I’m back in NZ having a couple of days R&R before going back to the US tomorrow as I have to race there this weekend with 7UP/Maxxis. The Sydney WC was the last round of the year and the last chance for countries that had not qualified to get to the Worlds. NZ had already qualified most spots but it was good to guarantee them. The endurance team had it's preparation in Adelaide under the eye of Charlie Walsh and Max Vertongen. I turned up later than the rest of the guys and got 2 track days in. The day before we left we had a 4000m Team Time Trial and we did 4.11 which was good and everyone seemed happy. Next day we traveled to Sydney and moved into our accommodation which was an old boarding school!!! Not the same 4 star Hotel like the year before.
Friday was the first day of competition and the Sprinters, Greg Henderson, Sarah and I had races. Greg had the scratch race and he won that with a blazing finish. With a lap to go we were all looking at each other thinking he had cooked it but no, he just wanted to waste them and make it look good!! Sarah got 3rd in the Points Race which was great.
I had the 4000 m Individual Pursuit and had the last ride in qualifying which gave me the advantage of being able to go easy in the first round. I lapped the Brit rider with 3 laps to go. My time was 4.29. That night was the final and I was riding the Australian Current Junior World Champion, Mark Jamieson. He had gone 100% in qualifying so I was hoping it had tired him a bit for the final.
In the final I went out faster then normal to try and put him off a bit as he likes to start fast. Our first km was 1.08.3 and he was a bit behind me. For the rest of the race he trailed me by up to 1.5 sec at one stage so I was just waiting for him to pop and guess what....... I popped first!!!!! With 2 laps to go my gear of 54X14 got rather heavy. I lost 0.5 of a second in the last half lap and got rolled by 0.3 after leading the whole race!!! I think I would have gone faster if I just clicked out and freewheeled the last bit!!! Still, it was a good experiment, on big gears and long cranks as I have already qualified for Worlds and was my last opportunity to try new gear before the Worlds. So much more could have been learnt if only I had a SRM on my bike to see what was really happening power/cadence wise. I was really disappointed not to win as it is the second 2nd this year in a WC IP. I ended up winning the World Cup Points Series for the year in the IP so that was a positive result.
The Team Pursuit was the next day so there was another chance for a win.
Saturday came with everyone competing and Sarah winning the 3000 m Individual Pursuit, Greg getting 3rd in the Points Race. I was competing in the Team Pursuit along with Mark Ryan, Lee Vertongen and Heath Blackgrove. In qualifying everything went really well and we qualified fastest by a couple of seconds from Germany which had just rolled Australia. For the final we left the team the same. We went out really hard from the start with me starting at number one and did a really fast first km which is good as it is something that the NZ Team has been working on. The Germans matched our every move and were never far behind us but they lost a rider at the end of 2 km so it was only a matter of time before 3 riders cracked. They did a good job and stayed with us for quite a while and then when they slowed we kept the same pace and nearly caught them. It was good to win and with the two new guys in the team, Marc & Heath, everyone was really happy.
Mark Ryan could well have cemented his place in the Team Purusit with good rides in both rounds. Our time of 4.10.3 was not too bad as the Track had not been fast all weekend.
Next day I left before racing had finished back to NZ. It is great to be home even if only for a couple of days. So now it's time to start focusing on the Worlds which are now in Germany not China for SARS reasons.