Hot. Bloody hot. So hot eggs were fried on bonnets, bacon on the concrete velodrome and track riders hid like flies under any skerrick of shade between races. Dusty. Asthma and hayfever inducing powdered shale clay, gusted over the track by a hot wind whilst racing. Gutsy rides – riders kept going out there, busting themselves each race, and doing it over and over across the two days. Character building I think it’s called. And also, the number of women racing: around 24 at Maryborough and 29 entered at Bendigo. It’s one of the few opportunities you get to race against so many women, from top elite riders to D grade club riders at a meet.
I was happy enough with my own performance, considering the heat and lung coating dust. I certainly performed better than last year, and made it through to the final of the major wheelrace for the meet. I didn’t come last in the final, with a couple of girls not making it to the finish line with early retirements, and a couple of others sitting up, instead of riding the race out. Moral of this story: don’t stop riding until you cross that line.
I didn’t cope with the heat that well on Day 1 of racing, and after some discussion and suggestions from Coach, made sure I had plenty of chilled drinks and a bag of ice for the next day. On the Friday, it didn’t seem to matter how much I drank, I remained hot and thirsty. Coach suggested that cold drinks only may cool me enough to overcome that problem; that warm drinks may not be enough to overcome the heat. So I semi-froze my endura and water bottles, and turned up the car fridge a few degrees. That combined with literally laying the bag of ice on my chest, back and legs after each race meant I was recovering better than the previous day. I also chose accommodation with a swimming pool: it took over half an hour of sitting neck deep in the pool on Day 1 to start to feel normal.