Peloton Watch
  Courtney Field ready for her first Elite Track National Championships  
  February 1st 2016  
  Photo: Courtney Field with 2015 under 19 500m time trial gold medal PelotonWatch
  2014 junior sprint world champion Courtney Field will line up at her first Elite Australian Track Championships this week in Adelaide.

Field's time as a junior came to a successful end at the UCI Junior Track World Championships in August where she just missed defending her title in the sprint, claiming silver. Before adding her second silver of the week on the final day in the keirin. Bringing her collection to one junior world title, four world championship silver medals and 19 Australian titles.

"I am really pleased to have been successful in the junior ranks. I'm so grateful for the opportunities that I have had and it is great to look back now and see some of my achievements and be proud of them," Field said.

"I don't necessarily think that there is any pressure coming from anyone else because I am a first year and I feel that it is a developing year," explained Field. "But I want to get the best out of myself, so I put pressure on myself to do well. It will be a different experience though, so I'm keeping an open mind."

Her elite debut came at the Austral carnival in December where she opening the sprint with a time of 11.340 seconds, just marginally slower than her personal best set at junior worlds in Astana last year.

"I was so ecstatic with the time I did at Austral, it was a complete shock. I had just literally finished a strength block that week, so I was pretty tired. I was content with anything else after I did that time.

"My match sprints went well I thought since I hadn't really done any match sprints since junior worlds," said Field.

"I had raced Caitlin before when I was in the under 17's and she used to live in Victoria so I had an idea how to race her, but I still wasn't sure. But over the past year I had learnt some new skills that I hadn't got to use yet, so I was happy when it worked."

After defeating Ward who like Field has claimed silver in the sprint at the junior world championships, Field faced another up and coming Australian sprinter Holly Takos. "Once I got to racing Holly I was pretty tired and I wasn't as switched on as I was in the earlier rounds.

"Holly was going really well and she raced well, so I was happy to lose to her but happy to gain some racing experience against someone I hadn't raced in a match sprint before.

"It defiantly made me feel a lot better about myself," Field said of her second place in the sprint and keirin at the Austral. "After junior worlds I was scared to race elite nationals thinking I wouldn't be ready.

"It gives me some perspective of where I sit in the Australian elite ranks, I know that I won't be placing in the top three but I hope I can get somewhere close after that if I race well."

With the step up from juniors to elite proving different for everyone Field is aware that for the first time in her career she is unlikely to find herself at or near the top of the results sheet with development the most important thing on her mind.

"My goals are to do a personal best in the flying 200m, and race well in the match sprints, just to get beaten because I am not fast enough. That would be great.

"My preparation has been good, it is the first time in a long time I haven't had any big injuries or sickness coming in to nationals so I am super happy."

Moving to the elite ranks affords Field the opportunity to race some of the biggest names in the sport including Olympic Champion Anna Meares, Commonwealth Games Champion Stephanie Morton and former team sprint World Champion Kaarle McCulloch.

"I am actually looking forward to racing them and just see how amazing they are, it's going to be strange because what ever my strengths are, that is theirs but like double!

"It's going to be a great learning experience and I actually feel so fortunate to be able to race against them. But I'm going to give it a crack if I do have to come up against them. Plus being in awe of them at the same time!"

Going from racing riders within a two year age group to a field that includes the most experienced sprinter in the world Anna Meares is bound to present new challenges.

"I think just the different racing, like things that work in juniors for match sprints or keirins won't work in seniors, just because they are so much more experienced," explained Field of what she thinks will be her biggest challenges.

"So it's going to take a while to learn the tricks of the trade."

Another thing that will differ for Field this year is missing the 500m time trial. An event Field has won through the under 15, under 17 and under 19 ranks for the past five years.

"I just didn't think I had enough time to train for all the events as stepping up into the senior Ranks there is a lot for me to improve on still, to be competitive and so I thought I would concentrate on my flying 200's as I have always seemed to struggle with them," explained Field.
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