Beaten and disappointed, Invercargill's Jeremy Presbury had to pick himself up off the boards of the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome before riding to a silver medal at the world junior track championships last week.
Presbury had gone to Glasgow rated one of the best keirin riders in the world in his age group, but a series of events saw him miss out on the A final and eventually finish 12th in his favoured event.
Having narrowly missed out on a medal last year, and already with another fourth in the team sprint, Presbury's time in the junior ranks looked destined to end on a disappointing note.
"Obviously I wanted to come home with medals and PBs and that sort of stuff. I wanted to do really well in the keirin, but I had a terrible day - I'm not going to lie. I'd ridden third wheel in the team sprint the day before and had to do two of those . . . and coming into the keirin I was feeling really flat," Presbury said.
"I didn't make the A final so I ended up riding seventh to 12th and came last in that final. It was pretty hard after that day, I was pretty down and it was hard to pull myself back up."
Presbury talked with head coach Ross Machejefski and sprint coach John Rastrick and resolved to lift himself for the individual sprints the next day.
He qualified 11th with a personal best on a slow track, but there was little difference in times between third and 12th and he felt competitive heading into the match sprints.
"I knew if I was racing against anyone who was faster than me it was going to be close. I went into it thinking I was going to do well in one event and did well in another one, it just shows that things don't always go according to plan, but sometimes that's a good thing," he said.
"We've done a lot of work in the Academy Southland [programme] with Jason [McKenzie] about getting the mental skills right, resetting and that sort of stuff. That was essential really, having such a low day and feeling the worst I have for a long time both mentally and physically - to come out of that and come second in the world in an event I'm not usually that strong at."
The surprise package from the junior world championships had to be fellow Southlander Josh Haggerty, who continued the huge advances he's achieved over the past couple of years with silver medals in the team pursuit and scratch race.
"Pulling off silver is pretty special, although losing to Australia [in the team pursuit] wasn't great. The scratch race, I was pretty stoked with that, winning the bunch sprint and getting second."
Cycling Southland riders had a hand in all five silver medals won by New Zealand in Glasgow, including Alexandra rider Liam Aitcheson's three medals in the team pursuit, points race and madison.
Haggerty, who was welcomed back to Invercargill with a haka by his Southland Boys' High School team-mates at the airport yesterday, hopes to push for selection in the New Zealand development team and would also love to return to Belgium, where the New Zealand team was based, before heading to Glasgow, to ride next season.
Presbury will now target the Oceania championships in Invercargill later this year and next year's national championships as he tries to force his way into the elite men's sprint squad.
- © Fairfax NZ News