Friday was the first time that I’d been on track at the same time as my 2 team mates from the team sprint, which you might find hard to believe considering I’m riding for the GB cycling team, who are famed for their attention to detail, but there was a reason. Our new man 1 for the Team Sprint (Kadeena Cox) had only been cycling for 8 weeks, and just 2 weeks ago she was in Doha running for the GB Athletics team at the World Championships where she won Gold in the 100m sprint and broke the WR in the process. Kadeena has proved to be a rapid learner, quickly mastering how to transfer her power to the bike and setting the world alight on the boards.
Preparations were less than perfect, but after 2 quick practice starts in the warm up we were ready to go!
We were in heat 5 and Kadeena got out the start gate cleanly and got us quickly up to speed as she finished her lap, then it was over to Jon Allan Butterworth to build on the start speed and accelerate us up to top speed throughout the 2nd lap, before clearing the way for me to bring the team home. As I crossed the line we’d set the fastest time of 50.451, a time that would of qualified 2nd at this year’s world championships, a massive improvement on our 5th place we achieved at that competition.
Considering it was the first ride as a team, it was an almost flawless ride, with smooth changeovers and from the out side you’d have thought we’d been practicing for weeks.
Over to the final, Kadeena came out of the gate all guns blazing, Jon and myself having to dig deep to keep on her wheel as she blazed ahead over half a second quicker than her previous best. Jon accelerated off her wheel, and we kept the pressure on as we raced head to head with the world silver medalists Spain. With the changes slicker than in qualifying I took over keeping the speed high all the way to the finish, crossing the line in 49.820, taking the gold medal in a time faster than the Chinese had set when they went on to win the World Championships earlier this year in Apeldoorn at the Paracycling Track World Championships.
It’s been a long time coming, but it was the first time we’d been on the top step of the podium in the team sprint since 2011. The team is now highly motivated to win at the World Championships next March in Italy before our ultimate goal of gold at next years Paralympics in Rio.
The remainder of the meet I was forced to sit out as I continue to recover from an elbow injury which has been troubling me for the last 3 months, and has prevented me from performing 100% effort, out of the saddle standing starts. My number 1 event the 1km TT relies on this type of start to get me up to top speed as quickly as possible, with my elbow almost pain free myself and coaching team decided best to not aggravate it now so that it will be fully recovered ready to return to full training in December.
However with this free time spent in the stands, I witnessed many of my teammates achieve PB’s as well as other world best times for the year with 12 Gold medals, 5 Silver and 7 Bronze we really cleared up. All in all, the meet was very successful for the whole GB team, as we scored many valuable qualification points in the run up to Rio. Our next major event and final qualification event for Rio is the World Track Championships in Montichiari Italy next March where I shall defend my world title in the Kilo and aim for gold at my 6th Paralympic Games.