The Next Generation, Apeldoorn, Netherlands 13th-14th January 2018

We started our drive early Thursday morning. Instead of overnight oats I decided to go for something different nothing special just porridge really. Then I headed down to Newport where I met up with everyone else. We packed the van and soon we were on our way. Thankfully this year we didn’t end up going the wrong way and missing tea although if we had me josh and ryan who were in the big van would have been sorted as ryan had brought enough food to last the through the apcalypse. After a bowl of pasta at the accommodation we headed to our little houses which we were going to stay in for the weekend, wacked on some Dutch TV and then headed to bed.

Friday

We had a relaxed start to the day as we weren’t racing until 19:00 that evening, and was just a single event, albeit a TP. After breakfast we all put our feet up and watched some more Dutch television, and me being extremely studious I did some school work ;). Before I knew it we were on our way to the velodrome.  We had time to do a quick roller session just to get the travelling out of our legs before heading for tea- must be some sort of pasta shortage in the Netherlands as we got the smallest portion of pasta in the world thankfully Ryan had his apocalypse stash so we didn’t stay hungry for long. We then got changed and ready to warm up for the TP. Soon enough we were all lined up ready to go. I felt good and was happy with how our team rode.  Unfortunately, the 2nd Welsh team didn’t have much luck as Owain had a mechanical causing it to go a bit pair shaped.

Saturday

Today I had the Scratch, Elimination, Tempo and Points. I decided to ride a 98” for the Scratch as it’s usually pretty strung out and fast. I was watching what was going on in the bunch, and then I saw my opportunity to attack. No one came with me but I gained half a lap pretty much.  I got to within ¼ of a lap of the bunch and they started to squeeze on quite a bit.  I noticed that Jim Brown had come across to me so I swung up and jumped onto the back of him. We were working well until a German rider decided to join us, and just do no work.  Unfortunately we were caught with a lap to go. I was quite frustrated at this, but I had to move on because shortly after was the Elimination.

I started off at the back and then moved up quickly.  I stayed near the front until it was the final 4. Unfortunately I made a tactical mistake that cost me that lap and I ended up coming out but was fairly happy with the result.

Next race was the Tempo. I have now decided that this is my least favourite race ever – whoever came up with it must just really like hurting people. You either get it right or wrong and I got that race very wrong. Lessons were learnt and I moved on.

The Points was 50 laps, quite short, so I knew it was going to be fast. I tried to attack a few times but was just in the wrong position. By the end of the day the legs were feeling it.  I think I should have geared down a bit as the constant changes in pace were too much on the 98” –  but hay you live and you learn.

As we were packing our kit up Brecon pointed out that the Austrian team clearly don’t know what a changing room is – all of them were standing pretty much stark naked about 5 meters away from us. The lads in the Welsh team seemed particularly interested in the Austrian girl. who I’m sure if she knew the lads she was getting changed next to well enough she probably would have gone to the changing rooms instead. That night they managed to find her snapchat but nothing came of it.

Sunday

Today I had the Derny race and Madison. I was really looking forward to the Derny race as it is something that I’ve never done before. I was told to shout “Allez” at my derny driver.

To begin with I thought we’ll ill see how it goes.  Then I started to shout.  Nothing happened. So I shouted even louder.  Still nothing happened. That’s when I started to scream my head off at this derny bloke.

For about 25 laps my voice went from that of a 17 year old to some high pitched 13 year old having voice breaks trying to get the bloody derny driver to go faster. But apparently my derny driver only likes to race on the last lap where we must have gone from 35mph to about 100mph in the space of 125 meters.

The Madison was pretty sketchy, but that’s the best bit about it.

We then had to rush to pack all the kit up in the van as we wanted to get home in reasonable time. Again, it was myself, Ryan and Josh in the van on the way home – time flew with Ryan giving us his versions of many different songs.  Unfortunately, I think the original versions are the best. Ryan’s style is an acquired taste to say the least.

We got to Cobham services on the M25 at around 00:30. Which was pretty good considering the time we left the velodrome in Apeldoorn. Everything was shut, so for tea I had 3 tubs of the Macdonald’s BBQ sauce and a pot of their curry sauce – which is actually really good (would definitely recommend).

Soon after we got back to the velo in Newport (02:45). My Dad picked me up and as soon as I got home I flopped into bed at arpund 3:30 in the morning.

As I said before because I’m such a studious person I found myslef lumbering into school with one eye open, half-awake later that day. I thought “wow I’ve been pretty productive here”, until I went into school the next day and read through what I had done the previous day. Apparently when you are half asleep there is no right way to spell words as about 500 out of the 501 words that I had written for my Welsh Bacc were completely unrecognisable – almost as unrecognisable as Ryan’s version of Whistle by Flo-rida.

Great weekend. Good racing. Good company. Thanks very much Welsh Cycling, Stuart Meek and John Holt.

 

Photo Credit goes to Pete Georgi

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