Peloton Watch
  Courtney Field Blog: Junior World Championships  
  August 21st 2014 By Courtney Field  
  After taking a clean sweep of three gold in the sprint, keirin and 500m TT at nationals in January, Courtney Field earned a spot on the Junior World Championship team. 17 year old Field came home with three medals, a stunning gold in the sprint - a rare occurrence for a first year and silver in the 500m TT and keirin. Below she talks about the experience.

On the 16th of July I left for the final training camp in Perth before we left as a team for Korea. The camp was for two and a bit weeks, it was a good experience and got the team to have a really good bond. We played a few rounds of hot seat, the girls bleached the boys hair blonde a few days before we left and then the girls all braided their hair before the long plane trip ahead. The camp wasn’t all fun and games though; we trained very hard, still in strength training all up until the last week. The requirements of the camp were to teach us how to look after ourselves. We had to do our own washing, food shopping, cooking, cleaning and mechanics all up until we left for Korea.

After 10 hours of travelling we finally got there. The weather was a complete shock for us all. It was so humid and hot, something we would have to get used to before racing begun five days later. We had the most amazing hotel, it was so clean and comfortable. It also had great food. Luckily enough none of us got sick from anything, giving us a great advantage going into the racing.

The first day of racing was the team sprint. My partner was Sheridan Spark from Queensland, this was our first real team sprint together. We did a great job we qualified third. The Russians and the German team were in the gold medal ride off and we were in the bronze racing the team from Korea. It was so nerve racking, my whole body was shaking and I could feel my heart beating so fast. In the final later that night we ended up just missing out on a medal, it was so close. We were still really happy with our ride.

After that I had to worry about my recovery and reset my mind for the next day. It was the 500 TT and it was in the evening session, which for me was sort of a bad thing. All day I was just waiting to leave the hotel on the bus to go to the track, and the race and how you would go and how you felt was all on your mind. You never really know, because as a first year I had never raced these girls before and it was the first individual race, so you actually don’t know how close or how far you are in times until you match up to them in a race. I wasn’t as nervous coming up onto the start line today, I got all my major nerves out the day before in the team sprint, which was good. In training we never got to do a practice in the starting gate (which for a 500 is critical) so I just had to make sure I listened to every person before me.

I was very early on in the 500’s since I had very few UCI points, which puts you in a ranking of who starts where. But it was better, there was no times before me that were crazy fast because the favourites were the last ones to go off, so that took a lot of pressure off. I got out of the gates really well (for me). I ended up doing a personal best by over half a second. I did 35.569, which I was stoked with and put me in first place for the moment. Now I had the gruelling wait of 12 more rounds still to wait. Getting down to the second last girl Doreen Heinze (Germany), I had a plastic drink bottle in my hand squeezing it and was sitting in the pits just watching the timer and the splits go by, it is the most nerve racking thing getting to the last 2 riders, in for a medal and not knowing which colour it is going to be, her first split went faster than mine, and I was thinking “its all over now” and then the next half lap I ended up being up on her and I still had a chance. It feels like the longest 35-36 seconds of your life, and the last split I was still ahead.

Then it was time for the Russian (Tatiana Kiseleva) to come up, I knew she was really good and she would be one of my main competitors all week. I could almost be in with a chance here you are thinking to yourself. A world championship title all rides on this next 35 seconds. Everything you have worked for all year is riding on these next few seconds. Kiseleva put a second into me in the first half lap (333 track) and I knew I had got second, then the next split it gets closer becomes only .5 in front of me and you are just so nervous hoping that they start slowing down even more. It was so close; she ended up beating me by .099. I was just so overwhelmed with emotion, I was so happy. After a while, after all the emotions of getting on podium and being so happy you sort of start being quite hard on yourself about the race, not sure if that is just being an athlete or I’m just very hard on myself.

The racing finished quite late, I had to make sure I got home and did my proper recovery (eat, stretching, skins, sleep), for the 200 and sprint tomorrow. It was a long day, on the third day of racing (sprint day) I ended up being at the track from 9am-8pm. Having never actually raced on a 333 track, the tactics change completely, making it hard to quickly adjust to it; also the match sprints are only two laps long rather than three. I was also very early off in the 200m qualifying, about in the same spot as I was in the 500 TT.

My 200 time was a personal best, but I was so disappointed in myself and my time, I had qualified first for a moment, my time was 11.535. At the end of qualifying I was equal fifth with the German girl, Emma Hinze. But because her last 100m was faster than mine she got moved into fifth and I was sixth qualifier. Not impossible to win from, but very unlikely. I knew that I would have to come through the ranks having close rounds in every event and having to be on my A game every race, other wise I could be knocked out in the rounds that you only have one chance to win rather than best of three.

The Russian that beat me in the 500 TT qualified in an almost world record time of 11.197. In the 1/8 finals I raced the girl from New Zealand, Olivia Podmore. She and I qualified in very similar times, I had never raced someone the same speed as me before so it was going to be an interesting new experience for me. It was a best of one round, it was possibly one of the best races I have ever raced in the match sprint against her. I was so proud of myself. But once I beat her I had to go into the quarterfinals finals against Doreen Heinze from Germany, I was thinking no way I could possibly beat her, she had qualified third in 11.388. Much faster than me, she was one of the riders that I had been studying for months from watching her races from last year. I knew her strengths, and I knew mine, and I new I needed to come from behind her to win, especially on this track. I knew I was going to need a few race plans going into these races. This round was the first of the best of threes and if I beat her I would go into the sprint semi final the next day riding for a medal. I had really good leg speed going into racing her and I beat her in straight rounds. Because she was ranked third fastest, I took her spot in the sprint rounds, so the next day I had to race the second fastest qualifier, 1st races 4th, and 2nd races 3rd in the semi finals.

I was exhausted after racing that day; luckily I got a sleep in the next day before the sprint finals that evening. The next day the sprint finals had come, trying to stay focused and using as little energy as possible all afternoon. I knew I was going to need every bit of energy for the day of racing. Probably was the slowest I’ve ever walked up the stairs and around. It was so exciting with all the TV cameras there. On the start line there was people holding cameras in front of your face and I’m normally the person to pull a face at it, but I couldn’t. I was so nervous, I was the most focused I had ever been, I knew exactly what I wanted and I knew I had to execute it to perfection.

I was racing Nicky Degrendele from Belgium (who had become one of my close friends during the week). She was also a girl that I knew how to race from watching her races from last year but also having to watch her all the day before to see how she races. Both of the races were pretty much sprinting to the line every time. I won in two straight heats. To race the semi finals and finals I had to go up a gear to race them otherwise I would have had no chance. I had never even attempted to race on a gear this big before, but I had good legs today and I knew I needed to.

Racing the Russian Tatiana, I was going into the race knowing she tries to make the race a very short last 100m race and tries to dominate the front. For me I knew I had to put pressure on her to make her ride faster and to start sprinting from the 200 line. The first race went exactly to plan. When I crossed the line I got goose bumps all up my legs, it was this huge excitement. I had finally beaten her and it was in the first round. But I knew I was happy and I knew it wasn’t over, she can still beat me in the next two rounds.

The second round I played straight into her hands, I didn’t take a move that I should of and the sprint started on the straight coming into the finish line. But I knew what I had done wrong, I thought about it a lot and I knew I had done it wrong, I wasn’t disappointed, I knew I still had another round.

The final round came up and I had a feeling she was going to race this race exactly the same as she did in the last round when she beat me. She did… but this time I took the move I should of and I got over the top of her coming into the corner coming from the back straight and I didn’t use all my power yet, I watched her behind me until we just got into the front straight. The race was so close, I didn’t know who won, until it came up with me on the finish line. And it was just this overwhelming amazing feeling, I celebrated around the track, I was just so proud that I could do it for my country and for myself.

Nothing was a better feeling than this. Straight after my race finished I had to go straight to podium, I was putting my make up on as fast as I could while sitting on the chairs about to go up. Straight after presentations I had to go and do drug testing. It was my first time doing it overseas, it was defiantly a new experience. But it was okay because I had done it a few times before.

The keirin was the next day, not really backing myself in them, I was nervous, especially since now being the “fastest” sprinter there it was a little bit of pressure, I got onto the track and did my warm up, my legs felt so heavy, my legs were so tired and sore and my body was just physically exhausted. I had never had to race so hard, for so many races, mentally thinking about every race and also being one of the only people to race every single day apart from Tatiana (Russia) and Yeonhee (Korea).

When I saw the start for the first keirin round I was thinking that I was very unlucky, I had Tatiana and Yeonhee in my race, only first two go through. In the first round when the motorbike just swung off I used my move to get to the front and my main move for the whole keirin race, and then when one of the Indian girls crashed behind me and we had to restart. I was devastated because I knew they knew what I was going to do now. I did the same move but they were more prepared for it.

I ended up winning that round, and the next round I had a bit of an easier round but I was just getting through each race, I was exhausted, I had good leg speed but my body was just tired. The second keirin race I won but that was the last good race I had in me. My body just couldn’t go anymore.

I had the keirin final about 45 minutes after the second round. Just looking at the start list you think “oh my! How am I going to win this?” there are just that many good girls and we are all so close together in times.

In the final I hit the back wheel of Doreen (Germany) going for a position and had to back pedal, but I held it up. I wasn’t thinking about the race, I wasn’t focused and I got myself in a good spot. But I wasn’t thinking smart and didn’t see the girl (Nicky – Belgium) taking the run from behind me I got boxed in really badly by the two German girls. To this day I still have no idea how I got into that spot, or how I got out of it. The race is a bit of a blur, everything happened so fast. Some how I pushed my way out of being boxed in on the final corner and I was coming at the Belgium girl fast that won, but I just wasn’t fast enough and the finish line came to quickly. After the race I was so happy that my friend won and racing was over.

Racing was such a good experience, we had such a good support staff and crew and I couldn’t have done it with out them. Excited for the year ahead being able to wear the rainbow skin suit in the sprint event! I’d just like to thank everyone that has supported me. Cycling Australia, Cycling Victoria, Lou, Jarrod from Feel Good, Carnegie Caulfield Cycling Club, LJ Hooker, Victorian Institute of sport, my parents and Bradley Linfield!
 © 2016