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  • Writer's pictureIzzy Escalera

Track European champs!!

Wow a lot has happened since I last wrote on here. A month full of travel and opportunities that I would have never dreamt possible at the beginning of the year!

It all started after a successful week at the Spanish track championships where I managed to win 3 national jerseys and 5 medals. Because of this, I was invited to a short training camp with the Spanish federation and to attend the European championships, just a couple of days later.

The couple days of training consisted of mainly team pursuit practice to try and assemble a team with the time we had left. We had never ridden as a team before, only as competitors in races so it was a challenge to determine the lap times, start order, duration of turns and all the other important aspects involved.

It had been such a long time since I had been on a smooth wooden track like Apeldoorn and so I appreciated to be back! (Most velodromes in Spain are made from concrete).

While being in Apeldoorn we were able to do a few road rides before the racing started and just see how perfect the scenery is. Just like I remembered!

The weeks racing began with a strong feeling in the legs during the team pursuit heats, as I was doing turns double that of everyone else, however I slightly regret doing that much work because it left me feeling unnecessarily tired in the latter days. It would have been worth it if we were going for a medal but I think with the lack of practice as a team (the qualifying round was the first time we had ever done a full TP effort with a standing start) we didn't have the best of chances so ended with a 7th place.

Our second day turned to disaster as all our hopes for the rest of the week came to a halt when we found out one of the Spanish u23 boys tested positive for Corona virus, which meant for the rest of us, a thorough PCR test to confirm that we were negative and the remainder of the day in isolation. Luckily, we all came out negative and found out in the evening that we could race the rest of the week, but I had missed the elimination race that I was really looking forward to! At least I got to see my British VCL team mate Flora Perkins, smash it to get 4th.

Due to the Covid scare, each morning we had to wake up early to get covid tested at the velodrome which was not the most settling, but we got to race which was the main thing!

My next race was the individual pursuit which although I didn't have the best preparation, I felt so motivated to make up for the elimination and ended up coming out with a new PB and national record of 2:27.825.

The following day was the 500m where I was completely overwhelmed with the performances before me however I felt less pressure and was able to enjoy the experience more, trying my best and I came out with another PB of 37.534.

My last event was the madison with Ainhoa Moreno. We had only done one small madison session together the day before so not great preparation, but she had experience in the past so I felt confident we could be safe changing. We had poor positioning and generally just were not strong enough but it was a great experience racing madison internationally because it was so different to anything I had done before.

I really want to thank the Spanish Federation for selecting me and my coach, Cesar, for all his help this past year. While of course thanking my parents and pedal potential for supporting me out in Spain and everyone else who has had a part in my development as a cyclist!

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