From Nathan Burdon, Southland Times
It’s a weird feeling walking into the velodrome with a bike rather than a laptop.
Usually I’m there to write about other people doing stuff, but this time it was going to be doing rather than describing, a slightly terrifying prospect, to be honest.
The nerves only intensified as the times were posted by the early starters.
Our training had pointed towards a time approaching the 1 min 35 sec mark, and it was immediately apparent that a result like that would probably have us sitting stone-cold last.
The prospect of being the lantern rouge was not the worst thing, it was being so far out of the running that stirred the competitive juices.
Then there’s the crowd. While it was nowhere as busy as we expect it to be on Sunday’s finals day, there were still too many people to make a fool of yourself in front of by doing something like, say, falling off.
I had nearly done something similar during a roll around the previous Tuesday when I almost took out Cycling Southland’s Bruce Ross with a manoeuvre that was less than balletic. Approaching race time we were under the superb stewardship of coach Ian “Disco” Densie.
Suddenly it was our time to shine. Riding second wheel behind our lead-out rider Nichole, I had a lap to adjust and then it was the moment to switch on the afterburners. Thanks largely to a PB by some 3 sec from Nichole, we ended up with a 1.25.8 sec outcome, putting us in the middle of second division ahead of the finals.
Like many of the teams, the adrenalin on the night meant we produced a much faster time than our training had indicated. With any luck there’s still a bit left in the tank.
For a first-year entrant with four riders in the team who had never been on the track until a few weeks ago, it was a good effort.
Perhaps the highlight, however, was that one of our team members – Mark “Chewbacca” Hotton – was one of the three riders selected to undergo a free leg waxing this week. Keep an eye out for full coverage of this event.
Sunday promises to be good fun.