TORQ Track Team Manager, Jan Birkmyre, takes a stunning win and the Elite National Title in her final race of the 2015 season…
The National Derny Championships took place on Sunday 29th November after twice being rained off in the summer. The move to the Olympic Velodrome at Lee Valley guaranteed the event would go ahead this time and, although the date extended my season by six weeks, with nothing else on the race calendar, I was able to train very specifically for this event.
As expected, the defending champion, Hannah Walker, took the race on from the very start of this 60 lap race and she quickly opened up a gap of almost half a lap. My pacer, the legend that is Graham Bristow, saw the danger and bridged up to her, which put me in the red for several laps and the speed topped out at over 63 km per hour, which feels really fast on a 250m track! The effort was such, that I was beginning to wonder if I would have to settle for Silver. We then got to Hannah and Graham and I were able to ease up a bit. I knew I would need to steel myself for another big effort if Hannah tried to drop us, or if we needed to attack for the win and, with 15 laps on the board. that is exactly what we did. Graham increased the speed and we flew past them to take the lead. They came with us for a few laps, but could not hold the pace and, with five to go, I could tell from the expression on my husband’s face and the wild clapping, that we had broken them. So much so, in fact, that we took a lap on them to secure the title in incredible style.
I really did not think there was another Elite National title in me. I am racing girls less than half my age and some of them are full time cyclists, but Derny Paced Racing is a team event, and Graham and I work very well together. I am so incredibly grateful to him for pacing the perfect strategy, to David for setting up my bikes, and to both of them for believing that I could win this, when I was filled to overflowing with self-doubt.
Thank you all those that support me: