30 Days to Becoming a Track Cyclist

Name: Kara Turner

Occupation: Well integrity technical assistant

Website: www.pacc.org.au/

How we met: I have known Kara for more than half my life. Affectionately known as KT, Kazzle and Wiki-Turner (because she has a great long-term memory and can always answer random points of trivia that I have no idea about), Kara and I met in Grade 9 at high school. She didn’t think I was very cool (I’m still not 🙂 ) and sat next to me in mathematics class one day, I think probably to tease me for being such a nerd. Turned out we had a fair bit in common and bonded over our childhood crushes on footballers and the grunge band Silverchair. Eighteen years on she is still one of my favourite people in the world.

Meet Kara, cycling extraordinaire:

Not six months after making one of the most major purchases of my life – my first road bike – I found myself looking longingly at another – a track bike. No brakes, one gear, and lightweight. How did I get myself into this?

After joining the exciting world of road cycling, I quickly made a lot of new cycling friends. Bunch rides and coffee shops had become my new hangouts. “Why don’t you try track?” one of the girls asked me one day.

So off I went to a ladies track session organised by Cycling SA Women’s Commission. Set up to introduce women of all ages to the track, a couple of hours on a Saturday is reserved at the Adelaide Superdrome just for us. They have coaches, bikes for hire, and lots of help and support from fellow trackies.

During my first try, I was hooked on the speed and I wasn’t even going that fast. Round and round on the duckboard I went (the pale blue line right at the very bottom of the track), getting more confident as each lap passed.

“Now go above the blue line” said the coach.

“Up there?!” I thought.

I knew I had to get some speed up, otherwise on the 43 degree banking, gravity would take over. So up I went. What a buzz! As I came back down my hands were shaking.

From then on Saturday afternoons at the velodrome became my new hangout.

The loan bikes were ok. But lots of the other girls were getting their own, and they were shiny, carbon fibre, with colour coordinated bar tape and nice wheels.

After a quick look around the Adelaide bike shops (yes, most of them) I needed a trip to Melbourne to source a bike. So Fitzroy Cycles sorted me with a sweet black and yellow Avanti Pista Pro.

Now I had my own bike the competition was endless. My cycling club, Port Adelaide, ran a winter series of racing on a Wednesday night at the Superdrome. We even had enough girls for our own women’s grade. I didn’t come last in every race and by going to every round (and some stroke of luck) I came third in the series!

Kara’s 3rd place trophy 🙂

The next competition to come up in October 2011 was the Australian Master Games. Most of the women from Saturday track were entering, so why not me? I had some competition practice up my sleeve, so I jumped at the chance to improve.

I came up against a very fit lady from WA and got beaten comprehensively. But I had fun, won some Master Games medals for my placings and spent a long weekend hanging at the track. This was the time I truly felt like I had become a track cyclist.




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