Women’s Masters Track Team Head to Newport

Post date: Oct 01, 2012 3:44:16 PM

(by Paula Murray.)

With the World Masters Track Championships kicking off on 7th October, 6 members of the Women’s Masters Track Team, namely Susie Mitchell, Oral Hendron, Geraldine Gill, Tonya Moran, Ciara Kinch and Paula Murray packed their bikes and headed to Newport Velodrome on 17/18th September for a pre-championship track session. We caught the 9.15pm flight to Bristol Monday evening and hired a 7 seater for the bikes which Orla volunteered to drive. Thanks Orla! By the time we settled into our hotel it was well after mid-night and with bikes to assemble the next morning there wasn’t a whole lot of sleep to be had as our track session commenced at 9am the following morning.

7am Tuesday morning was wake-up call. With breakfast out of the way two trips were made to the velodrome in order to get the team and bikes there. For most of the group this would be our first experience on an indoor velodrome. As we wheeled our bike boxes under the tunnel leading into the inner area of the track, all that we could see in front of us was this extremely, and I emphasis extremely, horizontal steep track. There were a good few OMG’s and a couple other choice words uttered!!! Our window was tight so there was no time for to many more OMG’s. Bikes were assembled, and with helmets donned and shoes clicked in tightly to pedals Chris (our coach for the day) give the nod to the experienced trackies, Orla and Susie, who started to roll around for their warm-up. The remaining four of us, myself, Geraldine, Tonya and Ciara were briefed on the different coloured lines and within 5 minutes Chris had us rolling around first on the safe-area, then on the cote d’azur. After a couple of laps on the cote d’azur the real track experience started when Chris signalled to roll on the black line, we dutifully obliged! Then he pointed to the red line, then the blue line. Up we went, climbing and climbing with each lap, until eventually we were cycling at the very top of the track. Initially with each climb there was this gut-wrenching sense that you were not going to be able to stay on the bike going around these frighteningly steep bends. But the nerves dwindled with each passing lap and as our confidence grew we started to think about practicing efforts for our respective races.

Timed pursuit efforts were practiced on the TT bars. 500 TT standing-start efforts were put in with Chris emphasising the importance of a good first half a lap and drilling into us the importance of being aggressive hitting that first bend out of the saddle and staying out of it till well after the first bend. Some of the team have entered the Sprint and Chris put us through our paces by getting us to simulate a race and what line to take. Before we knew it our three hours were over but much to our delight Chris invited us to stay on for a 2 hour drop-in lunch time coached session!!!!! (O how the other half live!). We grabbed a coffee and something to eat and after a short break were back on the bikes again. The lunch-time session had a mixed bag of sprinters and middle-distance trackies. All warmed up together and then the sprinters were called up for their efforts and then the middle-distance trackies for their efforts, and this is how the session progressed. Unfortunately that session had to finish at some stage and after what seemed like a very quick 5 hours our time on the track had come to an end. Thankfully there was only one faller in the group in the whole 5 hours. I won’t mention any names, but just to say it wasn’t as sore as it looked and I brought home a few track burns as a souvenir of my Newport experience!

A big thank you must go to Sarah Piner, Women’s Commission, for organising this coached session. Thank you Sarah! Also thank you to the Women’s Commission for the financial support towards this trip. And thank you to coach for the day, Chris Davis, for putting us through our paces. Manchester here we come!

Paula Murray in action at the recent Irish track championships in Sundrive Park