Last year a number of new businesses and individual lined up in Cycling Southland’s Harrex Group Corporate Pursuit writes Cycling Southland CEO Nick Jeffrey.
Amongst the starters was first-time team St Thomas Aquinas School, including debutants Tabitha Brock and Summer Wilton. Today, ahead of the first race day in the 2012 edition next weekend, our returning Corporate Pursuit rookies share their thoughts on their introduction to riding the velodrome.
The event appealed to us as it was something quite different and new to attempt.
Demonstrating to our kids at school that taking on new challenges no matter how daunting was a key factor in being involved.
Challenge was certainly the operative word as we discovered right from the outset of our first introduction to the boards of the velodrome. “Riding up against the wall of the track, I would close my eyes around some of the bend and just pedal hard hoping I would get around the 43 degrees upright” says Wilton. “Having to adjust to riding on a bike in which you are locked into and using muscles that don’t often get used was also a nerve wracking experience” adds team mate Tabitha Brock.
Once we got over those fears the adrenaline rush kicked in and progress was made each week as we trained for the big day. Our first introduction to the crowds including some of our school families on time trial day was fantastic. “We felt like professionals” says Wilton. Our FIL school tops, the music, teams warming up around us all made for an atmosphere that was pumping. “Even at this point we felt a huge sense of achievement from where we had begun only five weeks earlier” says Brock.
Come finals race day our trust in each other to ride within mere inches of the wheel and competitiveness to give each ride 100% had well and truly kicked in. The day was full of the adrenaline rocketing sky high mixed with a fair share of nerve-wracking experiences.
“None more so than the opportunity to take on the women’s three lap track race. Wheels were touching, faces were changing all sorts of colours and the tension was high, and I loved every minute of it” says Wilton.
“Those experiences, combined with the team racing element, is why we are back again this year. We learnt a lot about the sport, the ability to challenge ourselves all while having a heap of fun.”
The 34 strong field will line up in the Harrex Group Corporate Pursuit Grading Time Trial on Sunday at the Stadium Southland Velodrome with the first team away at 12:30pm. Entry is by gold coin donation. The times recorded on Sunday will seed the teams for the Corporate Pursuit Finals on Sunday 15th.
While our Olympic and Junior Worlds riders will grab many of the headlines over the next few months, for Cycling Southland there is no better event to convert the likes of Tabitha and Summer to the wonderful sport of track cycling than the Harrex Group Corporate Pursuit.
Nick Jeffrey is Chief Executive of Cycling Southland