THERE’S no rest when you’re a national champion, not that you’ll hear any complaints from Mitch Bullen.
He’s living his dream.
Armidale’s newly-crowned national sprint champion has been named in the Australian squad to compete in the UCI Track World Championships in Minsk, Belarus at the end of the month.
The 21-year old’s Cyclones selection follows an outstanding performance at the weekend’s Australian Track Championships, which he returned from with two golds.
“It’s great to be selected in the team. It’s something we’ve been working towards for a while,” Bullen said.
It’s been a huge few weeks for him.
Last month he was part of the Australian team selected to compete in the third round of the Track World Cup in Mexico.
It was his first time riding for Australia, and a good sign that he was in national selectors minds.
Even still, and despite a “decent result and backing it up at nationals”, Bullen said he was a bit hesitant about making the team for worlds.
He’s part of the sprint group and will ride second wheel for the sprint team and contest the individual sprint.
Both of those he rode in Mexico along with the keirin.
“It was fantastic. Everything was wonderful,” Bullen said.
It was a huge learning curve.
“It’s a different style of racing at international level,” he said.
There’s so many factors that come into it like crowds and time zones, but he knows what to expect now.
“That was probably the biggest thing I got out of Mexico – the experience of international racing,” he said.
“It was a great little trip.”
Minsk was the one he really wanted.
The best track cyclists in the world will be there. Many of them Bullen has “looked up to and idolised”, and may well find himself up against.
“It will be a great experience,” he said.
After a quick visit back to Armidale yesterday he’s off to Adelaide today for training with his Australian team-mates.
The team then flies out next
Bullen, Scott Sunderland, Andrew Taylor and Matthew Glaetzer will form the sprint group.
Glaetzer was who Bullen beat to win the sprint title.
It was his first individual title and a special moment, especially doing it in front of his family and particularly dad Mark.
“He’s been the backbone of my riding career,” Bullen said.
The individual title followed gold in the team sprint and in record-breaking time.
Bullen also finished fifth in the keirin, which he was pretty happy about.
“The program was intense,” he said.
Unlike other years where they’ve had a day off it was back to back racing.
“To make the final six with some full legs in there was good,” he said.