Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Testarosa Velodrome Challenge

The Testarosa Velodrome Challenge (formerly the American Velodrome Challenges) is one of the highlights of my season. It is one of the biggest track races in the country and draws on talent from across the country and even across the world.

Being a woman track racer, we don't get many opportunities to race in large competitive fields with other women, apart from nationals and a couple of other large track races in the Northwest over the summer. Add that to the fact that this one is at my home track -- and that it was one of my first races ever (where I got to match sprint Jennie Reed 3 years ago!)-- I was hoping to do well.

My first race was the keirin. The sprinters especially came out ready to play: Dana Feiss, Jen Featheringill, Tela Crane...not to mention the 2009 Australia Scratch Race champion, Laura Mchaughey, US Scratch race champion Shelley Evans and a number of other enduros who can sprint faster than the sprinters. My first heat, I was racing with Jen Tripplett and Shelby Reynolds. And what is there to say other than I got 3rd, and top two advance. That was a bit of a bummer, but the good thing about keirin racing, is you can race your way back into the final through the "repecharge". The girls in my rep heat were overly aggressive in the moto windup-- swinging out of the sprinters lane and bumping. The dudes got DQed for this, but not the chicks. I just made my way to the back, because it wasn't worth sitting in the wind for that. This meant I was just going to have to leave them in the dust. When the moto pulled off, I made a big run over the top, got a huge gap and soloed in for the next 1.5 laps. So, I was back in the finals. It was Featheringill, Feiss, Mchaughey, Evans, Tripplett, Reynolds, Crane, and me. I drew the pole, which mean I would be obligated to the moto, but my teammate Brian gave me a sissy throw ;) - so I ended up way back. This wasn't good for me, as I have difficulty knowing how to ride from the back in the keirins, but I made my move to early, and then got stuck wide in the wind and couldn't come over, so ended in 7th.

Next race was the points race. I ended up 5th in this race. Okay placing, but I was a bit bummed with how the race played out. It was 40 laps, with sprints only every 10 laps. Such few sprints really changes the race. Hanan from PB&Co got off the front and the pack was hard to motivate chasing it down. I went really hard for the 2nd sprint, and that is right when Jen Reither from VK bridged up. They ended up lapping. In the last sprint, I got to sprint side by side with Shelley Evans to get 2nd in the final sprint. That was pretty cool! Had I won that last sprint, I would have gotten 3rd overall, but you can't be upset getting 2nd to one of the fastest women in the world. Anyway, as I said, the race wasn't really as fast as I would have liked, so, I came back for day 2 really ready to tear it apart.

Saturday was the Miss n Out and Scratch race. The Miss 'n Out is my favorite race. I think it has it all... it requires good fitness, positioning, saavyness, sprinting ability, and plus it is exciting for the crowd. And when you are a whore for racing in front of crowds, it makes it all the best. There were a lot of girls in the race, so I wanted to make sure to stay out of trouble so I didn't get out. I set pace at the front for most of the race. This is hard, because it really tires you out, but better that than getting accidently eliminated. I was pretty confident in my fitness, so I stayed up at the front. When we got down to just a handful of riders Tripplett started drilling it in the pole lane, and we were lined up single file behind her. This was great for me, because I could draft, and I knew no one was going to be able to come over 3 people. The last three were me, Mchaughey, and Tripplett. Coming into bell lap, I attacked. Hey, team name is "Bell Lap!" Laura ended up coming around me, but I got 2nd!! That was super exciting! Also what is funny is the Women's Beginner Track clinic I put on funded the prize money for the race-- and then I got 2nd. So thanks to everyone who came out to the clinic!

Last race was the scratch race. I was in much better spirits after the miss n out. My goal for the scratch race was to make it as fast as possible to drop lots of people. This was accomplished. Attacks and counterattacks went off left and right. I can't remember many specifics, but that was probably because I was going apeshit in the race. I felt great and could recover so fast and just keep attacking. I had the fitness to be in every single move off the front and also had the positioning and pack awareness to see all the attacks as they were going. This was a really exciting for me. There was only one move I missed-- and that was because we were lapping some riders as an attack was going off, and then I had to bridge up. Anyway, with 4 to go Ruth Winder attacks off the front, and I go with her. It was a great move, but unfortunately Mary Ellen Ash started chasing up immediately.... right with Laura Mchaughey on her wheel. It was a bit of a bummer, but Ruth and I exchanged pulls, but I knew we'd be caught and we were at 1.5-2 to go. I stayed near the front and led out out the sprint again at bell lap. Wasn't probably the best idea because this time both Laura and Jen came over me, but I held on easily for 3rd place.

Well, that was my long TVC report. Overall, I was really happy with my racing (especially day 2!). It was a real breakthrough race for me. I knew I had made a huge step this year with all my improved fitness from road racing, but at this race I got to see that play out racing against some of the best track riders in the country. I am excited to get some more speed and power work in this summer and ready to contest some more track races come summer and for nationals.

Thanks for reading!


Lodi Crit Masters 123

By Dr. Tom
Being my hometown race I was looking forward to this one and kinda wanted to do something here. Of course once I got up to the line I wasn't so sure again. The course was kinda cool, 3/4th a block to a left hander, then around the block to the right, then a left, 1 block right 2 blocks right 1 block right 2 blocks. kinda like hanford except shorter. good money 1000 bucks 20 deep ( the p1,2 had 3000 - rob evans was 2nd and got 500 bucks).

luckily for bay area folks it wasn't too hot or windy by lodi standards. I started at the back so I could start off not too hard. The pace was quick from the gun but I didn't think it was too bad. What I did notice was that it was sorta hard to move up except for the one 2 block stretch on the backside. After about 15 minutes there was a lull from the attacks so I went and got clear. Peter Allen and some dude named Max from whole foods came with and having Peter there I felt pretty good. Alas Peter didn't want to do anything so for the next couple of laps Max and I worked and I tried to coerce Peter into working. We then got caught by a few others including Doug Hall and a Morgan Stanley, but that was it and we came back to the field.

A bit later a Safeway and Morgan Stanley guy got away and that was pretty much the race. There were a couple of guys here and there that would try to pull but those two guys stayed about 15 sec in front. At about 25 minutes I figured I could try to get across and I would just jump into the first turn and use that around the block section to get away. I jumped just before the start finish right as they rang the bell for a field prime - bad luck. Well I had a gap into the first turn and figured that maybe the field would figure I was going to get the prime and just let me go. But that wasn't the case and those guys kept chasing so I kept the power on for the rest of the lap and got the prime. I kept going but started getting caught by a few guys at a time. Towards the end of the 50 min race a Lombardy guy bridged and then Doug Hall. That was a little annoying.

I was sorta thinking about bagging it but then remembered they were paying 4 deep. So on the bell lap I started moving up from mid to back pack. A few spots on the inside of turn one, a couple more on the outside of 2 and 3. Another couple through 5. A good push on the backstretch got me to 7th before the last two turns, held position. Backed off through the last turn to avoid any overexuberance and subsequent crashes, then realized I needed to sprint, but I didn't catch anyone but one guy passed me. So, 12th over all I felt pretty good about the race but I am starting to realize I can prob do a bit better if I would just commit a little to the finishes. Oh well. I think next year we should try to field a team for this race as the cash is good, pays deep and a good team can definitely control the race with all the turns.

Monday, July 12, 2010

San Rafael Crit

By: Bill Disco Rider

So we had a small but lively crew for the old-man race on sat; Mark, Tom and myself. I did an early sat ride to get dialed as the race was at 4pm, and during my morning ride I felt a bit flat (which is a good sign for later). warmed up briefly with Tom and enjoyed his trackie style jumps on the road bike (can spot a track rider on a road bike a mile away - just looks like they are trying to make a normal gear roll like a fixie, its funny). so the race starts and maybe 5 laps into the short 40min crit there is a small group OTF with Innes and a few safeways etc maybe 10secs up the road. as we roll by S/F line they ring it for a prime, so I rather easily bridge up to the group on back stretch and wax them super easy for the prime and notice I'm nose breathing in the 12 and with a good break so thinking I can finally win this thing being the hometwon race and all. then lady luck decides to crap on my head; very next corner a safeway in the break rolls a tire (not enough glue!) - he doesnt crash and roll - he rolls and crashes! - I'm right on the wheel so bunny hop his head but his bike goes into my leg and I lock it up and go into the barriers and end with a slomo endo but don't hit pavement myself. anyway my bars are twisted a bit, but my front brake is tweaked over and I ride over to pit for a rejoin next lap.

when I get on I notice its rubbing pretty good as the front is wobbly and spend the rest of the race trying to move it over on the fly running campy where there is no quick-release but a dial and I can't turn the thing while riding too well. anyway I'm so pissed I felt like dropping out but don't cause so many people come to watch this one. last few laps it gets strung out and fast and Tom really sets me up nicely on the last lap, I mean perfect. I roll in for 6th or 7th with a messed up bike.
just goes to show even if you are flying it always takes a little luck as well. have to say if all was normal it was very likely I would have won the way I felt, and if it did end up a field sprint Tom's effort and positioning was sweet, its just too bad luck went south with the mishap...thats racing.
after party was sweet as well, and I hit the rack at 2:30am just to make sure my legs hurt more from sierra nevada intake than the race.