Jan rides at the Reading Grand Prix, which is the perfect warm up for the National Derny Champs…
The Reading GP has established itself as a high profile event in the domestic calendar, with a round of the National Sprinters League and the National Endurance League, alongside a well-timed warm up for the Elite National Derny Championships for women.
The Reading Grand Prix has been a good meeting for me, but a quick look at the start list for 2015 left me in no doubt that this was one of the best fields of women it had ever attracted. The silver medallist from the 2014 National Derny Championships, Niki Kovacs, was on paper the number one seed, but Maddy Moore, the multiple World Masters Champion and record holder was not to be dismissed either. Then, for me, there was the red-hot favourite Ellie Coster, now a full time cyclist within the Welsh Cycling setup – she now has a great mix of endurance and an awesome finishing speed.
There were two heats, which might have appeared to be more of a formality for the seeded riders, but they also provided for a good warm up. I was pleased to qualify relatively easily and then it was not long before we were lining up for the final. I had drawn position one on the start line – not what my pacer Graham had wanted, but he made the best of it setting the early pace. After a few laps, the pressure was applied and as the other riders started to challenge, the pace slowly ratcheted up and up again.
My husband and Pit Bitch, Mr CeramicSpeed or even “Neutral Service”, who also goes by the name of David Jack, tells me I looked at the lap board every time I passed it. Certainly I remember looking at it with 21 of the 33 laps remaining and every time I passed it after this point, so I am sure he is right. In hindsight I think it is a bit like going back to look in the fridge after you have already opened the door, realised there is nothing in there that tempts you and gone away. Only to return a few minutes later for another look, to see if something delicious and tempting has somehow magically appeared since you last looked. In the derny paced race, I was somehow hoping that the lap board would suddenly show 1 to go, the bell would ring and there would be an end to my pain… but no, it went on and on, lap by lap, for 31 laps.
Don’t get me wrong, there was plenty happening between my desperate looks at the lap board. Niki Kovacs was the first to challenge us. She passed and pushed us into second place and soon after that I saw Laura Cheeseman’s pacer draw up alongside us. The pace had picked up at that point and so she was unable to get passed us and shortly after that we over took Niki to lead the race again. The big move came from Ellie Coster, just after the race mid-point. She had drawn position six on the start line and her pacer executed the perfect attack, bringing her from the back to the front of the race in one smooth, fast move and I fully expected that she would gap the field at this point.
Behind me Maddy Moore lost the wheel of her derny and for my part, I was wondering which bit of this derny paced malarkey was supposed to be fun. Happily Graham and I were able to stay with Ellie and we regained the lead with five to go, but at this point, I had been on my limit for a while and I shouted at Graham to slow, because I desperately needed just the tiniest of breathers before we had to defend this position from the inevitable attacks. In fact, the pace was sufficiently high that no-one tried to pass us again and I can chalk up this win as a really hard earned one – they somehow feel better that way, but only after the event!
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: