What’s been happening?
I would love to sum up that title with a simple statement. Track, track, track.
The last few weeks deserve a little more detail than that though.
OCEANIA TRACK CYCLING CHAMPIONSHIPS – this event attracts the best of Australian and NZ Track cyclists and it was neat to be alongside 13 of the 14 Gold cycling medalists at the Commonwealth Games.
I was seriously excited to start racing as soon as we got there but we had a couple of days to get used to the track first. The track felt really short as the corners were much more spread out than the Auckland or Invercargill track and therefore making the straights shorter. I suppose this was a good thing as the timed events normally feel so long but this time they seemed over in a flash! I was also getting familiar with my new ‘second hand’ bike. Thanks to Mum for all her time on ‘ebay’ and ‘trade-me’ sourcing a $42k new set up for $15k!! Josiah Ng the Commonwealth Games Gold Kierin Champ sold me his bike and SRM and was amazingly kind and gave me lots of extras which saved us ‘lots’ of $$
The ‘500m Time Trial Straight Final’ was first up, my legs felt great and I couldn’t wait to see what kind of time I could post on my completely new bike set up! I did a time of 37.5 seconds which was the same as my current personal best which I was hoping to advance on. Then, the race commissioner approached me and asked if I would like a re-ride as the starting gate had let me go late and therefore it was unfair. I was gutted but you can only control what you can, so, 5 minutes later I re-attempted my 500m time trial and set a better time of 37.2 seconds which put me in 4th place and a new personal best time!
Me during my 500m time trial
Me in the sprint ride off for 3rd against the Aussie U17 Champ
The next day was the ‘200m Sprint Qualifying’ which is a flying 200m time trial to rank the riders in ability, after which the top 8 qualify, and from there it’s match racing (in best of 3 sprint races of 3 laps each) with quarter, semi and final racing. I did a personal best flying 200m time of 12.256 seconds to put me in 3rd spot. This meant for the quarter finals I would vs. the 6th seed, which I won in the first 2 races. I was through to the semi finals against the 2nd seed later in the night session. Her qualifying time was 0.165 of a second faster than mine so it was going to be close. Dam! Her little bit of extra speed got the better of me meaning she won in 2. (My coach told Mum and Dad I looked seriously mad about losing!!) I learnt a lot from these races about using more of the track and other tactics that I could then take through to the final ride off for 3rd. I rode off for third against my counter-part U17 Aussie Champ and won in two straight to take the Bronze Medal.
Now for the ‘OPEN Women’s Kierin’ on the last day, the first kierin race I had ever done and I really really enjoyed it! After a qualifying and repecharge, I had qualified for the semi-finals and I was up against some of the best in the world including double World Champion, past World Record holder and Olympic and Commonwealth Games Gold Medallist Anna Meares. I didn’t make the finals but ended up 10th overall and the 3rd U19 girl. I was quite excited about this great start to my kierin riding in the future (it’s the biggest gambling event after horse racing in Japan!)
Kierin 7th-12th placing (me in the middle – black tyre)
I also managed to get mentioned in the New Zealand herald which was cool.”Counties Manukau's Paige Paterson, who is in her first year as a junior, impressed in grabbing the bronze medal in her first major international competition.”
Three days after being back in the country I headed down to Invercargill for the ‘Festival of Speed’ where I was allowed to race open grade and gained amazing experience against the top riders from New Zealand and international riders who made the trip over from Australia. I finished 3rd in the kierin and was pleased with my other results in the open women grade.
The day after I got back from Invercargill the ‘Bike NZ National Road Cycling Criterium Championships’ were being held in Takapuna in Auckland. It was great to watch all the elite women and men and their races that night as they were seriously fast and aggressive. I raced in the U17 age group and took out second place. I won a prime sprint and a 3 month Les Mills’s membership worth $300!
I look back at my year and see one of fantastic opportunities, big improvement (with plenty personal best times) and competing with the best. None of these would have been possible without my sponsors and I am truly grateful to you all.
Thanks so much.