One of our team riders Ethan Vernon had a phenomenal week at the British Cycling National Junior Track Championships at Newport Velodrome last week.
Here he tells the tale:
As track cycling is my main passion, this event was one of my main goals that I have been preparing for all season.
Being a 1st year Junior, I was expecting a tough week of racing against my fellow 2nd year GB academy programme riders and some of the best lads in the country.
MONDAY 31st JULY – DAY 1
The first event was the 3km Pursuit which was one of my target events. I spent the previous 2 weeks preparing, perfecting my position and schedule at the Derby Velodrome.
The bar was set high early on in the qualifiers by last year`s champion, Rhys Britton who set a 3:20:864.
This was then bettered by Fred Wright (European Omnium Champion) with a 3:20:154,
I was last off and confident of setting a good pace.
The legs felt great and before I knew it I was over the line in a time of 3:15:133 (a new PB).
This put me straight through to the final for Silver / Gold.
My GB coach felt confident I could break the National record and that is exactly what I did in the evening final with a 3:14:657.
1st Gold medal of the Championships and National record.
TUESDAY 1st AUGUST – DAY 2
Day 2 started with a 60 lap Scratch race qualifier. Another of my favoured events. Even though only a qualifier, the pace was high and I finished second to go through to that afternoons final.
The pace set in the 120 lap final was even faster from the gun which made it virtually impossible for any rider or group to make a break. As quick as there was an attempt it was brought back immediately. Several times by myself.
With 5 laps to go I was feeling pretty good and up in the front leading group of 5 riders. 4 to go and as I gave it a big kick the back end squirmed a little. Same again on 3 and 2. Gave it everything on the last lap as I felt the legs were going.
Pipped to the line for 2nd but pretty stoked with another podium finish and Bronze medal.
Also pleased to discover it wasn’t the legs giving up but a flat tyre I had been riding around on for the last 4 laps!!!!
WEDNESDAY 2nd AUGUST – DAY 3
Day 3 was the Madison which was more of a training event for me rather than a target for a Podium.
Pace was rapid over the 120 laps with an average speed of 56km/h.
We finished 6th overall and in the leading group of riders which I was pretty pleased with considering we had not practiced for this previously.
THURSDAY 3rd August – Day 4
Big day today staring with a 60 laps Points qualifier followed by the 1Km Pursuit then hopefully the 120 lap Points race final to finish.
Day started well with a 6th which I had calculated was enough to qualify and keep enough in the legs for the 1km pursuit.
Pressure was on a little as quite a crowd had gathered along with GB’s new Performance Director and Senior track coaches from Manchester.
I had my sights set on medal number 3 with the aim of another record.
Legs felt good out of the gate and before I knew it had crossed the line in another National record breaking time of 1:02:320.
2nd Gold medal, 2nd National record and over the moon.
Approximately 3 hours to recover so back to the hotel, legs up and re-energise the system.
120 laps and last Endurance event so I was expecting the pace to be ballistic.
And indeed it was from the gun.
I was feeling good so went for bagging a few full points early on.
I was leading the points by a small margin at the halfway mark but had to put in some big efforts to bring back the attempted breakaways.
It was Fred Wright who then positioned himself well to move ahead in the second part of the race.
It was cat and mouse up until the last 20 laps when most of the others riders knew they were out of the equation. Fred attacked, I chased, I attacked, Fred chased, other riders broke away and we both chased right up until lap 10.
Fred was now leading by 2 points so I knew I only had one last chance.
The pace ramped up again to almost flat out and I was in the string about 6/7th back with 2 laps to go.
I decided to launch an early attack around the outside and just gave it my all to come around the group and take the win. What an awesome race.
Gold Number 3 and National Points Champion.
What an end to an amazing week.
I am so grateful to all of the people who have helped and supported me including Nick, Katy, Phil and all the staff at Corley Cycles.
Nothing is ever been too much trouble for these guys and many a time they have pulled out the stops when needed.
This week has been a classic example when the seat post on my Corley supplied Cervelo T4 seat post broke.
Within 12 hours of contacting Nick, Chris had part stripped a shop bike, removed the seat post and had it delivered to where I was staying in Newport!
What an amazing performance over the week from this incredibility talented and thoroughly decent individual – chapeau!