Two cycling stars have overcome major health issues to return to their home-town velodrome.
Zack Gilmore has fought off a cancer diagnosis and fellow TIS rider Lauren Perry sat out 18 months with chronic fatigue.
Their hard luck continued at this month’s national madison and omnium championships, with Perry sent home with the flu and Gilmore sent flying in a sickening crash that claimed most of the men’s Austral wheel field.
But the former Riverside High students will line up at the Launceston Carnival on Thursday.
Gilmore, who also came off the bike a week earlier at the Melbourne six-day championships, said he was feeling no worse for wear and would be ripe to perform at the Silverdome.
“It’s not really (scary), I’ve had a fair few crashes now so I’m getting used to them,” the 18-year-old said.
“I think we all go into a bit of a slow-motion state and you know you’re going to crash and you kind of just brace yourself.
“I’ve pulled up ok and I’m just rolling it out now, making sure that I’m ready.”
The championships were Gilmore’s first senior nationals and continued his career trajectory towards the heights of his father Matt and grandfather Graeme – both elite cyclists with successful European careers.
“It was amazing to have my first elite nationals.
“It’s next-level sort of racing – a real shock to the system, but I’m so glad I’ve got it under my belt now so I know what to work for.
“I know exactly what I need to be doing to keep up with the riders that are coming down (for carnivals) so it’ll be another step forward for me.”
Former multiple junior track world champion Perry has also endured an up-and-down lead-up to the carnival series but says she is “on top of” the sickness that kept her from challenging national madison champion and fellow Tasmanian Macey Stewart in Melbourne.
The former Devonport Wheel winner will be competing in her 11th Launceston Carnival and is confident she has the arsenal to challenge in a strong women’s field.
“My form isn’t the best it’s been, I would like to be better but I’m definitely willing to have a good go with what I’ve got,” she said.
“I know that I’ve got some leg speed, I think it’ll just be a matter of whether I have the endurance to get to the finish.
“I’ve been the bridesmaid a few times in the Launceston Wheel and I’ve had a third place there as well so it’d be really nice to come home with a win.
“I think it’d be a pretty special feeling to stand on top of the podium with the sash at the Launceston Carnival … it would mean a lot.”