Kelly Cycling Coaching chatted with Harry Bade, who finished 2nd in the State Omnium Titles on the weekend. Read on to find out all the details of how his epic 9hr day unfolded.
Congratulations Harry on your 2nd place in the U19 State Omnium Titles on the weekend. Is this the first time, you’ve ever competed in an omnium?
I actually competed in an Omnium for the first time last year as a first time U19, so I had an idea what was coming. But I was at a completely different level then and this was the first time I’d ever really been in contention.
So what was the first event you did and how did you go? Was this a good time for you?
First up we rode the 1km TT, considered one of the hardest events in an Omnium. I had a technical issue in that I cracked my handlebars in the start, but luckily I was able to recover and place second by just 0.2 of a second. My time of 1min10sec was a bit down on my PB of 1min08sec, but the main thing was that I was able to retain 2nd place.
What was the next event? Did you maintain your overall position after this 2nd event?
From here we moved onto the Flying 200m- not being a srinter I think the last time I rode one of these events was in the Omnium last year! With a bit of last minute technical advice I managed to pull out an 11.7, a PB for me, which was fantastic in that it again placed me second so the top of the placings remained unchanged.
Which competitor did you most worry about during the omnium?
Brent Nelson, a teammate of mine from the National titles earlier this year [ed: where the boys won the U19 Team Pursuit national championships] was certainly my biggest worry going into the event. He was in amazing form and managed to win every event by significant margins, showing he was in a different league to the rest of us on the day. After he was clearly going to take the [overall] win, I made sure I would hold my 2nd position over 3rd place Mark Sylvester, which I was able to do.
Did you implement any strategies to specifically mark any riders during the points and scratch races?
Due to the shortness of the Scratch race (20 laps) I knew it was unlikely any rider would manage a breakaway, which proved to be true, but I made sure to be on Brent’s wheel whenever possible so I could follow him if he did. In the points I raced much more aggressively and spent more of the race attacking than following, but again by staying near both Brent and Mark I was able to make sure that if they did break, I would be with them.
Which event did you find the hardest and why?
I definately found the points race the hardest- by the end of 9 hours of racing my body was starting to cave in and after attacking from the gun and staying away for 10 laps I was at the end of my energy reserves. I just had to keep in mind that everyone would be feeling the same; luckily this was true and I again placed 2nd.
What is your favourite event out of the 5 events?
After an entire summer of such dedicated training I could say the [individual] Pursuit- although shorter than our full distance it really is my sort of event, and it was really pleasing to record a time (2.21) around the same as the split time from my 3km pursuit from Nationals, even after 3 events.
How long did you warm up and cool down for each event? Do you use rollers or a wind trainer? How did your legs feel after 3 or 4 events?
For the first event I made sure I was fully warmed because of the need to go from the gun- so around 30-40 mins of intensive efforts and spinning. After this event the cool down became more important than the warm up as our bodies were already so ready and I tried to avoid using any energy that wasn’t completely necessary. I always bring my road bike to use on the rollers to track events as I find it gives me the ability to both do efforts and spin out the legs with a very low resistance.
For the technically minded athletes, what gear did you use for the 1km time trial and the 2km Individual Pursuit? Were you happy with your gear selection?
I use a 96.4 inch gear in both the [individual 2km] pursuit and the [1km] time trial, which is the same as what I use in a one off event. I put a lot of time into selecting this gear earlier in the season and was very happy with it. For the mass start races I put my gear back to 94.5 so I had the power to sprint and work at max while still being able to sprint, and again this gear was just right.
Since the Omnium is now an Olympic event, is this an event you think you’d like to pursue?
With the removal of both the Madison and the Individual Pursuit [from the Olympic program], if I ever was to reach a near Olympic level then yes, this would be the event I would focus on. But especially with the extension from next year onwards it will really become an ultra-endurance event by track standards, and I believe I would be more suited to the [Individual] Pursuit, which I will be able to focus on at any level lower than this.
Many readers may not know this, but the format of the omnium is soon changing. The distances for the current 5 events will be significantly extended and they’ve also added a 6th event, the elimination race. Did you think this will make the omnium even tougher?
Although tough this year, in comparison to next year, [I think] our Omnium will have been a walk in the park. The extension of the pursuit from 2km to its full distance of 4km makes a huge difference in energy expenditure, and the 40km (160 lap) points race will destroy most of the riders. Throw in an elimination [where each lap the last rider to cross the finish line is eliminated] and you’ve got an event with longer total distance than some senior road races- all at maximal intensity. The omnium next year will be ridiculous.
So what’s next for you, Harry? Since the track season is now over until summer, what events are you focusing on during the winter?
As I am completing year 12 this year, I aim to spend most of my effort on this front, however allowing for this, I do intend to train for the state road TT championships in the first half of the year, then focus on my build up to next years track season. Back to early mornings at DISC! How I’ve missed them.