Date: Thursday, 13 October 2011
Posted by: Cycling Southland

Having already been exposed to some of the big names in cycling earlier this year, I was less nervous and more eager at the prospect of lining up side by side with the best in the world. This year Sydney would be host to the Malaysian, New Zealand and Australian Sprint teams along with teams from all the various regional institutes of sport in Australia. The first day was team sprint day. Due to a sickness, one member of my team could not travel so me and Nathan Seddon were to ride in the standing lap competition along with the other non-team sprinters. I was very happy to come away with the fastest time (18.203) in that event. Following this the New Zealand team sprint of Ethan Mitchell, Sam Webster and Eddie Dawkins showcased their class charging through the first lap in first place, eventually qualifying in third place behind two strong Australian teams. The team finished third in the finals. On the second day we started with flying 200m qualifications. I was feeling good and looking forward to posting another PB. I decided to ride a smaller gear than I had planned last minute which did not work out well. Coming through the first corner I felt fast but not smooth, still giving it everything coming into the second corner I heard a crack and felt my seat slump down which caused me to swing up towards the Madison line. I put my head down got back down the track and finished in 10.733 putting me in 17th place (C division). Turns out the rail on my seat broke, which was lucky as it could have been worse. From here it was on to the match sprint rounds. I won the first two and progressed to the final. In the final I came up against one of the Malaysian riders renowned for his bike skills and tactical nous. I had watched a few of his previous races and taken on board his tactics and was determined not to get intimidated despite his reputation. I drew the top position and was able to force him to lead out the race coming down the front straight with the bell ringing on the front straight we both attacked I stayed on the fence and was able to use the momentum off the banking to come around him through the last corner. I was stoked to come out on top as I am not usually known for my sprint tactics. Finally to the kierins, two heats of 6 selected riders made up the field. In my first race I managed to get on a good wheel. Coming through the back straight I was stuck on the black line with two other riders passing me shoulder to shoulder. At 70kph this is fairly daunting. I finished 5th and was off to the B Final. In the B final the heat and the 6 hours of racing caught up with me causing my legs to cramp up down the final straight.

All and all it was an excellent trip. Having the opportunity to race against the best in the world not only teaches me how to race but gives me the confidence to back myself and my ability. None of this would be possible without the huge local support from ILT, Wensleys, Cycling Southland and all of the volunteers and supporters.

Matt Archibald

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