Editors Blog


I still think of Reading as something of a home track for me, because it was where I rode my first ever bunch races on a fixed wheel.  I really used to enjoy the Monday night league, which I rode for five years when we were living in Beaconsfield.  Actually, that is a lie, I would ride them bitching and moaning about how sore my legs were from racing on the weekend, but now that I can’t ride them because we live in Worcestershire, I really miss the racing and the camaraderie!


National Omnium Series Reading 2013 Scratch Race


The final round of the Omnium series was, for me at least, just another opportunity to keep myself racing sharp and to fine tune some tactics, because I had put the series win beyond doubt after round 6 in Bournemouth.  That said, I hate losing and so I wanted to perform well – to quote Vince Lombardi (American football player and coach) “winning is a habit” but it is a habit born of paying attention to all the details all the time and racing certainly helps to keep us focussed on those details.


Race day for me is usually kick started with three shots of Starbucks espresso – for someone who avoids caffeine on non-race days that seems to do the trick!  And although we had a long journey to Reading, we were lucky that it did not involve any stretch of the M25.  Several competitors were badly delayed, with Anna Railton the last to arrive, just as the racing started.  It was sadly to affect her day as she struggled to regain her composure after the frantic rush to get to the start line.


With time on my side and a good warm up, I rode 38.90 seconds for the 500m TT.  Not a bad time for an outdoor track with a bit of wind and almost a second faster than the second placed rider, Irish National Champion, Lydia Boylan.


The points race was a fast, furious aggressive race.  I took maximum points in the first sprint after which Anna tried to break away.  The wind was picking up and for any break to survive it would require real determination and a little bit of luck.  Sadly for Anna luck was not on her side and the bunch was almost back together for the next sprint.  I scored a few more points before Sarah Connell attacked, she stayed away for two sprints and was caught just before the fifth and final sprint.  I knew I needed more points to win and so I launched myself in the back straight on the final lap, catching and passing everyone for maximum points and a tally of 14, which was good enough to earn just one point in the Omnium and that put me on two points after two events.


The match sprint also went my way, so that was three points from three events, but the effort was taking a toll and there was no denying that I was beginning to feel a little tired in the pursuit.  I tied up badly on the last lap and had to settle for third place.  Charlotte Broughton was fastest with an impressive 2:28.20 from Lydia on 2:30.52, who was just over a second faster than me.


Going into the final race, the scratch race, I was feeling pretty relaxed as I had accumulated just six points in total.  The closest to me in the overall competition was Lydia on 15 and with a nine point difference, nothing short of a disaster could deny me the win.  But with Charlotte just two points behind Lydia, there was the possibility of an interesting battle to sort out the second and third places.  Few would have predicted that Anna, now on 20 points, would blast off the front of the race with such perfect timing that she managed to put sufficient bodies between herself, Lydia and Charlotte to enable her to jump from fourth to second place!  Lydia paid the price, dropping from second to third, while my winning margin increased to 11 points.


National Omnium Series Reading 2013 Podium L-R Lydia Boylan, Jan Birkmyre, Anna Railton


Reading marks four months of racing in the bank now, but it is the events in the last two months that really count.  So, after sharing some special recovery birthday cake with friends after the racing, our attentions turn to the big end of season goals.  Next weekend there is another trip to Bournemouth for the National Derny Champs, then Newport for the European Masters, Manchester for the elite National Champs and finally the curtain comes down on the season at the World Masters, once again in Manchester.


I had to share my Pit Bitch David Jack at Reading, as he was also helping newcomer Brit Tate with gears and bike set up – congratulations to Brit on a good performance in her first Omnium and well juggled David for keeping us both happy, whilst also managing to get some racing for himself.


My custom fit, custom colour Lake 401’s were much admired as always, pushing superbly strong, low friction KMC chains and with a super light Limar lid for protection.  Fuelling was by TORQ – the only nutrition I trust.


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