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Back on track

My fleeting days as a 'trackie' on the velodrome are now finished but I had an absolute ball! I have wanted to have a go at the track for the past few years but my road goals were always a priority. However, this year things seemed to fit in and I decided to fly down to Adelaide to compete in the National Track Championships.

1997 was the last time, when I was a junior, that I rode on an indoor board track. So, I made the decision to spend a week on the 'boards' a week before the championships and I am so glad I did! Track training is totally different to that of a road program in that each day consisted of a double training session with 1-2hrs in the morning on the road and then 1-2hrs on the track in the afternoon. Ian McKenzie, the National AIS Track Endurance Coach, lent me a bike to train and race on and my first training session on the track was a spin-out - literally! I wasn't used to the G-forces in the bends, which made me feel dizzy and disoriented! However, I did feel better and more comfortable after each day on the track and by the time race day came round, I was looking forward to seeing what time I could post.

The championships run from Monday 7th to Saturday 12th and the event for which I had been preparing was the 3000m Individual Pursuit on the Tuesday. Qualifying was the 1:30pm session and whilst I was unsure as to what would be a realistic time for me to achieve, I was aiming at 3min40sec. I qualified in 3:42 and my first reaction was disappointment. However, my time was 2nd fastest, which meant that I was in the final for the gold/silver medal ride-off. These were the qualifying times:

The final was the 6:30pm session and I was really determined to get to my goal of 3:40. I went through the first 2k at 2:25 and slowly died in the last kilometre to eventually post 3:44. I had given it everything and it felt like a faster ride, so I was bitterly disappointed to look at the scoreboard to realise I hadn't quite reached my mark.

In the end, I know I should be happy with my silver medal at my fist senior track nationals and for my third ever pursuit. So I definitely want to come back and do more of this track stuff, I really enjoyed it!

However, for now I am back on the road again and the next trip away is to Geelong for the first World Cup of the season on Feb 27. From there it is straight to New Zealand for the second World Cup, back home for three weeks and then overseas! I have copied my race schedule below.

I am really happy with how the form is coming on after a bit of track speed and intensity, so I expect a win in this next block of racing! :)

Speak to you soon,

The following is my race schedule for the year with my new team, Team Ton van Bemmelen-AA Drink:

Geelong International Women's Tour - Geelong
22nd Feb - Stage 1
23rd Feb - Stage 2
24th Feb - Stage 3

World Cup #1 - Geelong
27th Feb

Tour of New Zealand - Wellington
1st March - Stage 1
2nd March - Stage 2
3rd March - Stage 3

World Cup #2 - Wellington NZ
6th March


World Cup #4 - Belgium
3rd April

Novilon Internationale Damesronde Van Drenthe - Holland
8th - 10th April - 3day tour in Holland

Ronde Van Gelderland - Holland
16th April

GP de Wallonie - Belgium
17th April

World Cup #5 - Belgium
20th April

Gracia Orlova - Czech
28th April - 1stMay - 4 day tour in Czech

Vuelta a Castilla y Leon - Spain
4th - 6th May

World Cup #6 - Spain
8th May

Tour de L'Aude - France
12th - 22nd May - 11day Tour

Pavel Van de Veluwe - Holland
1st June

Omloop Middag Humsterland - Holland
4th June

Durango Emakumen Sarria - Spain
7th June

Emakumeen Bira - Spain
9th - 12th June - 4 day tour


Womens Cycling Tour of Germany - Germany
17th 24th July - 8 day tour

Training camp at altitude in Livigno
1st - 27th August

Holland Ladies Tour - Holland
29TH August - 3rd September - 6 day tour

World Cup # 10 - Holland
4th September

World Cup #11 - Germany
11th September

World Championships - Spain
21st Sep - Time Trial
24th Sep - Road Race

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In August last year, Sara Carrigan reached the pinnacle of her sporting career by winning the women's Olympic road race title in Athens. Turning professional for Team Ton van Bemmelen-AA Drink shortly afterwards, Australia's golden girl will be searching for similar success as a co-leader on one of the most powerful teams in women's cycling.