The weekend of the 18th and 19th November saw the BUCS Track Cycling Championships take place at the National Cycling Centre in Manchester. This prestigious event attracts the strongest cyclists from all BUCS Universities.
Keele attended the Championships with Nursing student Paige Nutton who competed in the Women's 500,. Individual Pursuit 3k, Points and Sprint events. Paige came 12th in the points race and individual pursuit and 5th in the 500m time trial event. However the Sprint event is where Paige really showed what she was made of, coming 3rd and bringing home the bronze medal!
Paige has been track cycling for 4 and a half years but has only been competing in sprinting for 3 years. A track bike, as she explains, has a fixed wheel, which means that there is only one gear on the bike; there are no breaks on it and you cannot stop pedalling suddenly, you have to slow your pedalling down to stop.
Read below an overview of the competition below in Paige's own words:
'On the Saturday morning of the BUCS racing, I had to be there early as my 200m qualifying was the first race of the weekend. After qualifying in third place, it gave me an idea of how fit and fast everyone was going, but this doesn’t mean I could assume that I would beat them because the sprint involves a lot of tactics. The top 8 fastest riders qualified to the next round. This meant that we would start the two up sprints. I was up against the 5th place qualifying. This was the first match sprint of the weekend and as we watched each other on the track, my opponent started to sprint, I remained calm and accelerated at her. With half a lap to go, I sprinted past and took the win. This meant I qualified to the semi finals.
The semi finals happened on the Sunday. My legs were starting to feel tired as I had completed four races that Saturday. But I knew I still had a chance of winning a medal. I had to remain calm and focused, listening to my music. When the semi finals came, I knew the girl who I was up against as she was a team member of mine, racing for Swinnerton Cycles. I tried to stay relaxed as I knew on paper she was faster, but she wasn’t good with her tactics. I pinned her to the fence so she couldn’t go anywhere, as I kept the pace I, I tried to accelerate as fast as I could, but Lauren had a quicker jump than me and with three quarter laps to go, she tried to over take. I tried my hardest to keep her on my hip but she was very strong that day and won. I couldn’t let this play on my mind for long; I had to focus, ready for the final as I was up against a girl I knew very well from Loughborough University, called Emily. I had raced against Emily many times and we had been very close each time we’ve raced. So I knew I had a chance of beating her but she had been racing much longer than I had and had very good tactics. Although I was faster on paper, I knew she could still win with her tactics. The other races, I would never talk to my opponent because I was concentrating but I knew Emily would talk to me as a mind game. Therefore I was ‘in the zone’ prior to going up to the track and when I sat next to her, she started talking. I answered so she knew she wasn’t getting in my head. As we went around the track, I pulled 1 which meant I was leading out the race. This means I’m in control, I set the pace but that didn’t last long as Emily overtook me because she wanted to control the race. She pinned me up against the fence thinking it would make me panic. I remained calm as she was doing exactly as I thought she would. With half a lap to go she accelerated down the banking; I stayed high to use the banking for extra speed. I remained calm as a gap had developed and aimed at her. I was getting closer and closer and went straight passed her and won the race. This meant I had won the bronze medal. I came off the track so happy, it had meant so much. The year before I had a problem with my bike which made me lose the race, I was gutted so I really wanted to prove what I had.
My family have supported me through everything and my dad has always tried to help make me faster and stronger, thinking of new ways I can try to train to get stronger. My coach and the men at his shop, Swinnertons Cycles were all amazing leading up to BUCS and made any changes I needed on my bike.
There is a local outdoor velodrome which is open in summer time which is located at Newcastle-under-Lyme football club. I would definitely recommend going because everyone is so lovely, there are bikes you can hire and it is so much fun. There is also an indoor velodrome located in Derby, everyone is very helpful and it’s a lovely track to ride on. Track cycling is so much fun, there are endurance rides and sprint rides so it suits anyone who enjoys cycling or who is thinking of starting cycling.'
A huge congratulations from everyone at Team Keele and Sport Keele goes to Paige for her incredible achievement and determination to succeed! CONGRATULATIONS PAIGE! You've done Keele proud!