Alison Salthouse – the UK Masters Track Champs

On Thursday the 27th June our sponsored rider, Alison Salthouse competed in the UK Masters Track Championships. Over the course of the 4 days Alison picked up an incredible Silver medal along with a creditable 4th place finish. Here, Alison takes you through the event in her own words, in the blog; Alison Salthouse the UK Masters Track Champs.

Pre – Event Preparation

So… my cycling journey has further continued – from not being able to ride half a mile without getting out of breath, having jelly legs and weighing 5st heavier than I do now to achieving my very first podium for riding on the Velodrome!

Alison’s incredible love of track cycling serves as an inspiration to all.

I have found understanding the appropriate nutrition really hard and only started working on strength and conditioning using weights at the gym during the last year – thanks to my coach Steve Cronshaw. I have learned how to develop as an athlete and include these aspects in appropriate quantities into my training regime to achieve success.

Alison with one of Team Ribble’s mechanics during the pre – event tune up of the Eliminator track bike.

I brought my Ribble Eliminator up to Preston from my home in Shropshire for a ‘health’ check in the week before the Nationals. One of the young mechanics gave it a once over and a re-assuring clean bill of health. It’s an important part of the pre-event check list!

The UK Master Track National Champs

Alison roundly displays her Nationals number.

I took part in the UK Masters Track Nationals and finished 4th (missing out on 3rd by 1/10th of a second!) in the 500m Time Trial. Even better was to follow, finishing 2nd (and gaining a silver medal to boot) in the Match Sprint!! I was competing for my first time in the 60 – 64 age bracket, against some tough opposition. I’d trained hard, kept my weight largely in check and had tapered before the big event. This has to be up there as one of the hardest but most fulfilling things I’ve ever done or achieved in my whole life.

The Nationals were held in Newport, South Wales. I registered, got my race number, had my bike checked (for UCI Compliancy) and began my warm up preparations. All too soon it was my turn – the first heat of the very first event. It was a gated start, where my rear wheel is clamped in a start gate with a timer counting down to release me.

The 500m Time Trial

It was a gated start, where my rear wheel is clamped in a start gate with a timer counting down to release me. I tried to focus on my regime from 5 down to zero breath in, breath out, stand up on the pedals, throw your backside back and GO. With a powerful thrust of the hips to help you on your way. Then re-set the hips around the first corner, staying on the track, out of the saddle, power through the bend and out the other side. Down the straight, sit down and GO GO GO. I felt exhilarated and it was all over in less than a minute – whew!

I came in at 46.166 – sadly just missing out on a bronze medal (3rd place was 46.081) but a very respectable 4th place. Warm down on my rollers, change of clothes to watch the medal ceremony wistfully and onwards to day 2.

The Match Sprint

Match Sprinting starts with a ‘Flying 200 metres’, a wind up in speed around the top of the track followed by a dive from the top down to the black line. With the aim of hitting the timed start line at the fastest speed possible then to ride flat out for 200 metres. The results of the Flying 200 are used to decide who rides off against who for the Match Sprints that follow. Match sprints consist of 2 or 3 riders on the track at the same time, where the riders play‘cat and mouse’ with each other.

For 3 laps they each watch the others to decide when is the most opportune moment to swoop down, to then take the lead and cross the finish line first. The bell goes on the last lap so the riders know that the ‘race is on’ to the finish. I was in the semi final – the winner would proceed to the Gold/Silver final and the loser to a ride off for Bronze

I’ve trained to ride this event by riding against far younger riders at Derby Velodrome. Lots of riders my age are put off as you are unlikely to win against far younger legs……. BUT … I learned a lot of track skills, how to use the track to gain an advantage and then use this in races against my own age range. It paid dividends as I WON. I had ridden the ride off my life and was in my very first final!!

Alison crosses the finish line in 1st place to secure a ride off for the Gold medal. Photo Credit: Andy Whitehouse

The final came around all too quickly. I tried my hardest but the Gold was not to be – my legs just wouldn’t carry me fast enough to become British Champion…… this time……. I was so proud to get second at National level. I managed to keep it together for the podium and am now a proud owner of a fabulous silver medal 😊

The well-deserved Silver medal.

What’s next?

My Ribble Eliminator has served me well over the Championships and I’m happy and proud to ride Ribble. The World Championships are looming in October at Manchester Velodrome where I’ll be aiming for another podium. Until then – more training sessions and preparation – including having some fun. Track is so awesome to ride, it’s exciting, exhilarating and scary in equal amounts – but it gives me such a buzz. Why not have a go…….. go on – you know you want to….. 😉

Alison in training aboard her Ribble Eliminator AL

With special thanks to Andy Whitehouse for providing the feature image.

Click here to read more about Alison and 2 of our female sponsored athletes journeys and goals for the future.

Find out how you can create your own unique Ribble colourscheme here.

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