Well. Where do I start. I haven’t written for ages, so bare with me!
I got rid of my cyst....finally. It actually just cleared up, after 3 courses of antibiotics that is, and 2 weeks off my rig. So, it was a few panic sessions prior to me leaving for the World track cup in Sydney, but I did get some good training done.
Sydney was not a great meeting for myself. My form was ok, but just did not feel right. Hendy was much the same. We had to ride a 20k heat, which is something we haven’t done before and it showed. However, it was more a few tactical errors that prevented us from making it through. Never mind, we knew what work needed to be done prior to the worlds and the next day we got down to business.
We spent the next 2 weeks in what I would call 'hurtsville'. It just felt like we never got out of this place. Every track session was hard, scarring would sum it up nicely. We trained very well and headed to Melbourne with the confidence of knowing we had trained well but we were also a little worried as to whether or not it would be enough.
As you all know Melbourne was set alight by the kiwis. The World’s started off great, well more than great. Firstly our absolute hammer of a pursuiter Ms Sarah Ulmer broke the world record in qualifying! She then went on to smash the reigning world champ in the semis and then showed who was the boss by taking out the final and becoming NZ’s first world champ of the meet. So Sarah kicked off what was going to be one extra special night. Step up Mr Henderson please.
Hendy and I are great mates, but all we do is give each other shit about how weak one another is. Sitting down having a feed the night before his scratch race I hit him with the 'Henderson your weak....how about you attack them first and dictate the race'. Sure enough Hendy showed the rest of the world who was the strongest by attacking solo, then waiting for some support then driving the break to lap the field. He wasn’t finished there though, he still had to beat the guys who were in the break across the line to win.
This was made harder though when another group lapped the field meaning there were 5 he had to beat to win. Man did this guy go! He not only beat the 5, but he sprinted in the whole field to win the race. It was an electrifying race and a few of the fellas just about lost their voice over all the shouting. A night I’ll remember forever, it was so cool being a kiwi!
Earlier that day the team pursuiters rode. Its true to say the fellas weren’t up to their usual best. They have had a tough year, with racing all the world cups to try and qualify for the Olympics. They won the world cup series so they automatically qualify for Athens. It just looked like some of them were tired, and not firing. Nothing a small break to freshen up wont fix. I am sure they will be back on song for the games. The Olympic sprinters rode also. They finished 14th with the top 10 qualifying for the Olympics, so they unfortunately missed out on the games which sux for them. I feel sorry for them as you are only talking .4 of a sec faster and they could be going. But this will only make them stronger. Not all the sprinters missed out though, Weapon is going to the games for the keiren, his number 1 event.
We then had 2 days to kill before my event in which I teamed up with my regular partner Hendy. I have never been so nervous. A lot relied on this race. A top 10 here in the madison meant an Olympic spot for us and also guaranteed a points spot for Hendy. But to tell you the truth i was not here just to qualify, I wanted to try and win. Once again we went in with a race plan and that was to try and take laps. We took 1 lap early. To start there was only 2 of us taking it, which would have been perfect, but then a group of 6 caught us so now there were 8 teams 1 lap up. It was once again a difficult race, much the same as the year before. This year it was Argentina and the Swiss who took the laps at the end of the race. Something we wanted to do, but just couldn't. Hendy was great on the day, and showed that he is a force to be reckoned with. I was good too, but still not 100% due to the up and down year I’ve had. We can take a lot out of this race though and come Athens I think we are in for a shot.
So there you have it. We may not have won the madison but in my head we did win something on Sunday. We won a chance to ride for Olympic gold in Athens later in the year, which is perhaps the most important....... all I can say is lookout Athens.