Countdown to the Olympics with cyclist Pete Mitchell (week three)

Pete Mitchell
Pete Mitchell

AS part of the countdown to the Olympics our weekly column comes from local athletes in the build-up to London 2012.

NOW that September is here, it is only a few short weeks until the Track National Championships start, for me, on September 26.

This year, I shall be competing in two individual and one team event over three days.

The first event is known as the “Kierin”. This consists of (usually) six riders, who start alongside each other before jostling for position behind a small motorbike, called a Durney.

The race is eight laps long and the pace is lifted from 35kph to a peak of 55kph at the 2½-lap to go point.

At this time, the Durney pulls off the track and the race is under way.The first one across the line wins and, this year, I shall be looking to improve on last year’s fifth placing.

The second event is the “sprint”. Proceedings are started with a 200m “flying” time trial to seed the riders.

My target for this year is 10.25 seconds, trying to better my current personal best of 10.308 seconds.

A knock-out style series then determines which two riders will face each other in the best of three final.

The sprint is well known for riders trying to use height, position and speed to outsmart their opponent, and it is often not the fastest, but the best tactical rider who wins the race.

Again, for me, the goal is to get to a medal ride-off and improve on last year’s fifth place.

The final event will be the team sprint.

This is simply a team of three riders riding one lap on the front each to complete a total of three laps, with the last rider crossing the line alone.

This year, I shall be riding with Ross Edgar and Dave Daniell, trying to topple the current champions Sir Chris Hoy, Jason Kenny and Matt Crampton.

It is a tough challenge but, as everyone knows, on race day, anything can happen!

To keep track of my results, follow @PeteMitchellGB on twitter.