The medals added up at the Para-cycling Track World Championships for Tristen Chernove.
The Cranbrook cyclist came away from the Apeldoorn, Netherlands event with bronze, silver and gold medals.
“It was terrific,” Chernove said.
Chernove closed off the championships with a gold medal in the men’s C2 category winning the Scratch Race.
“The Scratch Race was the one and the only event I didn’t have a world championship title in yet,” said Chernove.
“That was the objective, and it was really hard. It was amazing to see how the level has come up year-over-year since the Rio Paralympics. It’s incredible the speeds that are going to be set at the next games compared to Rio. In one of my three days of racing, we broke word records seven times by the end of the day … the level is very high right now so to still find ways to be competitive, while the level keeps coming up gives me some good confidence this old body will pull through for the Tokyo games.”
With the Scratch Race being the only event he had not won in the past, Chernove said it felt terrific to get it.
“I think I might be the first cyclist ever in history to have a world championship title in all the events of discipline, so that feels really good,” he said.
Chernove says the intensity involved in the Scratch Race was a highlight for him.
“From the moment the race starts it’s intense,” he said.
“The race is fast, exciting and requires full attention all the time. You have over 20 racers on the track with you at the same time, and literally bumping and elbow to elbow. Everyone is racing as hard as they can, and it’s very strategic. Every moment you can save, just the tiniest bit of energy is going to help you with the sprint at the end.”
The track event had a new format and was run as an Omnium, which is a compilation of points over the events, and Chernove topped the standings in it. The Omnium was a test event for the possible inclusion at the 2024 Paralympics.
While the goal is to get on the podium, Chernove says it’s not all highs when you get there.
“It always feels wonderful at the time to be on the podium and see the Canadian flag raised and the anthem. It’s always emotional, but it also comes with a big cost. There is always the high and then the tremendous low after,” he explained.
Chernove also won silver in the Individual Pursuit and a bronze medal in the 1,000 metre time trial at the track event.
Being as accomplished as he was at the World Track Championships, Chernove was given the opportunity to talk about Cranbrook to the media there.
“I’m really proud to have the support of this community, which has been incredible, behind me and super supportive. So, to get to talk about what we have here for cycling is terrific. It’s not known internationally, but I think we live in one of the best places for cycling there is,” he said.
This was the first time Chernove had the opportunity to race in the Netherlands, and the experience was just as he expected.
“There is nowhere better to race,” he said. “Cycling is so big there — it’s like religion for them — It was wonderful to be in a country racing bikes where cycling is the most important sport, and it’s even more than a sport I would say … it’s the best place to race bikes.”
There is no time off for Chernove. He is going to quickly transition into preparing for the road races.
“It’s very different for track than road, and very different demands on the body. So, it’s really hard to be in optimal condition for both at the same time. I very quickly now have to switch to get my body in gear for road efforts,” he said.
He will head to his first Para-cycling Road World Cup of the year held on May 9-12 in Italy, and then back at it at the Para-cycling Road World Cup in Belgium from May 16-19.