Hi Everyone and Happy New Year!
I hope like mine, your New Year has started with a hiss and a roar. In the first week of January, after pleasing NCEA results (given I was away from school 53% of 2012) I entered summer school at the University of Auckland to commence my conjoint degree - Bachelor of Food Science and Bachelor of Commerce. Late last year I was awarded a Prime Ministers Athlete Scholarship that covers all of my university expenses. I was really stoked to be awarded this and am very grateful for HPSNZ’s funding of my studies. So far, I am completing one paper (Statistics) over the summer (which started on the 4th of Jan) It’s high intensity with 2 hours of lectures a day instead of a few hours a week and assignments every few days instead of every few weeks but lectures finished last Friday with final exams on 18 Feb. Hopefully that will be one paper down before others have even started! I plan to do slightly fewer papers than most full time students this year so that I can juggle a degree with my training. It may take a long time, but at least I will have a degree!!
|Relaxing in the pool with friends|
Summer has been great, catching up with various friends as they passed through Auckland and I really enjoyed my time down in Gisborne at the ‘Rhythm and Vines’ festival over the New Year! I was training through the summer holidays so flew down a few days after my friends, and then had a blast being a real teenager and enjoying all the antics we youngies experience! As you can see I was photographing the Guiness Book of Records ‘Nude Swim’ rather than participating! Truly some amusing/eye opening days.
|The Skinny dip world record!|
Last week the Elite National Track Cycling Championships were held down in Invercargill. This was my first National track cycling event at the Elite level. I am no longer a little kid, but a big kid!! I picked up a Silver in my specialist event, the Keirin Race, in a tight finish behind 2012 Olympian Natasha Hansen. I was 4th in most of my other races behind the NZ elite sprint squad members who were in some hot form, breaking 3 New Zealand records at the event. Overall I am happy with how nationals went. After frequently winning my events coming through the age group levels, the elite nationals has really motivated me to train even harder to make sure I can now foot it in all my events at the elite level. The best thing about nationals was that I was still having fun and enjoying competing even though I wasn't on the top of the podium. BikeNZ also arranged a radio interview with Murray Deaker while at nationals, which you may be interested in listening too (while you are gardening or doing the dishes!). Flick me and email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I will send you the audio file. I give a little insight on Japan and how nationals went for me.
Sprint ride off for 3rd, I am at 8.31mins - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kqr2Ig2aSN8
Keirin final, I am at 2.55mins - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BPGZYd3fF38
|The finish of the Women's Keirin|
After nationals I was invited to a meeting with the Elite Women’s sprint squad with a mere 4 of us, to outline the upcoming year. Unfortunately the cycling funding is going to be spread thinly as it covers road cycling, track cycling, BMX and mountain bike so it looks like we are going to have to fund ourselves if we want to gain vital racing experience overseas over the next couple of years. The sprint girls are already starting to plan some trips ☺ We are also required to find our own accommodation and be based down in Cambridge from 1 January, for when the new velodrome is up in running in 2014. Exciting stuff!
|The Womens Keirin podium|
Next up, I am off to Japan in less than 20 days to compete in the Girls Keirin as an international guest rider in their professional Keirin circuit, (They bet $NZ11Bn on it p.a.) I will spend the first week at Keirin School (learning all the rules, as the contract I’ve signed has $400 penalties for breaches) and then compete in three, 3 day race meets. The only other invited international rider is Kaarle McCulloch from Australia who placed 3rd at the Olympics in the Team Sprint. She has been amazing; emailed (the little, unknown) me and offered to arrange accommodation and for us to stay together. It’s sporting gestures like this, that make us all realize how many great people are out there for the love of our sport and encouragement of their competitors.
|The Girls Keirin in Japan.|
Check out my Japanese profile here: http://pro.girlskeirin.com/overseas/ Many Japanese are now following me on Twitter (@paigepato), one of their Bike manufacturers has kindly tailor built a bike for me – I’ve been consulted on fonts/logos and colours for it, and I’m enjoying their emails and web posts which are so supportive and at times entertaining with the language barrier we have.
I will regularly keep you updated while in Japan via my blog and until my next post, enjoy the beautiful weather that New Zealand is putting on and may you all have a great year.
Sayonara - Japanese 4 goodbye :)