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Sam Harrison on Top Form

Track Nationals and Junior Tour of Wales

Planet X junior rider Sam Harrison has had a pretty good run of it over the August bank holiday steeling a victory in the Track Nationals and riding a blinder in the Junior Tour of Wales to boot! Here's his story....

"With just a week to rest after the track worlds I went into the Track Nationals feeling pretty tired and with a big lack of motivation. (Nothing that a big roller warm up and some motivational music wouldn’t sort out!)
Scratch:

Sam Harrison Track Nationals Junior Tour of Wales
"First race of the week was the scratch, and as usual as soon as I zipped up my skin suit and jumped onto the boards I was focused and ready to go to battle! The 40 lap qualifying went fine but it was going to be a completely different race in the 80 lap final. Things started off pretty steady, but after about half way everything kicked off and bodies were all over the track. Having decided to race with my head for a change I was biding my time and gambling on it coming down to a bunch sprint. But with 10 laps to go fast finishing sprinter Kian Emadi was still in the mix so I gave it a big dig to get away. The field split and luckily Kian got caught on the wrong side of it so I sat back again preparing for the big gallop to the line. With 2 to go a rider had quarter of a lap so it was time to get going but before I could move Dan Mclay came flying around the outside with Simon Yates glued to his wheel. After scrambling to get to them I sprinted around closing in on them to late to get 3rd. So not bad but I definitely had more in my legs.

Pursuit:
"Next up it was the pursuit, and after breaking the national record at the worlds everyone almost expected me to win so the pressure was on! Qualifying went ok I went out pretty quick and despite feeling massively average I did a 3 21 to qualify quickest going up against Dan Mclay in the final who qualified in a 3 22. After just an hour and a half’s rest it was straight back up to the final, and I went to the start line pretty determined not to get another near miss! I went out a little steadier and at half way felt comfortable, so I upped the pace and got Dan in sight holding him there to the line doing a 22 with Dan finishing in a 24. So I was more than happy to get the win under quite a bit of pressure.
Sam Harrison Track Nationals Junior Tour of Wales
Points Race
"Final race of the week for me was the points, 60 lap qualifying then a 120 lap final, it was going to be carnage! Qualifying went fine. So onto the final and the game plan was to get on the score board early which I carried out winning the first sprint and having a total of 12 points after 4 sprints. However it then all started to kick off and not being able to control the race 5 people took laps leaving me chasing the race. Halfway through and after a hard sprint I gave it everything with fellow Welshman Owain Doul and we managed to gain a lap leaving me leading with 38 points with just 50 laps to go with Dan Mclay a close 2nd on 32. Thinking it was going to come down to a battle between me and Dan we had an epic battle for the next sprint in which I took 2 points, however after swinging up pretty nailed 4 Riders slipped underneath and despite all my effort to try and bring them back they took a second lap leaving me chasing the race again by 10 points! It seemed like I could do nothing to keep myself in the race! One last all out effort with 20 to go to gain a lap came to nothing as the pace in the bunch was furious so I finished up on 40 points in 6th and a little disappointed after the effort I had put into the race but that’s how it goes. And it was a great win for fellow Welshman Owain Doull!
Sam Harrison Track Nationals Junior Tour of Wales
Junior Tour of Wales
"Just one day of rest and then it was straight into the toughest junior race in Britain, the Junior Tour of Wales. After finishing 2nd last year I was focused and ready to try and go one better this time around. First up was the 8km Time Trial which finishes on a 15% climb! Choosing to ride on my Nano light rather than my Time Trial Specific Stealth I emptied the tank pretty easily on the savage course winning by 4 seconds from Josh Edmondson. So it was a good start and a yellow jersey to wear for the next stage. With just 3 hours rest before the next stage the legs were pretty sore and a big break got away early on including some pretty dangerous riders. Hoping the gap would keep to a minimum I sat in the bunch waiting for the final 6km climb of Llangynydr. With the bunch sitting up throught the lanes 5k from the climb I attacked and got to the bottom with a 10 second lead over the bunch but over 2 mins behind the break. Settling into a rhythm up the climb (more like wobbling my way up it) I finished 39 seconds down on the winner and that left me in 4th overall going into the second day, so far from a disaster.
Sam Harrison Track Nationals Junior Tour of Wales
"The next day we were in for another tough day with another 2 savage stages to face. In the morning it was 45 minutes around Brynbach Park circuit which is basically a climb then a decent done 12 times. After feeling pretty good the first day at the start I felt terrible, and to make things worse the yellow jersey attacked from the gun. Knowing I had to get across I gave it everything on the climb next time around and hit 45k an hour going up the climb to get across! To say this effort killed me would be a massive understatement as I spent the rest of the race clinging onto the wheels in the break somehow getting 3rd in the sprint to pick up a time bonus and gain some time in the overall. But once again there was no time for rest as we faced another road stage in the afternoon finishing on a 4k climb, and with open roads and the wind howling it wasn’t going to be easy! Feeling awful again at the start I missed the move of 20 that got away and had to ride across in the wind on my own, however when I got there I saw the effort was taking its tole on almost everyone especially the yellow jersey holder Josh Edmondson. Seeing this as a rare opportunity to get rid of him I attacked in the cross wind bit to get across to another group and Josh didn’t manage to get on. So we rode 100% to make sure he cracked, but in doing so I also cracked! Coming up the last climb the lights went off and I had nothing left as I crawled up and finished 7th on the stage, but the good news came 4 minutes and 6 minutes later as Simon Yates and Josh Edmondson (the big threats) had blown even worse than me and crawled across the line. So with just one stage to go I found myself in exactly the same situation as last year, I was 2nd overall and needed to attack on the dreaded tumble!
Sam Harrison Track Nationals Junior Tour of Wales
"Once again it had all come down to the final day. The plan was to get to the final 6k climb as fresh as possible so I could tryo to gain the 1 min 24 I need to win the race. I managed to control myself all through the race despite a group of 18 getting away and as we approached the bottom of the tumble I was feeling pretty good and ready to pounce (well at least try). On the steeper slopes at the bottom I sprinted through the hairpin as though it was the finish and managed to gap everyone. I think it must have been one of the most painful things ever as each time I felt myself dying I would get out of the saddle and give it a little bit more. I finished with absolutely nothing left and it was down to the clock. Seeing Dan approaching the clock was on the minute mark and he crossed the line 1 min 8 secs later than me so I hadn’t done enough by just 16 seconds! Gutted was the word, however as things sunk in I couldn’t complain as I had given it my all but just didn’t quite have enough. So fair play to Dan!! Not bad climbing for a fat boy ;)"

6 September 2010

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