On the weekend of 19th/20th November a small group of us took the excuse of BUCS track Championships to take a trip to the mecca of british cycling that is National Cycling Centre. Home of British Cycling and Team Sky, the current generation of world beating British cyclists were formed and molded here, in the hard kilometres of training and countless hours spent on the boards lapping the track. The astute amongst you might be aware that the current generation of CUCC cyclists were not formed and molded on the boards, due to what I can only assume is an oversight by leadership of British Cycling to have not yet built a velodrome in or around Cambridge. Wholly inadequate as it was, 2 hours of track time at Derby would have to do.
Our motley crew of track sprinters (Patrick Frost, Frank Sanders),
jack master-of-all-trades (Lottie Mallin-Martin), the half of the team pursuit that weren’t ill (Hal Bradbury, Seb Dickson) and there because I organised it (myself) enjoyed a weekend of inexperience and “mixed” success. Personal highlights included the unlimited salad bar at Pizza Hut, and giving Jess Varnish some Birthday cake. On the bike, standout performance of the weekend was undoubtedly 5th in the Women’s 500 for Lottie with a really strong ride, and also another top 10 with myself 8th in the Individual Pursuit.
Standout failure goes to the Men’s team Sprint, which narrowly gets the nod ahead of the Men’s Team Pursuit, both gallantly providing the corollary to the old adage ‘Practice makes perfect’ by not practicing at all.
In the TP, having started far too hard in our practice at Derby, in practice number 2, which also doubled as the main event, we decided to start far slower. The end result of this masterplan was that Nottingham made up enough ground after 2 laps of our slow start for us to be stopped from changing, meaning Seb was left on the front for the last 8 laps. Mind bogglingly, despite essentially doing an individual pursuit, Cambridge still came comfortably inside the top 10 with 8th, perhaps showing that the whole thing is a little silly.
Importantly, lots learned by everyone and we will be back next year with marginally more track experience – something it seems actually makes quite a big difference. Who would have thought it. I think all the road riders amongst us are looking forward to the BUCS time trials in April, and (with roads freely open and accessible to all) an opportunity to race on a level playing field.
Big shout out to ex CUCC member and all round good guy Greg Dickens for coming along to provide some much needed last minute advice and much needed track experience.