Matt Archibald, Cycling Southland's Development Officer writes home from Germany where he is riding with the BikeNZ Sprint Programme.
23/06/2011 - After a couple of weeks of hard training i was starting to feel like i was getting used to the warm climate and fairly high training load.
We started focusing towards the first of two race weekends we have while we are here. The first of which was held over the last two day was called the Cottbus Sprinter Cup. This track event only holds sprint races and attracted 9 nations, with a total of 53male riders. The first day consisted of match sprints and a 200m qualifier to seed all the competitors. For me this was a learning curve, because this track is 333m meant that the 200m line started just out of the first corner. So you have to completely rethink your line compared to the traditional 250m track. Being able to watch Simon, Sam and Ethan was a big help in figuring out how best to do this.
On the first race day conditions were ok, with light winds and about 20 degrees. I was feeling fairly intimidated with so many huge sprinters waddling around. My 200 ride went well, with me posting a new PB and qualifying 26th. I was pretty pleased with this considering it is the first race of the season and this track isn't particularly fast as it is concrete. However being outdoors means times can be skewed by tail or head wind breezes.
The rest of the program was very cut throat. starting with 10 heats of 5 up match sprints (basically a 666m dash). the winner progresses and the losers go to repercharge which they must win to continue. in my heat i had a couple of top qualifiers. Being my first race over here i was very tentative and couldn't match Forstermans speed (or gigantic quads). In the repercharge i think i rode more aggressively attacking from behind with a lap to go. i was in the lead out of the last bend, but with this track being 333m the final straight is fairly long. A local German rider timed his run well and came around me with 40m to go.
Onto the kierin, again a very large field with 8 heats of 8 riders. in my heat i managed to get stuck on the outside a very erratic polish rider. in my repercharge i was able to use the knowledge from the previous day and stay patient until the final straight and progressed to the 2nd round. In the next round and repercharge i was able to finish in the front 3-4 but was unable to equal the top guys speed over the final 70-80m.
All and all I'm stoked with my first big race experience. I learnt to be patient and when the opportunity presents its self, take it without any hesitation. I'm looking forward to this Friday when we will do it all over again. however this time around, the two day program will be crammed into one day and there are over 70 riders in the male sprint division. I've heard rumours there will be a team sprint as well. hopefully i will get the call up.
We have not been able to do a lot of sight seeing with the training load, but it has been cool to ride through the forest roads. Occasionally stopping to stock up on cherries straight off the trees. Other highlights have been going 260kph on the Auto Bahn, sampling the local cafes and restaurants.