This year I have been living the dream. In March I was selected in the Junior Worlds Track cycling team. I was based in Cambridge (Waikato) for a month before we flew to Seoul, South Korea for the Junior Track Cycling World Championships.
Living in one big house, with 13 male and female teenage cyclists for 5 weeks was a lot of fun – But it sure had its moments. Everyone was competitive, and everyone had the same goal in mind of getting on the podium in Korea. So the house was a bit like ‘survival of the fittest’ with no one wanting to do each others dishes and everyone wanting to scrounge off each others food.
In these circumstances I learnt a lot about budgeting for our weekly meals, how to fit in training, rest and looking after myself.
After 5 weeks we each learnt a lot about each other’s individual personalities, and made 13 life long friendships.
Whilst away I was like a High Performance athlete for 5 weeks, living in Cambridge, which is the base for many high performance sports. Majority of our time was spent at the AvantiDrome, which is a large indoor cycling track where we had access to many of its HP facilities, from nutritionists to the amazing HPSNZ gym, this is know as the ‘Cycling centre of excellent’ and it definitely lives up to its name. It was very much a TRAIN, EAT, SLEEP, REPEAT lifestyle, which I thrived on. But this showed as I struggled to settle back into reality when I returned home.
After a long period of specifically training for this one event since the nationals in March it was a little bit scary packing up my bikes and flying out of Auckland to what was a bit of the unknown. We were heading to Asia, where everything is either different or bigger to what we have here in New Zealand (especially little Palmy). Our first sights of Korea were beautiful, it was night and the city was lit up with lights. Waking up the next morning and looking out our Hotel window on the 7th floor, stunned me, as out my window were high-rise buildings as far as my eyes could see. Whilst in Seoul there wasn’t to much time to explore the city, as we were inside the air conditioned Hotel units out of the sun to save energy, training at the track or resting up.
Everything I had been working towards this year came down to my performance on the ‘Superdrome’ in Seoul, which was the 333m concrete track. I was blown away by the size of this facility. It could seat 30,000 spectators and had hundreds of people around the outside of the track betting on Keirin racing in Japan. I really enjoyed meeting new people from other countries at the track and at the Hotel, and we often had a few laughs over misinterpretation of English words by foreigners.
But we went there to race, win medals and get some amazing experience, and the experience I came away with was incredible. The main thing I loved was the high level of competition. Although I didn’t get a podium result, I enjoyed and got so much out of every race. In the match sprints events, I qualified for the 1/8 ride off, with only the winner going through. I was beaten by a Korean rider in this race, but came off the track knowing I gave it everything and gutted I didn’t have any more match sprints as I had so much fun. My best placing was 7th in the Team Sprint, with my room mate Olivia Podmore from Canterbury. In the 500m time trial I finished 12th and got through to the recharges in the Keirin, which is my favourite event. It was amazing being able to race against a full field of girls that were all world class and amazing athletes. I learnt so much from the, competition, competitors, preparation, experienced staff, being in the High performance environment and a lot about myself that I can develop further.
The insight into this lifestyle has driven me to train hard, so that I can make the Elite Cycling team and live in the cute town of Cambridge, as a full time athlete.
I’ve had a few set backs since competing in Korea, but one thing that my Junior Worlds experience taught me was that when you put a lot of time, pain and effort into something, the reward you receive is worth the hard work, and I am committed to work hard to compete on the international stage as an elite.
I am very grateful to my Family, Friends, Coach Mike McRedmond, Gym Trainer Aaron Kibblewhite, Bike Manawatu, Palmerston North Youth Council, Adam at Central Bicycle Studio, Ian Gray and everyone else who has been apart of my ‘team’ over the years that have helped my dreams happen.