(Probably the most popular posts we get are those written by our athletes on their experiences. Always a pleasure to read. Ed)

It’s amazing how years of hard work sweat and tears can come down to one moment. The British track champs was my main goal for the year, everything I’d worked for had come down to 3 races. I was competing in the sprint, scratch and 500m TT. At the start of the year I planned out in great detail every goal I had every time I had to make month by month. This put a lot of pressure on me to meet these consistently throughout the year. Truth is the whole year up to the champs I didn’t meet one of the times I had planned and only some of the goals. I had no idea how I was going to go. All I knew is that I’d done the work and prepared well. And that’s all that matters. My first event was the sprint, this was my best event and my main goal – a top 3.

First was the qualifying a flying 200. The hardest part is riding round in the D before the 200 with only you and your thoughts, thinking that you need to nail this. I was aiming for an 11.4. I got Kevin Stewart to push me up as it like someone has strapped rockets onto you and set them off, I flew up to the banking. I’d suggest that he takes up bobsleigh. I nailed the technique I had the correct lead and I gave it my all! I did what every person does after any track time trial I instantly turned round to the timing board like I was magnetised to it. I was elated to see I’d done an 11.265. It was so unexpected I was so happy! Now all that was left was the tense wait to see how fast everyone else went. I managed to qualify 3rd only 0.004 off 2nd! The first round I was against someone a good bit slower than me, however you can never underestimate your opponent. I’ve seen the best guys knocked out in the early rounds of big competitions as they’ve been too confident. I wanted to be in control and lead this from the front as I knew I had the speed. That’s exactly what I did and I was through to the quarter finals.

Next, I was against a fast rider but slightly inexperienced so I knew I had the tactical and speed advantage. Again, I lead it out controlled the race and took the win. I was through to the semis! I was against Alasdair Fielding, he qualified second only 0.004 ahead of me so I knew it was going to be close. The race would be decided tactically, the person who would lose would be the one who made the mistake. I lead this one out, he seemed happy to let me take it from front. He took height so I matched it and at 1 to go a lack of observation from me allowed him to cut under me. I got a gap quickly and rushed it came around but just missed out on the win. As I said it would come down to someone making a mistake, unfortunately it was me. It was a best of three so there was still the next race to come back. In the second ride I rode it the same but I didn’t take my eyes off him. We both rode it like a flying 200 and I was in the lead he came round and we were basically parallel across the line. I waited eagerly for the result, I lost by 2cm! (Yes 2cm) It really put it into the perspective when I went back to school and looked at a ruler.

I was out of the gold medal ride off but the bronze was still possible. I was against Jake Stewart, he had ridden the quarters very well and he’s really fast. I rode it from the front… again. I like to be in control. I had dejevu as I had too much height and Jake swooped under me. I got a really good gap and somehow I rushed it and came round. I knew I had to be focused for the next one, my year depended on it. I knew I had the speed to lead it out. At 1 to go I let him rush me but kicked just before he got on my wheel so he had no gap and height. I went all out and crossed the line in first. I’d got bronze! I was over joyed. It was an honour to step onto the podium and I soaked up the moment, I will never forget it. I had a rest day then I had to re-focus for the scratch race.

The scratch race was more of a bonus race for me. However it wasn’t impossible for me to do well if it comes down to the sprint. First was the heats, I have really bad luck with heats. I was always got an impossible heat to qualify. I did get a hard heat but it was possible for me to qualify. I decided I would wait until the end go to the front and ride it like a keirin to the line. I knew attacks would stick because they always do in heats. At 1 to go, 4 were off the front so there were only 4 qualifying spots left. I rode it like a keirin and I knew at my max speed not many people could come round me. It worked perfectly no one came round and I qualified, now a long wait until the final. Three other Scots qualified. Danny as per usual sitting on my wheel and letting me do all the work for him ;)!

It was the final, I hoped that it was really slow and it would come down to a bunch sprint. It was very far from that. I knew that Rhys Britton would take it from the front at 3 to go and he neutralizes every attack, so I wanted to be on his wheel at the end. Straight away I knew no attacks were going to stick as it was a complete smash up. It was guns blazing from the start. I took my turns and closed gaps, not getting involved in any attacks waiting for the final sprint. It was 10 to go and I started looking for Rhys’ wheel. I got it and sat on it until Fred Wright took it off me but I just sat on his wheel. It came down to a bunch sprint, I got stuck in the box and tried to find a gap but couldn’t find it. I did my best to get as far forward as possible. It was a photo finish between me and Jake Stewart for bronze, he got it. At first I was really annoyed as I could of done better, but it was bonus race and plus I got 4th at a British Champs

It was the last day and my last event the 500m TT. Despite being a sprinter I don’t have a very strong 500 as my start isn’t great. My aim for this race was to get a sub 20sec first lap. I like the 500 as there’s not much too it you just go as fast as you can for 500m. My bike was in the start gate and I was ready to go! I composed myself waiting on the dreaded beeps! Bang and I was off, I had an alright start. I wanted a sub 20 and I got 19.999! I had my fair amount of close calls that week. I finished in a time of 35.0 placing me 8th in the end.

I really enjoyed the track champs. I got some great results and PB’s. I learnt a lot and gained more experience. I’m really looking forward to it next year. I’d like to thank Glasgow Riderz and Braveheart Cycling fund for their continued support.

Lewis Stewart Glasgow Riderz


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