Peloton Watch
  Emily Nelson Blog: 2018 BC Superweek  
  July 21st 2018 By Emily Nelson  
  Emily Nelson during BC Superweek Photo: Scott Robarts
  After a really tough return to riding post-commies I made the trip to Canada and took part in BC Superweek, which was a 10-day racing festival around the Vancouver area. I'd had over three weeks off the bike due to injury when I arrived, so my first bike ride was actually in Canada a week before the racing began! I'd been keeping myself relatively fit with lots of gym work but it's not the same as being on the bike. It probably goes without saying, but I was super nervous and lacking a lot of confidence going into the racing. I also had the nagging voice in the back of my head worrying that I'd injure myself more by racing. I stuck to my rehab protocol and was doing it every morning and before each race. I'd also got my back taped up to try and keep myself together and in a fit state to race. I knew I was fit to ride, but I was there to race, and I didn't want to be sat watching on the sidelines!

The first race I did was a massive shock to the system! It was a 40 lap criterium which had a climb in each lap meaning the race split and I was hanging onto wheels. I found myself accidentally into a good position for the first prime and being the bike racer, I am I went for it. It was only 10 minutes into the race and I spent the next hour in total regret because I couldn't breathe, and my legs were burning and I was frantically hanging onto wheels! I made it to the end though and got fifth in the bunch sprint with six riders up the road. I was surprised I finished in the main group, in fact I was surprised I'd finished the race at all so to finish just outside the top 10 I was super happy! I found out that evening when I uploaded my race data that I'd averaged 194bpm heart rate for the 75mins so that puts into perspective how hard I was going (or just how unfit I was!).

After the first race I felt better and better in the racing. It is very different to UK crits, but I really enjoyed all the racing! The courses are much simpler with wider roads and less technical circuits, but the racing was double the length and some of the circuits much shorter (and with big climbs) so I found the racing harder but easier to get your teeth into. There's also the added bonus of $$ primes which made the racing super-fast throughout as riders targeted different laps to win!

Throughout the week I picked up a couple of fourth places and some more top 10s. I had two bad races but racing every day that was to be expected. By the last crit I was attacking off the front and winning lots of $$$ in primes though! I did a final attack three laps from the end and held onto the lead until the top of the last climb on the last lap which was a little heartbreaking. I managed to scavenge seventh, but I'd been going for the win, so I was a little disappointed in myself. Should I have saved the attack for half a lap later? Should I have not gone for all the primes at the start of the race? That's bike racing though and you learn so much more from all the mistakes or the “what ifs” than if you won everything you set your sights on.

That crit was part of the Tour de White Rock which consisted of the crit and a road race the next day. I hadn't done more than two hours on the bike in over two months and the road race was 80km with two huge climbs in every lap. It was an eight-lap race so that was a lot of climbing for a track rider and the longest I'd have done in a long time. I set myself a target of making it half way through the road race and then see where I was at then. I sat comfy in the bunch on the flats and descents and just held onto wheels up the climbs. At the half way stage, I was still feeling okay and so kept pushing and telling myself "1 more lap". When the bell rang with one lap to go and I looked around and saw only 15 of us left I knew I stood a good chance of finishing high up. I got distanced on the final climb, but I pushed on over the top and managed to make contact with the group before the finish. I sprinted my way to fourth place which I was super happy with! With a seventh place and a fourth place I finished third overall in Tour de White Rock, which was my highest place finish of the whole festival! It was a really nice way to finish off the racing and we went and got waffles with my prize money to celebrate which was the perfect ending.

I had a really great time racing in North America for the first time and will definitely come back next year if it fits the calendar! I made some lovely new friends having gone there knowing only a handful of riders and in general had a lot of fun smashing it around town centres!

I'm back in the UK now but won't be riding European Track Championships which was originally the plan. Having been injured and still carrying it a little, it's best that I focus on training and getting back to full fitness. However I'm planning on being back and fighting for gold medals starting with the Track Worlds Cups in October! Hopefully I'll get a chance to wear my World Champs skinsuit in the Madison at some point too!
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