IT'S been many months since Golden Square's Sam Crome has raced around the cycling track at Bendigo's Tom Flood Sports Centre.
Crome will do so at Saturday night's Bendigo leg of the Christmas carnival series, which started yesterday at Horsham.
Feature event on his home track is the Lindsay Harrington Memorial Wheelrace.
A year ago Crome raced to second place as Mandurang's George Tansley, now based in Adelaide, won the 2000m classic.
The Bendigo cyclist is not setting high expectations on Saturday's return.
"It's great that Bendigo has a carnival in the Christmas series, and the Lindsay Harrington Memorial Wheelrace is a much sought-after win."
This year began with Crome achieving seventh place in the under-23 road race at the national championships on the Buninyong circuit near Ballarat.
It's been a challenging run for Crome since then.
A broken left wrist after a fall at Blackburn in January meant a plate, nine screws and six weeks off the bike.
It was the most significant of a series of crashes throughout the year.
Despite the setbacks, Crome kept on fighting on.
By March he was back racking up many kilometres training on the road. Weekly tallies were between 700km and 800km.
Although he injured his elbow after a crash in the Tour of Gippsland, Crome was not off the bike for too long.
The 20-year-old was frustrated by the run of spills, but is firmly focused on the upcoming Bay criterium series, run from January 2 to 5, and the national road titles.
Crome is building up for a second season with Charter Mason Giant, an affiliate of the Drapac team, which includes Bendigo's Darren Lapthorne and Robbie Hucker.
After part-time work in 2013, Crome will start studying health science at La Trobe University Bendigo next year.
"The cycling program is not just about racing and training, but also working toward a career."
He has earned selection for a second Bendigo International Madison start on Sunday, March 9.
Saturday's carnival at the Tom Flood Sports Centre in Barnard Street starts with the juniors at 2pm. The senior program begins at 6pm.
The Lindsay Harrington Memorial Wheelrace is sponsored by the Harrington family and City of Greater Bendigo.
The women's wheelrace (2000m) is sponsored by Precision Formworking and Pro-Found Civil.