On Monday last week I headed off for my first race since December and post surgery on my shoulder in Gifu, Japan. The first race back is always a good chance to test yourself and see how my shoulder has recovered and also what my form is like. It also allowed me to fly the flag for Onitsuka Tiger as my jersey sponsor in Japan. 1st day qualification for the semi final saw me make a late charge through the last bend to pip the riders on the line to take 1st place and into the semi final the next day.
Day 2 was going to be a more difficult task with some more accomplished riders through to the semi finals. I had to change my tactics up a little during the race and went to the front very early on. Coming into the bell lap or 400m to go 2 riders passed and I followed behind but a gap opened slightly too much for me to run them down and came in 3rd place gaining my place into the last days Final.
The final days racing is a busy one as once the final race is done within about 30 mins you have to pack everything up, take a shower, get your suit on and start the journey back to your origin. The final I went in wanting to make a late charge in the final bend like on my first days racing but I was caught too far to the back and the front riders had the pace really going. So as I made my run it was too late to run down the front runners, I came across the line in 8th.
Overall I was happy with my first race back in competition and to make the final was great although the 8th place finish wasn’t what I wanted. I’ll be getting in some solid training this next week or so before heading to Seibuen 7/8/9 May for another Keirin session which will see some Japanese international riders competing with us.