunity to race indoors.
I had been ridiculously stressed before round one of the Series and I was determined to address that before round two. It is not fair to my husband and since we are doing this for fun (it certainly doesn’t pay the bills)! I recognised the need to put it in perspective. It is after all just a bike race, no one dies! Yes, I have invested a ridiculous amount of time, money and energy into this, plus a good helping of blood, sweat and even some tears, but if it’s not fun, then it’s time to hang up my wheels and I know I am not ready to do that just yet.
Even before the racing started, the fun factor was boosted massively by the presence of my team mates Mel Sneddon and Louise Haston at Newport. We all get on really well and the banter flew from the moment we got together, while our poor overworked Pit Bitch, David Jack, struggled to keep up with the constant demands for wheel and gear changes – we never have enough chairs in our pits area, but David hasn’t noticed yet, because he never gets close to sitting down on an omnium day!
Not only did we have the best mechanical support, but we had the gear to match it too – with an abundance of high quality carbon, that could simply not be ignored: custom made Wilier frames, fitted with FFWD wheels, all upgraded with CeramicSpeed bearings and super-fast Dugast tyres – it was a no-excuses environment because we certainly had all the gear!
Racing indoors is a real treat. All the big championships are indoors and so this omnium was very well supported. The day started well for me, a 37.7 second 500m TT secured 2nd place behind Maddy Moore, who was absolutely flying and clocked 36.6 seconds, a big PB for her. The points race was next and it had everything; fast sprints, people going off the front in attacks and sadly even a crash that brought several down, ending racing for the day for one rider. I was happy to stay out of trouble and even happier to win, which moved me into 1st place overall after two events.
The third event was a kierin, which I managed to fluff, despite a proper pep talk from the coach as I rolled up to the line. However, 4th place was not a disaster, I was still in 1st place overall (on seven points) and two clear of Laura Clode who was in second place.
The pursuit was next, but only after a very long delay and we were all starting to flag. With riders starting in reverse order, lowest placed first, I had the longest wait of all and the agony of seeing some very fast times being set. That said, when it came to it, I was happy to record 2:34.80, almost catching my opponent for half a lap, and it was a time that placed me second, less than two tenths of a second off Maddy Moore. Crucially, in the overall standings, it meant I had a cushion of eight points over the second placed rider, with just the scratch race to ride.
I say “just” the scratch race, I was on my knees after the pursuit and because I was last to ride the pursuit, I only had a minimum amount of time between these events. I therefore struggled to get my head around what I needed to do. Racing had started at 1pm and it was 6:30pm by the time we rolled out onto the track for the final race and given the pace that was set, I guess everyone was thinking about getting home! It soon became clear that we were on for a bunch sprint and with over 20 riders all fighting for position, there was always the chance that I might snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. The fuse for the final charge to the line was lit by Megan Chard, who gained height and just before the bell launched herself in an all-out effort to take the win. I was aware of her flying past me as she opened up a proper gap, before I even set off in pursuit. There was a moment when I thought I could not catch her and given how tired my legs felt, I even considered giving up the chase – after all I did not need to win this race to win the omnium overall – however the red mist came down and I buried myself to get to her, catching her just on the line for a thrilling finish to an amazing day.
I know that organiser Kay Ball worked really hard to pull this off for us and I am so grateful she did, it was the most amazing confidence boost I could have had and a chance to see that the hard work over the Winter months might just pay off.
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: