Yorkshire’s Abi Smith is determined to learn from the physical skill and mental toughness of Great Britain’s top riders, as she continues to build her own reputation as one of the country’s most promising youngsters.
Smith will tackle the endurance events at January’s HSBC UK | National Track Championships, and despite retaining a preference for road racing, says that being ‘thrown in at the deep end’ against Britain’s elite will stand her in good stead.
Ahead of the championships, she says:
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“Track nationals is so important in terms of gaining more experience. It simulates some of the highest level of racing there is, which is so invaluable as the best in the world are in the bunch.
“There is an infinite amount to learn from these experienced, world-level riders, from their micro-movements within the bunch to their mental attitude and preparation around events and training. I am in awe of their achievements, knowing what it takes to get to that level. Fingers crossed, I will one day!”
For 17-year-old Smith, selection as part the Great Britain team for the junior women’s road race at Yorkshire 2019 was a big step on that ladder to the top of the sport. Having assessed that race from a personal point of view, the Ripon rider has set herself goals on both track and road for 2020.
“At Yorkshire, having a domestique role highlighted to me what I need to improve on in a supporting role, but also where I might have my own strengths as a future team leader.
“I have some pretty big personal goals on the road for the next year – to have a crack at a podium in both British and international road races, and hopefully to be selected to go to the road world championships again.
“There is no doubt that I currently prefer riding on the road and getting out into the Yorkshire countryside, but I’m working hard on the track, and it is growing on me! I make sure that there’s a mix of sessions and races throughout the calendar to try to do my best in both disciplines and keep my options open.
“On the track, I’d love to make the squad to go to junior track world or European championships, as well as trying to retain my junior national points race champion jersey. At nationals, I’d love to meet the qualifying time for the individual pursuit, and aim for a top 10 in the bunch races.”
The HSBC UK | National Track Championships take place over the weekend of January 24-26. Tickets are available here.