Emma Cumming chasing more success as second year junior | Peloton Watch
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  Emma Cumming chasing more success as second year junior following World Championship silver  
 
  December 9th 2015  
   
  Photo: Kazakhstan Cycling Federation/UCI Junior World Championships 2015  
     
  Emma Cumming's first season in the under 19 ranks has seen seven medals across Oceania, New Zealand and World Championships.

One of many athletes to come in to the sport from a triathlon background, but her strength on the bike led her to cycling full time. Cumming first tried track cycling through a give it a go day at the SIT Velodrome in Invercargill. A path that is being used more and more across the world including Great Britain and Australia to help identify the future talents of the sport.

The first appearance for Cumming on the international stage came at the Oceania Championships at the end of 2014, where she claimed two bronze medals in a field that included the junior world sprint champion Courtney Field. Gold in the scratch and three silver medals followed at the New Zealand National Championships in February earning her selection for the Junior World Championships.

Cumming teamed up with Olivia Podmore in the team sprint at the Junior World Championships claiming silver in 34.219secs, a personal best. Another personal best of 35.484 seconds followed in the 500m time trial the following day. Despite finishing fourth and just missing a medal Cumming was pleased with the time, over half a second faster than she had ever gone before.

Five weeks later and with just five sessions in her legs following a four week break Cumming lined up at the Oceania Championships. Where she claimed gold in the team sprint and silver in the sprint and keirin in the sprint events. Plus another two silver in the points and scratch races.

With 2016 fast approaching Cumming has here eyes set on a strong showing at the New Zealand National Championships to earn selection for the Junior World Championships as she chases more success on the world stage.

PelotonWatch: Why did you take up cycling and how old were you?

Emma Cumming: I took up cycling at the age of 14. I came from a triathlon background, however I did not progress as swimming was not a strong point of mine. I was lucky enough to have the SIT velodrome in my hometown. My high school encouraged the students to head along to a 'give it a go day' session and since then I was hooked. I was lucky enough to have my school teacher Dave Beadle mentor me though my first ever National Championships after four months of riding. It was such an adrenaline rush and I was hooked from then on in.

PW: Selected for Junior World Championships what did it mean to represent New Zealand on the world stage?

EC: Being selected in the New Zealand Junior Track Worlds team was a dream come true. It's always an honour to wear the sliver fern on your chest when representing your country on the world stage. It meant a lot to me being able to represent my country, especially with an awesome team by my side. Representing New Zealand at the end of the day isn't always about your results. It is about the effort you put in, rising to the occasion and making your country proud knowing you've put in 100% and done all you could to perform at your best.

PW: Raced at ITS Adelaide in May in a strong field how important was it to have this opportunity to get some racing ahead of Junior Worlds?

EC: Racing at ITS was a combination of excitement and nerves. This was my first ever international completion with countries other than Australia. The opportunity to race was something that I needed, with having a huge lack of racing and international experience under my belt. The opportunity benefited me mentally and physically. It gave me the opportunity to get a slight gauge of where my form was sitting and what I needed to work on leading into the rest of the build up to worlds.

PW: Heading in to the Junior World Championships how were you feeling and what were your goals?

EC: Heading into Junior Worlds I was extremely nervous and didn't really know what to expect, as it was my first time competing with the 'worlds best'. Having such an awesome team beside me the nerves slowly eased and I become more and more excited. Our team had four second year under 19's who competed at the 2014 Junior World Championships. This gave the rest of the team and I an advantage when it came to adapting and equipping us with the knowledge of what was required throughout the preparation and racing at a Junior World Championship. This made me eager to experience it for myself and excited of what was to come after the long hall travel over to Astana.

My goals were focused a lot around the timed events and especially in the team sprint with my teammate Olivia Podmore. Focusing on my process and execution throughout the championships ultimately lead to personal bests in all my events.

PW: Claimed silver on the opening day in the team sprint with Olivia Podmore what did it mean to stand on the podium

EC: This meant a great deal to me. Not just standing on the podium but standing next to Liv [Podmore] someone who I had worked extremely hard with for the last six months. She was a big sister to me throughout the whole Junior Worlds campaign sharing her knowledge and experience from 2014. Sharing that moment with her will always be something I will remember forever. I think the best feeling was coming off the track after the race and having open arms from every other New Zealand team member. Knowing it was a team effort with all the trust, respect and support within our team. It really showed after winning our first medal of the campaign and this made us all very excited of what was to come for the rest of the championship.

PW: Fourth in the 500m time trial just missing a medal and just outside the top 10 in the sprint and keirin were you happy with your performances in the individual events at Worlds?

EC: Fourth in the 500m time trial and over half a second personal best was something I was very satisfied with. The keirin and sprints was something I went into with very open mind, with the goal to learn as much as I could. This was a big learning curve for me learning about positioning, track awareness and gear selection.

PW: Your first World Championships how did you find the experience and what was the biggest challenge you faced?

EC: The experience was amazing, meeting new friends, learning new things and experiencing it with your second family by your side it really makes it such a surreal feeling. One of my biggest challenges I faced throughout was the long hall flights. Sleeping on a plane was not something I was very use to and I struggled a lot with. I also suffered from a great deal with the jetlag. Flying is just like cycling the more you do it the better you get at it and this is something that both my body and I will adjust to.

PW: What is the most important lesson you have learnt in your first year as a junior?

EC: The most important lesson for me is that you have to be honest with yourself. You can fool everybody else but you can never fool yourself. If your not doing the right things or you are not putting the effort in only you will know. Ensuring that your doing the best you can helps with the support team you surround yourself with. But at the end of the day I need to be able to push myself and be able to mange and organize myself or able to learn or I can't expect myself to improve and excel.

PW: Raced the Oceania Championships just over a month later how did you find the quick turnaround?

EC: This was mentally hard for me, after worlds I had four weeks off and then rode my bike five times before the Oceania Championships. For me these Championships were used to gain more experience and racing. As you can imagine after four weeks full off the bike the legs didn't feel anywhere near like they did at worlds. This resulted in me having to be smart by trying to imply everything I had learnt from worlds in front of my home crowd.

PW: You claimed gold in the team sprint and silver in both the sprint and keirin happy with how you raced and the results?

EC: These are results you would be happy with after a good decent training block let alone only five sessions on the bike. I was extremely happy with my results and it was a bonus being able to share these results with my friends and family.

PW: 2016 will be your second and final year in the under 19 category what are your goals for the year?

EC: I am starting my build up to the 2016 National Championship in the second week of February. I'm working towards gaining strength, skill and power. The national championships are the selection for 2016 Junior Worlds. This is one of my big goals for the year to be re-selected within the junior worlds team. Then moving step by step to perform at my best at the Junior World Championships.
 
 
       
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