Report by Jennifer O'Reilly
The track in Meadowbank is a 250m banked velodrome but unlike other wooden steep banked tracks it is outdoors, so although the banking is of huge benefit to sprinting there is the added element of headwinds to be factored into any tactics.
I arrived early on Friday and was given the grand tour of the grounds by David Hoy, Chris Hoy's father. He is highly involved in all aspects of track cycling in Scotland and was delighted to welcome any new faces to Meadowbank. Saturday's racing involved an omnium for the women which included 500m TT, scratch race, sprint league and points race. The competition was of a high standard with riders traveling from all over the UK to contest the omnium. The Scottish record was broken in the 500m TT by Charline Joiner, a member of the Girls for Gold GB squad. It was great to race against such talented and experienced competition.
The 500m TT didn't go well for me with my cleat slipping coming out of turn one, I opted to sit down quickly in case it came loose and never got on top of the gear. I was disappointed with a time which left me in 7th position.
The scratch race had 23 starters and was a high speed event with a good few breaks. I got in with a good break of five riders and we worked together to put distance between us and the chasing group. In the final sprint for the line I got second place.
The sprint was next up and I learned a few lessons here - I waited to come around the lead rider too late as I was relying on the added momentum off the bend but failed to factor in the huge headwind, so it didn't pay off. As I was second in the first four up sprint I could only contest positions 7-22 for the sprint round. After the harsh lesson in round one I was determined to do better in this. I went first in the sprint and lead it out with 250m to go, this paid off and I won this round, earning a 7th place.
The final race was a points race and I knew from previous points races against the Dutch in the Sneem Hotel International Track Meet in Sundrive that consistency was key here. The race was run over 8km, with 4 sprints. Again the bunch were strong, with many of the Irish Junior Development team members holding their own within the bunch. With placings within the omnium close the sprints were hotly contested. I got up in each sprint and scored in all rounds, coming in first in the final sprint. Consistency meant I got the win for the points race. I was delighted with that. And delighted to learn that it was enough to compensate for the disappointing results in the 500m and sprint, leaving me with 3rd overall for the day.
Saturday was a scorcher, unbelievably sunny and hot, but typically, the celtic weather set in and Sunday racing was rained off.
It was a great competition and so well run. It was also super to see the Junior girls well able to hold their own in a field of very experienced track riders. It bodes well for them for the future and hopefully they will return next year and contest some of the placings. Ger Ivory and Anthony Mitchell traveled with them as managers/mechanics/chauffeurs extraordinaire and were kind enough to transport my bike over and offer me lifts to and from the track, it was fantastic to have such good support on tap!