My last race session in Japan ended with a real bang! I was looking forward to this race meet the most because it had ALL the top Japan Keirin Girls attending to fight it out for the win. What’s there not to love about top-level competition!
|All Blacked out in the Final|
The final was as good as it gets, stands fully packed out and the fans were shouting and barking like there was no tomorrow. I was in black, number 2 for the final and felt like a real ‘All Black’. I even did the Haka to the girls in the waiting room before the race.. nothing like a bit of fun and games. The lights flickered as we rode through the racers gate onto the track and to our starting positions. “Gambatte Pataco” (fight Paterson) the fans shouted. My start was great! I was on Kaarle’s wheel. But when the pacer pulled off, a bit of dodgey Japanese men style keirin riding went on. Another rider purposely hit Kaarle and at this point I was thinking I might be kissing the tarmac soon… But I threw my elbows out, and unleashed myself from the box I had found myself in. I put the throttle down and stretched out my bike over the finish line in desperation of gaining another place. Only to be 2cm off 2nd place… So close! I had given it my all. And came away with 3rd place. The end result: a proud New Zealander, as happy as Larry with 3rd place in the Japan girl’s keirin Finale!!
|Kaarle (blue) about to get hit by the white rider, Me in black|
During my time in Japan I placed 3rd in every single race bar one (8-1) so lets just say I am pleased with my consistency, but am sick of coming third! But I am definitely not sick of learning and I am extremely excited about the amount of new tactics and skills that I have learnt from my time in Japan. I look forward to passing some of these onto the younger keirin riders we have in New Zealand too.
|The view from our accommodation at the track - it was such a cool track with the water displays in the middle!|
I am sad to be leaving, I have had such a fabulous time in Japan and if I ever got the opportunity to come and compete in the Japan Girls Keirin series again, I wouldn't even think twice about saying yes! I have made some lifetime friends that I will be sure to keep in touch with and I look forward to riding against some of the Japan keirin girls on the world circuit in the near future. I would like to thank BikeNZ and the Japan Keirin Association for this amazing opportunity, I surely did grasp it with my all! And also a big thank you to Kalavinka for the awesome bike I rode during my time in Japan.
|My Kalavinka bike!|
For now, I’ve got a little bit of down time before packing in some hard yards training over the winter in NZ in order to build that motor of mine.
Thanks for reading.