My Manchester Diary

Post date: Oct 29, 2012 8:59:49 PM

(By Paula Murray)

Saturday morning 6th October, Freddy, Geraldine Gill (Bohermeen) and myself took the ferry to Hollyhead. The drive to Manchester was hassle-free and we headed straight to the velodrome for a pre-booked training session. Got a loan of Zip wheels (disc and all) from Steve in Outdoor Escape, thanks Steve. Thanks also to Sarah for the loan of her track bike for the few months. In fact the only piece of equipment that was mine were my bike shoes, everything else was borrowed. Anyhow back to the wheels, I (Freddy) put them on as I had never used a disc wheel before and was anxious to see how it felt. Started to roll around the safe-area but couldn’t pick up the courage to get up on the track! It didn’t help matters that the commissaire was calling to people to stay low if doing efforts or go high if warming up.

Eventually the track got a lot quieter and I plucked up the courage to get on. Once I had a couple of laps done on the black line, the nerves abated somewhat and I gradually ventured up as far as the blue line and did more laps. Came back down to the black, got out of the saddle a few times, then got into the tri-bars (or skies as the trackies call them). Session over but boy was it touch-and-go...

Sunday afternoon was spent watching day 1 of the championships, the heats of the men’s TT. Early Monday afternoon we thought there was gate practice but turned out Team GB, Ed Clancy and Co. were doing a training session. It was jaw-dropping stuff to see them in action.

My first race was Monday evening and it was a 500 TT (2 laps) straight final. I was a bag of nerves and instead of concentrating on the race itself I wasted energy worrying about the gate start and then being able to slow up and get off the track as quickly as possible after my effort. I was sweating getting into those gates as two weeks before in Sundrive we did some gate starts and I keeled over twice in a row coming out of them and hit the ground hard on both occasions! But I had a pretty good start as it turned out, did my effort and got 44 seconds for the 500. Not good enough to win a medal but not too bad either.

My second race was the 2k pursuit (8 laps) on Tuesday morning. The race the previous day helped to settle the nerves but the gate was still a big worry. Again thankfully I had a good start but went out way too fast and started to tie up with 4 laps left. My time of 2 min 55 sec was disappointing, 8 seconds slower than what I did outdoors in Sundrive and not good enough by a long shot to qualify for the finals, but boy did I enjoy that race. When I finished I wanted to do it all over again.

That was it, championships over for me. Was it worth loading two bikes, a turbo, catching a ferry and being away from home for 4 days for two races that lasted all of 3 minutes 30 seconds? It’s mad but YES it was. I’d love to go back next year a bit more experienced and have a better crack at it.

Medal winners for the Irish Women were Susie Mitchell (Sundrive) Gold in the 2k pursuit 35-39 age group, and Orla Hendron (Orwell) Bronze in the 2k pursuit and Bronze in the Points Race 45-49 age group. Well done girls.