After almost two months of missed training, following a stroke diagnosed in June, Louise dives in at the deep end with the Scottish Track Championships…
So after all my bad news and not being able to do any proper training for the best part of seven weeks, I made the ridiculous decision to ride the Scottish Track Champs. I decided to use these Championships as training and set myself the goal of enjoying myself, rather than getting stressed out about my performance. this was easier said than done, because although I knew I could not expect miracles, I couldn’t help but still want to kick ass!
First up was the Keirin; this was the one event I knew I really shouldn’t be riding because the chance of a crash is highest in this type of race, but, there was no way I was going to miss the Keirin, it’s my favourite! I drew in heat one; this was the hardest heat of the two, with four of the riders being Scottish squad riders. It was a nightmare; I almost got wiped out on four occasions, because riders were not holding their line, or were flicking up the track. It was safe to say I was pretty worried, because I had been told, in no uncertain terms, that I must not be involved in any crashes. I finished fourth in my heat but one rider was relegated, which moved me up to third and meant I had qualified for the final. To be honest, the final wasn’t much better, the flicking and riders not holding their lines again made it difficult to fully commit to the sprint, but I ended up finishing fourth and I was happy with that performance.
On day two I had the 500TT, and in hindsight, I really wish I hadn’t bothered riding this event! My 500 leaves a lot to be desired at the best of times, and this was not one of those; but I decided to ride it anyway, knowing that with no start practice and only a couple of track sessions, that it was going to be interesting. So up I got, looking cool in my TORQ kit and with the super-fast FFWD double disc wheels on my custom Wilier bike, I rode my 500. As I crossed the line I thought to myself that it wasn’t too bad and then I looked up at the scoreboard and just about fell off my bike – my time was so bad I could hardly believe it! So much for riding and just enjoying myself.
On day three I had both the Sprint competition and the Pursuit and I knew I was going to have a challenge juggling both – but it would be a good training session. The flying 200TT (which qualified for the Sprint), was the first event and my time wasn’t too bad. My first round match sprint was a four up, with just one rider qualifying for the final. I finished second and then immediately afterwards had my Pursuit heat. By the time I got up, I knew what time I needed to achieve to qualify for a medal ride and I managed that, finishing just one second off the Gold/Silver medal ride. My time wasn’t great for me, but it was slightly faster than last year. There was no time to reflect on that though, because I just had time to change my bars again before getting up for another round of sprinting and again, I finished second.
There was a brief pause in racing for me and I managed to get a TORQ bar down before the Bronze medal ride off in the Pursuit! Davey Urquhart was kind enough to do a schedule for me. Although it wasn’t really about the time, I just wanted to win the Bronze medal, so I just needed to beat my opponent and it helped that after a couple of laps, I could see her out the corner of my eye as I went around the corners.
I was really happy to win the Bronze medal and that was the Scottish Champs over for another year. Not the results or times that I would’ve liked, but I was glad that I was able to ride my bike again after the last few months, which have been especially difficult and competing again feels like an important step in my recovery.
The surprise was just how much this racing took out of me – I was very, very tired during the week after this meeting and, as a result, I had to sit out the next round of the National Omnium Series. This round is practically on my doorstep in Dundee and I had really wanted to support it, but it was not to be. My next race will be at the British National Track Champs in September, in preparation for the World Masters in October.
Thanks for reading and thanks also to those that support me: