Peloton Watch
  Caitlin Ward Blog: International Track Series Melbourne  
  July 8th 2016 By Caitlin Ward  
  Caitlin Ward celebrates third in the keirin. Photo: Con Chronis  
  For me, the 2016 Melbourne International Track Series was not only a great break through but also a relief that I had set a new PB - something I felt was a long time coming.

On our 'pre-race' I knew I was tracking well, we had practically gone straight from the airport to the track and due to the banks steep transitions and completely different shape to the Super-Drome in Adelaide I was a bit sketchy but was also able to pull out a pretty respectable flying 100 which is always an awesome feeling coming into a competition knowing you have the fast legs you've been training so hard for.

It came to race day, the nerves were on, my incredibly dedicated family/cheer squad had assembled in the stands and I was as ready as I could ever be, for the first time in a long time I lined up for that qualifying satisfied with my prep, my lead in and where my mind and body was at ready to rip it. My racing that followed had plenty of scope to learn and improve, which at the end of the day is where I am at in my development on the Australian sprint scene.

Unfortunately, like many other athletes that week the freezing cold conditions got to me and I came down with a nasty virus on the Thursday night and had to push on through the rest of the week not feeling great, which was very annoying, but another challenge I was determined to overcome.

Caitlin Ward in action in the sprint. Photo: Con Chronis

I drove in on the second qualifying day with my car telling me it was 5.5 degrees. As you can imagine, the thought of wearing millimetres of a lycra speed suit today without my usual training layers on top of it wasn't very appealing. I pushed forward and got as warm as humanly possible to pull out at 11.310 which ended up to be temperature and condition corrected to just as fast as my 11.1 I rode 3 days earlier.

I had a bit more of my sprint head back and felt I gained a lot of positives out of this meet. Only narrowly missing out on the semi finals and was able to push some of Aussies best sprinters all the way to the finish line.

The final day saw a velodrome filled with very tired athletes and I was very happy to have made it, virus and all to the last day of racing. I challenged myself to try something new and different to my usual keirin tactics which didn't pay off in the first keirin competition however I was very proud to come away with a very close third with Kaarle McCulloch on the final day of ITS Melbourne.

There was a lot of pressure on me for the week long competition and I am really proud of how it went overall. There were many positives including a podium finish, and two fast qualifying times which make me quietly confident and super excited for the upcoming season and the lead in to the next Olympic cycle.
 © 2016