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Julie Leth on balancing the track and road

By:
Julie Leth
Published:
February 24, 2014, 23:00 GMT,
Updated:
February 24, 2014, 23:19 GMT

Hitec Products rider blog

Hitec Products Julie Leth

Hitec Products Julie Leth

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Living in Denmark, track riding is a good supplement to the dark, wet, and cold road rides of winter. I live three hours from the only indoor track in Denmark, which can be really annoying. Most of my track training this winter however, has been with the National Team and in training blocks that we've had before the World Cups, so I haven't had that many transport days this winter. When I was younger though we usually went to the track in Ballerup once a week. In that way, the track has always been something to look forward to, the bright spot in the dark cold winter – my weekly escape from the cold.

I absolutely love racing the track, which means I sometimes try to persuade my teammates into doing it. In the lead up to the Road Worlds in Florence last year, I desperately tried to teach my former teammate Emilia Fahlin to do a Madison sling (mostly because I wanted her to give me a good sling up those hills), but unfortunately I didn't have any success with that project.

I know my new Hitec Products teammate, Sara Olsson has been doing some track, and I also saw some sneaky pictures of Ashleigh Moolamn cruising around on the track. What's more, Thea Thorsen claimed on training camp that she could "crush" me on the track so who knows? We might soon have our own Hitec Products team pursuit team.

Not everyone on the team seems to share my love of the track, however. After missing a fair bit of the season last year due to a crash our Italian climber, Elisa Longo Borghini decided to do some track training over the winter. I soon discovered she wasn't as fond of the track as me.

When she first got on the track – like everybody else – she was scared to death so decided to just keep going faster. She told me that the rest of the Italian National team was doing a warm-up behind the derny but she was still lapping them.

Then she thought the breaks between efforts were way too long and couldn't see the point in just sitting around. Instead she spent a solid five hours on the rollers when she wasn't on the track. I guess she isn't going to be in the Hitec Products team pursuit team. But enough about that …

After not having done much track since I was junior, the Danish Federation gave me the opportunity to do some Points Score races over the winter. It was an offer I couldn't say ‘No' to.

I didn't have any particular reason for going back to riding around in circles on a single speed bike other than I really missed it. But coming back on the track almost felt like coming home.

One issue with juggling road and track is that you don't really get a break. I had one week off the bike after the Road Worlds in Florence and will be going from the track straight onto the road again after I finish competing in Cali next week.

Obviously, this is a thing to consider. The season is long, and I guess my team managers could be a bit concerned about the fact that I might be very tired – both mentally and physically – already in the beginning of the road season. But hopefully this will not be the case!

Luckily for me both Karl Lima (our team manager) and Marc Bracke (our team director) have been very supportive, even though I will be missing the first few spring races.

So why Points Race? The answer is pretty simple, since it's mainly because it's my favourite event. I love the speed and the tactical aspect of the race. Whoever comes away with the win has to not only be strong but also smart and have a good grasp of the race. You can't just sit around and wait for the sprint.

For me the track is a way to keep motivated and focussed throughout the winter, but first and foremost, it's a part of my development as a rider. Still being very young that's my main goal; being as good as I can be, both for myself but also for my teammates.

I think I can benefit a lot from this winter of track racing. The track gives me a lot of speed and skills that I hope to be able to bring with me onto the road. I hope that this in the end will make me a better and more complete rider.

Next up for me is Cali, Columbia, and a race for one of those rainbow jerseys.

Today I had my last track session in Denmark, and I'm now looking forward to some good recovery days. It is hard to say what I expect, but I want to be part of creating a good and exciting Points Race.

Not having done many international Points Races it is hard to know where to place myself, but I'm quite confident and believe that on a good day (and with a fair share of luck), anything is possible.

I'm really excited, and can't way to start racing!

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