Walking into the Galeries for the Goldsprints finals the fun, festive atmosphere of previous rounds was still present, but there was also an added air of seriousness – in the form of lycra warriors and some riders seen warming up their legs on a separate set of rollers to the side of the stage.
The racing was hard and fast with some new PB times from some, and times that were a little bit short of what they were hoping for from others. In the semis and the grand final the distance was bumped up from 500m to 1000m of pain. Watching from the crowd, the 1000m dial takes so much longer to spin to the finish, and the anticipation builds and builds as you cheer your brains out, watch the faces of the racers contort from the effort in front of you and you wonder if the leader is going to explode by the finishline!
Fellow mountain biker Nick Both bettered his qualifier by a full second, but it wasn’t enough to reach the semis. The men’s grand final a lycra clad Ben Simonelli took the win, scoring a custom Bundy bike. He was obviously pretty happy with his effort!
The women’s final was a little more haphazard, with girls nominating themselves on the spot to have one last go at the competition, and a courier style backpack revealed as a last minute prize to lure the ladies on. Six girls stepped up for the competition and gave it their all in the 500m challenge with the fastest two facing off for a 1000m final. The crowd was loud, the music was booming, the atmosphere joyfully intense. I’m pleased to say I made it to the ladies final, against Betony, a courrier chick who’s qualifying time was one I can only dream to reach one day. Needless to say she beat me in fine style, but I enjoyed every second of the challenge. There is nothing quite like pedaling as hard as you can and observing your legs from your mind’s eye as they feel like they can’t possibly pedal any further but seem to spin around anyway. I imagine it’s a bit like how some solo 24 hour riders might feel in the final hours of their competition, only given the choice, I’d chose the minute long format any day!!
I don’t have any photos from this round, but click this link to the Galeries website, and if you’re keen for more, follow their link to a collection on Facebook. I hope to see you at future rounds in the lead up to the Bicycle Film Festival in November.