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Going pro: The Rochelle Gilmore Journal 2003
Rochelle Gilmore - super sprinter and silver medallist in the Scratch Race at the 2002 World Track Championships - is a woman full of ambition. Despite being courted by the number one women's team in the US, Gilmore opted to sign with Lithuanian squad Ausra Gruodis-Safi; her goal being to move her World Cup ranking from 5 to 1 in the space of a year. Follow Rochelle as she attempts to rise to the top of the cycling tree in 2003.
A struggle with the juggle
Australian & Oceania Track Titles and Track World Cup Round 4, April 30 - May 18
I am writing you this email from the plane, on my way back to Italy to climb some more mountains!
I have decided that my last minute decision to return to Australia for some track racing turned out to be beneficial and worthwhile. Although I seemed to struggle a little during competition, I believe the exercise will pay off in the long run, learning how to convert from road to track and how to prepare best for a track event in a short period of time - it was all about experimenting and learning how to juggle the two disciplines best.
With the guidance and advice from both Gary Sutton and Ian MacKenzie, I walked away with two national/Oceania gold medals, one national/Oceania silver, one World Cup gold and one World Cup silver (the national scratch and points race was also the Oceania Championship).
Australian & Oceania Track Titles
The scratch race at the National Championships was the hardest race for me. I had only been back in Australia for a few days and I had raced three UCI races in three different countries the week before returning home. My legs were tired and I struggled the entire race, I sprinted desperately for the line moving all over the track; I had won a national championship, but felt disappointed with the way I had won it.
The points race win was a little more satisfying, although I had a terrible start to the race getting myself boxed in for the first couple of sprints and then letting a break get away. Fortunately, the riders in the leading break tired shortly after the halfway point and the race came back together. I really started to find my legs during the second half of the race and I started to enjoy myself out there; I feel that if the race was even longer than the 100 laps, I would have continued to feel better.
Track World Cup Round 4
Women's 10km Scratch Race
I really enjoyed this race. I went into the race determined not to let any riders get away; I reacted quickly to all the moves in the first half of the race and then suddenly realised that there were many other girls in the race that had not hit the wind yet.
I made a decision to let someone else cover the moves - it's always a gamble and a dangerous decision and without the help from my teammate Belinda Goss, that decision could have cost me my medal. A break did go towards the end of the race and no-one else wanted to chase, so Belinda sacrificed herself and chased the break.
In the last three laps of the race, Sarah Ulmer from NZ started to wind the pace up on the front, I wanted her wheel but so did everyone else. I could not quite squeeze in on her wheel so I had to sit out in the wind on her hip for the last couple of laps; moving any further back in the pack to get out of the wind would have been a bad decision so I had no choice but to stay there.
When it was time to kick down the back straight, I did not have my usual explosive kick, I just started moving slowly around Sarah, knowing that there was most likely someone behind sitting out of the wind ready to pounce. It was the British rider [Victoria Pendleton] who flew across the line for the win just as I threw my bike to beat Sarah; it happened so fast but I knew I was moving too slowly!
Even though I was disappointed that I finished second yesterday, I now have more confidence about winning this event at the World Championships, learning from the mistakes I made in that race and spending more time in Buttgen Germany preparing specifically for that event will make all the difference - lets hope!
Women's team sprint
This is a new event for women and I think it's the first team event women have ever had on the track. The team sprint final was the very next event after my the scratch race, so I had time to roll around the bottom of the track a few times before having my bike locked into the gate for the start.
I was still breathing very heavily as I climbed onto the bike with many thoughts going through my head. I was disappointed about just being rolled in the scratch race and at the same time very nervous that I might let my teammates down.
We had qualified fastest by a few tenths of a second but I was not sure if I could repeat my performance after racing the 40 lap scratch race. My job was to complete one lap as fast as possible and hopefully faster than the team on the other side of the track, so my second and third rider didn't have to start their quest for gold from behind.
I actually ended up riding my lap two tenths faster than in the qualifying round, and Kerrie and Rose continued to pick up the pace to win us Gold!
Once again it was a pleasure to join up with the Australian Track team. Everyone was very motivated, supportive, friendly and professional - not to mention excited about trying to match last year's performance at the coming World Championships.