Palmer rides into London
CARIBBEAN CYCLING champion Dahlia Palmer is excited, as she puts the polish in her preparations for the London leg of her sport’s World Cup. Palmer, whose first taste of the World Cup was in October, says she has learnt from that experience. Despite the buzz she always gets when racing, as time draws nigh, she says it is important to keep calm.
Palmer leaves her training base in Trinidad and Tobago for London next Wednesday, as the London leg of the World Cup will be contested from December 14-16.
Asked if she was excited about the prospect of racing the world’s best again, she smiled, “Yes, I am, I’m always excited for racing. When it comes to racing, you have to always remain calm and focused,” added the Green Island graduate.
“You can’t be too hyper or overconfident going into the race, because you try to eliminate as much mistakes as possible.”
In October, Palmer had her first taste of World Cup racing in Milton, Canada, where she raced in the women’s keirin and advanced from
Heat 1 to the repechage round. Confronted with experienced highquality riders, she missed the finals.
In the keirin at the Milton leg of the World Cup, Palmer faced Lithuanian star Simona Krupeckaite, the 2009 500m time trial World Champion and world record holder, and 2010 Keirin World Champion, 2015 World keirin runnerup Shanne Braspennincx of Holland and second keirin 2015 World Track Championships and America’s Madalyn Godby, who won a bronze medal at the 2016 Pan American Track Cycling Championships in the team sprint.
Palmer’s World Cup venture has been made possible by a partnership between the Jamaica Olympic Association and the Jamaica Cycling Federation, and the Milton races have prompted an evolution of how she trains.
“The gym is just like being on the bike and then in-between, we’ll have the road rides, but there have been adjustments in the gym and on the track,” she said.
With targets that include qualifying for the 2019 World Championships and the 2020 Olympics, Palmer is in for the long ride. The Milton experience was helpful.
“It’s a learning process, and we learnt from a few mistakes and also weak spots, which we come together, go back to the drawing board and worked on, which is reaction-wise about racing, and so far, everything is falling in place.”
In Milton, her mere presence created ripples. “Nobody ever knew about this young lady from the small island of Jamaica but she’s there in the World Cup”, she recalled.
Palmer isn’t overawed by her competition. “I think I am capable of doing things just as much as what they’re doing just the same”, she determined.
In London, Palmer will be racing to do her very best.
“Getting a medal is always the ultimate goal, but at this point in time, my best performance, I will always put my best performance forward,” she said. “Racing in London is always to gain as much experience as possible, because every day is just a learning process, and at least to try to better my past performance which was in Milton, and keep striving for higher goals.”
The Jamaican has made progress since she returned to riding full-time after graduating from the University of Trinidad and Tobago, and in September, she distinguished herself at the Caribbean Championships in Mexico. She took the 250metre sprint in the new Jamaican national record time of 11.14 seconds and also won the B final in the Keirin pace event. In Mexico, she earned herself third place in the 500-metre sprint match race.