PORT Macquarie cyclist Sam Cox continued a remarkable season on the track last weekend, catapulting himself to a state madison title in Sydney.
Cox teamed up with Taree rider Chris Brian at the Dunc Gray Velodrome in the hair-raising madison discipline, which involves more than 60 laps of tough riding, with a sprint lap every 10 to really get the speed going. Two-man teams compete.
Contact and crashes are a common feature of races, making for a physically and mentally challenging event.
The changeover is is one of the most challenging, and dangerous, parts of the race.
“You were watching out for other riders, lining up your partner to exchange, trying to maintain speed, grabbing your partner’s arm and then either propelling or being propelled forward,” Cox said. “There is plenty of contact during a race. There is wheel touching, shoulders touching and the need to get out of the road of slower riders and there are also several crashes which need to be avoided.”
Those challenges made the win all the more satisfying.
“I was ecstatic,” Cox said. “The madison is my best track result this year.”
It’s been a tremendous year for Cox, in just his first full season on the track. It follows a third place overall at the NSW Country Track Championships Coffs Harbour.
“Earlier in the year in the road season I won two gold medals and two bronze medals at the Aust-ralian All School Championships in Shepparton, Victoria,” he said.
He had 10 days’ racing on the road and tracks of New Zealand, and upon his return, Cox took part in the National Track Series, where he rides for the North Coast team.
“So far we have competed in Sydney and Perth, with Launceston, Melbourne and Adelaide to go,” he said.
Cox said the track made for a nice change to the road.
“I am really enjoying the track discipline,” he said. “There are all different types of races, and they are all enjoyable, but I do like the kierin, where you are led out by a motorbike before ending up in a sprint finish.
“In track racing you have to be so switched on. It is full of tactics and positioning and a split second could mean the difference between coming first and last.”
Cox has been riding seriously and competing for the past four years. He trains four to five days a week. While professional aspirations are on the cards, Cox has other priorities at the moment.
“I would love to ride professionally but at this stage my education is coming first,” he said.