EMERGING young cyclists Alaya Humber and Shallan Pompe are learning to adapt their training to both train smarter and better focus on their well-being ahead of race season.
It has been a whirlwind year for both cyclists who have been vying to take their racing to the next level while helping give back to their sports at the grassroots. Shallan, a fierce BMX racer, and Alaya, a determined track rider, shared Eureka Cycling Club's inaugural scholarship created by the veteran racers to promote a young female in the sport.
For Shallan, preparation for her first national was a little bumpy with resurfacing works at Ballarat BMX track forcing her to change up training. A smoother, faster surface will help Shallan in her work to race more aggressively.
Injuries will delay the start to Shallan's season but she remains focused on being in strong form for a return to the Victorian BMX championships where she won her class last November.
"(Injury) happens in BMX. It is a part of racing. I finished my race each time (after crashing twice) and placed third overall. Later that night I was in hospital and it turns out I have a break in my knee. It was also my sixteenth birthday, so I won't forget it," Shallan said.
"For now, my coach wants me to concentrate on being healthy and eating correctly so that I am ready for my return to riding."
We race individually, but we are really like a team with everyone cheering you on and encouraging you. You don't feel like an individual because of the support.Shallan Pompe
Alaya is busy doing weights, riding with indoor training app Zwift and venturing outside when the weather is all right. Her goal the past year has been to get faster and stronger, which she did, and now Alaya wants to build on this.
The track cycling season starts in October with daylight savings but Alaya can hardly wait for Christmas.
"One of my highlights was being the first ever woman to win the Wangaratta Wheel Race in the 97 years of its existence at the Christmas carnivals," Alaya said. "Also, coming fourth in the Austral, which is the oldest track cycling event in the world and first raced in 1887. It was on a huge wooden velodrome set up especially in the (Melbourne Arena) with lots of spectators.
"I am hoping to go to Tasmania for this years Christmas carnivals."
Both encouraged girls to give cycling a go. They said Ballarat-Sebastopol Cycling Club has plenty of top coaching and support in all disciplines.
Alaya, who also races road and human powered vehicles, loved the track from the first time she tried it.
Shallan said more girls were starting to get into BMX racing.
"I got into BMX after seeing other girls competing. I met (five-time BMX world champion) Caroline Buchanan at a meet and was really inspired to get better at my sport," Shallan said.
"BMX clubs make it a family environment. We race individually, but we are really like a team with everyone cheering you on and encouraging you. You don't feel like an individual because of the support."
Applications for Eureka Cycling Club's junior female cyclist support grant are open until Friday, August 16. More details on the club website.
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