Cycling in a Toque

Cycling in a Toque: August 2010

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Le Fin

Disclaimer: All the photos I posted on the blog this week were taken by teammate Tim Sherstobittoff. Without Tim's expert eye, it would have made it very hard to share with all of you my experiences in Quebec. Thank you very much Tim!

It's all over. Canadian Track Nationals finished up on Saturday in Bromont and with it, my scheduled 2010 racing season. It was a great way to wrap up an unreal six months of racing, riding and learning. Here is how it all panned out:

The day started a little later than usual with the omnium 4km pursuit scheduled for 1:15pm. I was looking to post a faster time than the 4.52.7 I rode on Wednesday with a combination of improved track position (riding the black line), a more progressive lap buildup (don't start too fast) and utilizing the mental experience gained from Wednesday's full-distance ride. Off the line I was more gradual with a 22.1, 17.1,17.7 start. My goal again was to hit 18.0's and often posted sub 18.0 laps. I was also able to ride the black line much better through the corners however I often jumped out on the exits of the banking - effectively traveling a greater distance than needed. I first looked up for the board with 10 laps to go at which time the sensations in the legs turned a little sour. I could feel the tiredness from the last few days of racing but there was still lots of power so I just pedaled through it. As opposed to Wednesday's ride on Space Mountain, I felt much more separated from my ride on Saturday, almost as if I was watching it in third person. I was posting faster splits than I had done earlier (legs felt better and better all week as I rode more) and instead to slowing down, I just settled in. With six to go it was time to start the final ramp and once over with 4 to go, I turned on the gas. I came through the next split at 17.4 (too fast of an acceleration!) and held on to snag a 17.7 and 17.8 in the final laps. Crossing with a 4.50.6, I claimed fourth and chopped over 2 seconds off my first ride. A great accomplishment! Zach took the event with another 4.45, while Remi Pelletier-Roy and Cam MacKinnon took 2nd and 3rd respectively at 4.48. This only moved me up 1 spot in the omnium to 9th but closed the gab to the top 5.

Next up was the 15km (60lap scratch race). The event would also serve as the Canadian National Scratch race due to rain delays earlier in the week. Since a scratch race is essentially a criterium on the track, the first rider across the line wins. This can be done by lapping the field or breaking away in the final laps; if the race comes down to a pack sprint, positioning in the sprint lane at the front of the field is critical as passing riders on the outside at this level is very difficult (traveling in excess of 60km/hr!). Many different riders attempted to lap the field and I took a chance at half distance. Jean-Michele and I established a good gap shortly after attacking but just as I was beginning to tire, Zach launched out of the pack and bridged up to us. Both Jean-Michele and I frantically climbed the banking in anticipation of Zach's higher speed and once underneath, we dove down towards the black line. Jean-Michele timed his drop well but I missed it by a hair and could not latch onto the draft. I knew that that was the race winning move. I chased and chased but after another two laps I was fried. Drifting back to the pack, Zach and Jean-Michele worked hard to lap the field over the course of the next 15-20 laps. With ten to go, the final podium place remained up for grabs and the field settled in for the run to the line. I knew my only chance was to get near the front with 2-3 to go and hold on - or lead it out for Jacob after his work in the points race earlier. With 3.75 laps to go, the rider in front pulled off so I didn't have much of a choice - I would have to ride the front from this point forward. Up the road, unknown to me was teammate Erik Mulder (who had attacked at 4 to go and gained almost half a lap) and Ontario rider Stephen Meyer who had attacked at 6 to go. With 2 to go the gap to these two riders was falling rapidly and just as I took the bell with 1 go, I passed Erik. I heard Richard yelling from the infield that someone was coming over the top and immediately a blur to yellow and blue surged past me on the outside. It was Cam MacKinnon, launching a ridiculous attack. Ontario rider and Canadian National Team Pursuit rider Daniele Defranceschi, who had been enjoying my draft over the past three laps, jumped out on Cam's wheel. I tried to hold on to my position but many riders went by on the right over the course of the final lap as I just lacked that extra lap of high speed. However I did catch Stephen Meyer at the line for 9th, gaining 1 position in the overall omnium - now 8th only 1 point behind Spidertech rider Charly Vives. I had the right tactical idea in the finale after my mistake on the banking earlier in the race, but was unable to make it stick. Next year!

The final event, the kilo, is all about max power and max pain. The best riders can go 100% from the gun but four laps from a standing start is no easy task, as the faces of the riders in the final lap can attest. Out of the electronic start gate (a machine that releases you - the beeping is just like ski racing) I started well but on the second or third pedal stroke, my right hand slipped of my bars! PANIC! I saved it and didn't go down but lost all my momentum. I couldn't stop or start again so I just took off. Lots of adrenaline. We figure I lost close to 1.5-2 seconds but that didn't matter when I was on the track. With 1.5 laps to go I was absolutely fried, and although I started to die that slow and horrible death that is the final laps of a kilo, I kept up the pace and finished with a 1.10.7, good for 10th. The sixth best time was a 1.09.1 so I am hopeful that such a time is within my ability with the help of the drama free run. Although the start was lousy, I was very happy with my line choice as I was able to stay really low on the black line. Much improved!

So in the end I finished 8th in the omnium event with a few dramas and a few great moments. Not bad for my third week on a track bike! I am looking forward to riding the track again soon, maybe in Burnaby this fall or in Los Angeles in January. Although at this moment, I am more looking forward to a little time off this week, with a moving day in Portland (just found this sweet apartment with teammate Quinn Keogh and Whitman '08 alumni Zac Strode) and a hopefully a trip to Walla Walla this weekend with Zen Stroddick. Look out Whittie riders!

I wanted to also take this chance to thank everyone who has made these past six months very memorable. Big shouts go out to the Godrey's @ Rubicon; the Gillispies @ Muscle Memory; Storie & Wooles @ the Canadian National Team; Orbea's Keith Seed; Allegro Cyclery's Bannerman, Austin and Rapp; coach David Youngblood, mentor Glenn Silver; physio's Dave Tupper and Darren Smith; Rubicon supporters like Jon Ragsdale; the officials of the Whitman Sports administration; the riders of the Whitman Cycling Team and my teammates on the Rubicon squad.

Here are a few highlight pics from this past week. Cyclocross starts in three weeks atStarcrossed in Seattle!

Omnium World Champion Tara Whitten, Steph Roorda & Laura Brown (3 of 4 riders of CCA Women's Team Pursuit) won the Women's Team Pursuit for British Columbia
Zach Bell (Kelly Benefit Strategies) - Won every event this week except the Kilo
Daniele Defranceschi posted a very fast 1.07 in the final event - winning the Kilo
Remi Pelletier-Roy went 2nd in both 4km pursuits, finished 3rd in the Omnium
Charly Vives (Spidetech) finished 7th in the Omnium, 3rd in Pursuit, 4th in Points Race
Junior Men's Keirin - Erik Mulder waits patiently in 3rd, Fast Eddy 4th
Scott Mulder riding his new Look - takes Junior Keirin
He rode at World Juniors in 2009 and a 2009 Team Sprint Canadian Champion
Cool night time shots from Junior Scratch Race

Carbon Fibre connoisseur - Rob Mulder on his custom Roberts frame (he made it himself!)
Laura, Steph and Tara ride away in the Women's scratch race


Saturday, 28 August 2010

Points Race Success

Yesterday the elite men's omnium started with the flying 250m. Opposed to the World Cup format (flying 200m, 20km points race, 3km pursuit, 10km scratch race and kilo pursuit) the National Championship Omnium follows the Olympic format, extending each event to full distance (Flying 250m, 40km Scratch, Elimination Race, 4km Pursuit, 15km Scratch and Kilo Pursuit).

I am a bit rushed for time as breakfast is ready and then I'm off to the track for the final three events but here are some photos and a summary of yesterday. We started with the flying 250m and after selecting the wrong gear (used the old english chart instead of asking the other riders) I accidently ran a very large gear and was never able to get on top of it. As a result I placed 14/19 in the 14 second event.

The points race however went very well. With a 160 laps on the board, I played it conservative in the opening laps. Zach attacked about 50 laps into the race, at which point I had no points so I took off with Spidertech rider Charly Vives in an attempt to lap the field. Chasing Zach's attack, who rode 5-6 seconds ahead of us, we worked well together and alternated the wind pushing duties each full lap. Within 10 laps the field dangled only two seconds ahead but Zach, who at this point had made the 20 points awarded to a rider who laps the field, rode through the bunch and strung out the pack in an effort to thwart our lap attempt. It was a horribly slow death and lap after lap we drifted off the tail end of the peleton. Back in the peloton after a 50-60 lap trip off the front - I had moved up to 6th overall. Now I needed to finish off very strong to secure my position. I made a big effort with 30 laps to go to take another 3 points in a hotly contested sprint - a well timed bike throw was needed however as the 2nd place pushed me up to 3rd overall. I was totally gassed but grabbed another single point at twenty laps to go (4th in the sprint) before a rest in preparation for the final. With 15laps to go, shortly before the penultimate sprint on lap 10, two riders jumped ahead. Zach and I countered and came across the line on lap 10 together. He left the extra point available as he knew I was tied for 4th at this point however I did not come around - a move I would regret later. The pack quickly pulled us back on lap 152/160 so I gained elevation on the banking just as Charlie Vives attacked again. I jumped on board and we started working hard. Taking only half lap pulls, we moved away from the field in pursuit of the two riders ahead. At 5 laps to go Jeremy told me that I was tied on points for 4th with Charlie and that I would have to beat him in the finale. Unfortunately the two riders ahead on the track had jumped ahead of Charlie and I in the points and were now battling for 2nd and 3rd overall while Zach relaxed in the peleton - out of reach after lapping the field twice and accumulating a forty point advantage. In the finale I relinquished the lead with 1.5 to go at which time Charlie attacked as I knew he would. I came up beside him along the back straightaway but in the push to the line I couldn't muster the power. As a result I secured the final point in the finale sprint, which secured a a 5th place overall finish, 1 point back of Charlie. A big shout out to my fellow team BC rider Jacob Schwingboth who did some awesome work in the final laps to keep the peleton close (when I was resting in the peleton) and my chances of a good result alive as his race had not gone the way he planned -definitely buying him a beer tonight.

The points race moved me up to 10th overall in the omnium (from 14th), only 13 points back of 2nd place. Next up, the elimination race four hours later. After a nice break back at the hotel, I geared up again for the 12-15 minute event. With 19 starters, the race would last 38 laps and the last rider across the line every two laps would be eliminated from the event. It is a very tricky event. The best place is to ride the top three positions but everyone is vying for these spots so it is very tight. Since riders extend upwards out of the final banking towards the rail in a bid to avoid elimination, riders who get boxed in low often get cut as they have no where to accelerate. After nine riders had been eliminated, that is exactly what happened. Most unfortunate. No where to go and every one else is ahead. So although I remain 10th in the omnium, the gap to 5th place is now 10 points so I will need to go very well today if I want to move up in the omnium overall.

But it is also the last day of season so I really have everything to play for. I can leave it all out on the track and that is exactly what I plan to do. The 4km pursuits start around 1.15pm EST which will be followed by a full distance Scratch race (which like the Points Race, will serve as the National Championship race due to rain delays earlier in the week), and then a final 4 lap explosion called the kilo. It's go time....enough said.

Aug. 25 - Final Lap of Individual 4k Pursuit - Finished 4th
Jeremy lended a much needed hand afterwards
Aug. 26 - Men's Points Race (rained out) - playing on the front
Sporting my Muscle Memory Kit
Thanks Muscle Memory!
Racing outdoors makes staying warm a challenge - the jacket has been great!

Thanks Muscle Memory, Cycling BC and Rubicon Orbea!


Thursday, 26 August 2010

Nickels and Dimes

I don't know what I was dreaming about last night but I definitely felt like a train ran over me this morning. Although we had a nice sleep in to 8am, with the track opening at 9.30 (competition starting at 10.30am) - I definitely felt yesterday's effort and a general lack of riding over the last four days.

The team pursuit is a sweet event. Probably the most esthetically pleasing event when done properly or the most embarrassing when it goes wrong. Zach Bell, Jacob Schwingboth, Erik Mulder and I started last out of the three registered teams, representing Team BC. Team Quebec and Team Ontario set good times for 4.33 and 4.35 respectively. Once off the line, we started quite slow but worked well together and hit our split time targets.

Since it was my first team pursuit, the technical element of the ride was going to be my biggest challenge. Riding very close to the rider in front is crucial when traveling upwards of 58km/hr and with no brakes, one must turn off their brain and sense the small changes in pace through the four man team. But I had trouble staying close enough to Jacob's rear wheel and wasted a bit of energy; I also could have used the track better in my transitions. However, my speed was good and once Erik finished his job at just over half distance, I was able to stay with Jacob and Zach through to the end (both Team Ontario and Team Quebec blew apart on the final laps).

In the finale, Zach, Jacob and I pushed to the line with a hard acceleration in the final laps, reeling in all our 3 second deficit at the 2km mark except for the last half tenth of a second! A good ride but not quite strong enough. I know if we did it again (if there were more teams and less rain delays the officials would have run a final - where the top 2 teams in qualifying run head to head in a final heat) we could have definitely gone faster. But we scored a silver medal and I got my first chance to get drug tested. That was fun! Not getting to eat for two hours after my race though was not so fun. Hopefully next time it will go faster.

Ninty minutes after lunch, I was back on the track for the 40km Points Race. After two attempts, the first at 19 and second at 50 laps, officials red flagged the race due to rain. I wasn't having my best day out there but I did chase Zach as he took off to lap the field in the second race on lap 30. Ultimately I blew up so I was quite happy that I'll get another chance tomorrow. The field here is a different level than which I have been racing in Portland and everyone is riding for themselves (in Portland it has been two teams of three riders vs just me) so it is very aggressive and opportunistic racing is definitely a large part of success. I am hopeful that after these two practice races, I will get into the groove immediately come tomorrow's three events (flying 250m, 40km points race, 4km pursuit).

Tim also took some great shots of today's racing, which include some excellent sponsor shots of my Muscle Memory apparel but those images are currently unavailable at the time of this post so look for those plus more updates on the omnium in tomorrow evening's post.

Thanks for following my ride at Canadian Track Nationals - I'm having a great time and looking forward to better legs tomorrow.


Pursuit Virgin No More

Wednesday's racing finished up at 10pm under the lights so a Twitter update was all I could muster after going out for dinner and arriving home close to midnight. After rain through most of the day, the track finally dried enough to start racing at 3pm and programing continued through until the end of the evening. The last few races under the lights were great to watch, with some aggressive racing in the Junior women's scratch race. I also raced my first full distance pursuit effort on Wednesday evening around 6:30. With a little bit of wind on the track, I ran a 48,14 gear (90) and posted a very respectable time.

Out of the electronic start gate, I pushed through the very corner very well and completed the first three 250 metre laps in 21.6, 16.6,17.1 which put me well ahead of my planned start of 22.5, 18.0, 18.0 etc. I felt okay so I just tapered it back a bit until I started to hit 17.9's. To best explain the ideal perceived excursion for the 16 lap effort, I'll break it down into 4lap segments. After the first four laps, the legs are supposed to feel as if they have done nothing. In the second segment, it gets difficult. The third, you must embrace the pain as the vision gets blurry. While the final four laps come down to extracting every last once of power your legs have to offer. After I passed my heat-match (rider who starts 125 metres ahead on the opposing side of the 250 metre loop) on lap 8, I looked at the lap board for the first time. 7 laps to go. I can do that! On six the vision started to get blurry. Every time over the start finish line, Jeremy would yell out my splits so I could gauge my effort. I dropped one lap to 18.4 but most of my laps were consistently 17.7-18.2 (very close to my 18.0 target). With four laps to go it got real blurry and with two to go, I felt my fast start catch up to me. I felt as though I was accelerating but I my split only improved to 17.9's. I held on for a finish time of 4.52, taking the lead at that point in the competition. A highlight was definitely my consistency; my kilometre break down was very close (Kilometre 2: 1.12.7, km3: 1:12.5, km4: 1.12.8) although it would have been better to start slower and finish faster. Ultimately, my time didn't hold onto a podium position as both riders in the final heat finished with 4.50's and Zach's fast 4.45 took the jersey.

It was a good effort for my very first full distance race and both Jeremy and Richard were happy. I really wanted to hang on for a podium spot but I felt good about my gear selection and my effort so hopefully I can clean up my start and my position on the track (riding the black line) for a faster time in Friday's Omnium (The omnium is a six event competition including a Flying 250 metre [1 lap], a 40km Points Race, a 4km Pursuit, a 15km Scratch Race and a 1km pursuit [called a kilo]).

The hardest part of the 4km pursuit is almost the two to five minutes following the effort. Slipping off the track onto the apron, the legs flood with lactic acid and by the time Jeremy extended his hand to stop me 2 laps after my finish, I was only just able to mumble. Getting off the bike a few minutes later, after he wheeled me into the pit area, was a feat all in itself. Once the incessant drooling and spitting start, it doesn't stop. You know the feeling like you just vomited, or are about to - well try that for ten minutes! But a face wash and a little bit of coke makes for a much easier hop back onto the bike for a cool down on the rollers.

On Thursday, with a team pursuit planned for the morning and a points race in the evening, I made sure I spun it out for a while. I learned back at SAIT (Southern Alberta Institution of Technology) in 2005 while VO2 max testing with my alpine skiing teammates that after a prolonged lactate effort (like a pursuit), the body produces lactate for an additional 13 minutes! So if you get on the rollers for a 10 minute cool down, you will still be producing lactate for another 3 minutes which doesn't make your recovery for the next day's events any easier. Trust me.

The track dried fast but the skies just kept dishing it out
Scott, Trevor, Jake, Jamie and Kyle hanging out in the tunnel
Erik, Trevor and Eddy
Scott Mulder wins the Junior Keirin under the lights


Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Biding my time

We are heading down to the track now and I am told we are starting at 2pm. I only have the individual pursuit to do today now so hopefully the rain holds out!

Tim Sherstobittoff will be taking photos all week so I am going to try to get a few from him for updates. He already snapped some great shots yesterday - Thanks Tim!

Team BC
teph Roorda (follow ex-alpine ski racer from Calgary) and I
The team warmed up on the apron will the banking dried
Picking up the pace - track was smoother than it looked
Trevor Pearson (U17) only got to ride the flying 200 and 500m pursuit before Wednesday's rainout
Scott Mulder sizes up his rival in the final Junior Match Sprints
Launching the big gear!


Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Giver Skidoo in the Big Ring

I arrived in Bromont, Quebec last night with the help of Cycling BC and Muscle Memory Fitness in Tsawwassan. The last three weeks of training in Portland have gone smoothly so I am stoked to get a chance to show some speed here in front of the nation's fastest track racers. There are eighteen riders from British Columbia here so the team is looking for strong performances throughout the week. Nineteen year old Vancouver local Scott Mulder started us off with a dominant win in the Men's Junior (15-19) Match Sprints just a few hours ago. In this Olympic event, two riders attempt to outwit and overpower one another in a three lap duel. Tomorrow a majority of the team begins racing as Juniors, Masters and Elite riders take to the track. I will be competing in the individual 4 kilometre pursuit around 11am EST (I don't have Twitter on my phone so updates will only be in the evenings or if I get back to the hotel) and then again in the afternoon in the Elite Scratch Race. However with a 40% chance of rain in the forecast, there may be a change to the schedule.

The 1996 Atlanta Olympic track, now here in Bromont, has seen better days but the course officials have worked hard to make the course as smooth as possible. The outdoor wooden track has had many patches and looks absolutely terrifying but once on the track, I was pleasantly surprised. That said, a few riders got flats so I will be hoping for the best during my races.

I was also told this evening that I will also be competing with fellow BC riders Zach Bell (Kelly Benefits Strategies and 2008 Olympian), Jacob Schwingboth (H&R Block) and Erik Mulder (Cycling BC) in the 4km Team Pursuit. I don't know when this event will happen but with three teams qualifying (Quebec, Ontario (Team Jet Fuel), British Columbia) and only two allowed into the final showdown - it should make for a difficult competition.

So the seven day wrap up includes a good points race at Alpenrose last Thursday, taking 2nd behind Beardsley. Then a solid second place ride behind mountain bike legend Carl Decker on Saturday after a two man breakaway at the Franz Bakery criterium in Portland proved the winning move on the technical and steep course (86 second lap with eight corners and 50 feet of climbing). Then a nice day of relaxation on Sunday before a long day of travel through Atlanta (ironic that that is where the track is from). Today we arrived at the track at 8.45am (only one kilometer from the hotel) for a track inspection. By 9.30am, the morning dew had dried and we all took to the track, forming an 18 person paceline. After a progressively faster 15 minute warmup, we each completed our assigned workouts. I did two practice starts in preparation for the pursuit events this week. I was absolutely appalled by my first attempt but then remembered that I needed to start with my left foot forward (right-footed). The second attempt a few minutes later was much better. Zinging up the high gear of 48/16 as I entered the 3rd corner, I followed my start with a full lap at a wicked fast cadence. But when we left the track soon after, I really didn't feel like I was at a place where I wanted to end my day. So later this afternoon I jumped on the rollers for about forty five minutes and the legs definitely came around. East Side Mario's for dinner and a team meeting finished up the day.

The Bromont track is not the fastest track in the world by any means (Current track record 4 minutes and 50 seconds compared to world class times of 4.15-4.20 in indoor facilities like Melbourne & Los Angeles) so tomorrow I am shooting for a sub 5minute time. I am planning on running a 48/14 in warmup and a 51/15 in the race (for those of you who know what this means).

I feel like I have just been writing and writing here so I am going to head off to bed now. Cheers!

More photos coming soon!

Sprinter Jamie and fast Eddy after this morning's session
Volunteer Tim, Scott Mulder, Rob Mulder and Jamie


Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Italian Tune Up

Well, it's Tuesday. And since the plane ticket in my hand says Monday August 23rd, that means that I must be in within a week of the Canadian Track National Championships in Bromont, Quebec. But it's all good since the team had a great weekend here in Portland and there were good sensations in the legs. I got the chance to test myself three times this weekend, once on Friday at the Portland Twilight Criterium, again in Longview for another evening criterium and finally on the track at the HeartBreaker track day presented by the Gentle Lovers Cycling Team. During that time the team had a few big sponsors come out but the highlight was definitely a visit from Mom and Dad. It's always very special to have them at the races so it was great to grab some good results during their visit.

As I mentioned in my earlier post, the team had a great race at the Portland Twilight. We animated the race, controlled the breaks to maximize our chances in the finale and when it came down to the leadout, Jas did an amazing job to ensure a foot-stomping TOP FOUR sweep. I finished 2nd behind Roman and was stoked to get back on the podium. Here is the Portland Twilight Video + Another One! + Another One! (hint...they all have crashes in them!) and some extra photos I found yesterday.

OBRA's Luciano (on the loudspeaker) with Mike (in white) and I chatting about the end

Jason did one hell of a leadout

Norrene really wanted to win, so did we!

On Saturday, we took off for a short drive north of Vancouver, Wa with a reduced team to compete in the well-funded Longview Criterium. The venue was smaller than Portland Twilight but the prize money was very good so Roman, Quinn and I raced aggressively throughout the 60 minute event. The course was a 1 min clockwise loop around a small park in downtown Longview. The corners were quite shallow but the road surface made for some slipping sections that limited pedaling. The course was well-shaded from the afternoon's high temperatures (90 degrees) so the racing started with a bang. Within five laps, Quinn was off the front, drilling it solo. By the thirtieth minute, all three of us had taken unsuccessful solo moves off the front. Claiming a few primes (pronounced PREM) here and there, we kept the race animated with Roman launching one final solo move at 5 laps to go. Quinn and I marked the front (hanging out in 3-5th wheel...watching), as the Guinness and Word-RCB riders drove it in hot pursuit of the disappearing yellow dot that was the Kiwi. But over the line with two to go, Roman came back just as a young rider pushed Quinn into the curb. Quinn had to bust out all his tricks to stay upright and although he did stay roadrash free, his spokes didn't. With a bunch of broken spokes inside the free lap allowance (after 5-7 laps to go, a rider with a mechanical or flat tire cannot pit without loosing laps). In order to keep the peloton at bay I figured the best option was to go to the front and drive it at a pace that would discourage further attacks but would leave the legs fresh for the final lap, also allowing Roman to rest in case I blew up at the end. However, on the back straight on the penutlitmate lap, two Bike-Sale riders jumped up on my left. I thought "who the hell are these guys?" I hadn't seem them the whole race so they were definitely tailgunning with the hopes of stealing the win. Pretty angry about their disrespectful tactics, I aggressively split the two riders as they bid for corner 3 and took back the front position before corner 4; so with 1 lap remaining, I led with Roman driving up the inside from 9th wheel. Out on the back straight I attacked off the front as Roman sat on the front of the field along the inside line. After chasing my shadow along the short straight between corner's three and four, I was able to hold on and take the win. Roman dished it out for third so all in all - we took home some great prize money and some merchandise from prime sprints. Not a bad day at all. Norrene even snuck a Klondike bar in the ice cooler! Ya Buddy!

Scott Laliberte (Cannondale Westwood) won the Master's Race -
He was my team manager last year and it was great to catch up with him this weekend.

Who is that tailgunning? Bike-sale?

Quinn kept the pace hot when not off the front
Roman followed by Guiness's David Klipper

On Sunday, I took Mom and Dad over to the Alpenrose Velodrome for their first track race. It was a Points race put on by the Gentle Lovers Cycling team. The day also included sprint events like the Kierin, in which a motor bike takes 6 riders up to 30mph over 6 laps, before releasing them all for 2-3laps of absolute carnage. I decided it was best to leave that to the big guys - they can put out 2100 watts for over 10 seconds! Besides, the field in the Points race was going to be a bit more competitive than the Thursday night races as riders from all around the northwest traveled to Portland this weekend for Saturday's Elite National track qualifier events.

Fifteen laps into the 60 lap race (so about 7-8 minutes), various lap attempts had been made with small groups of 4 riders but none stuck. Represented in a few of these attempts, I was able to snag some points on the 10th lap. But on lap 16 my bike started to rattle and when I looked down across the start line, I noticed the left bolt on my front wheel was gone! AHHHHH! I quickly decided I was not going to go through the banking again and pulled down off the track, throwing down some mean resisting pedal strokes to slow myself down before the corner. I retired from the race and was happy not to have had a more serious incident. phew!!

I found out later that similar to a criterium, any mass start track race awards free laps to riders who suffer mechanicals or flat tires. The criterium standard is 2 laps, but on the track the total is extended to 6; however the total resting time is the same at approximately 2-2.5 minutes.

On the rail ready to go with Steven Beardsley and David Klipper

Well that's about it for racing news. Dad is coming back to Canada this week with my super light Cannondale from last season so I think he is pretty excited to rip it up around Whistler - Look out Team Whistler! I also have a real job at Contech Construction working as an environmental economic researcher investigating the external benefits associated with the installation of large-scale rainwater harvesting systems in urban areas. It's a part-time position through the end of the calender year that allows me the opportunity to work from both the office and home (or the road) so it really is the best way to combine full-time training and my area of academic study. Thanks Greg and Contech!

Leading into my travel next Monday I plan on racing a on Thursday night at the Track and again at the first annual Franz Bakery Criterium on Saturday night in NE Portland. The event should be very interesting as it is a Points Race format although it is a real road criterium - every lap, points are award for the 1st and 2nd riders across the line (2,1 respectively) with 15points awarded for the final lap (also distributed 15 deep in the finale - 15,14,13.....). So that means the racing will be very fast throughout the event.

The Track Nats Schedule is also out so I'll share that with you in my next post. Give a talk about the different events.

Enjoy your day!

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Friday, 13 August 2010

Rubicon Sweep Twilight

Left-Right: Quinn Keogh (4th), Ben Chaddock (2nd), Roman van Uden (1st), Mike Northey (3rd), Logan Owens (5th)
Photo Available Courtesy of

We'll we got it done. Being the last race on the team's road calender and one of the key races that Team Yellow has yet to conquer, the Portland Twilight criterium ended up a perfect capstone to a great season of road cycling. Although there remain two more races in the plan for a few of us with the Longview Criterium tomorrow (August 14th) and the Franz Bakery Criterium next weekend (August 21st), tonight was the last official race of the year. Jason Allen, who dished out a ridiculous final 5 laps tonight, will be leaving tomorrow to return to New Zealand. Its been crucial having someone of his experience and leadership on the team this year and I wish him all the best in his upcoming track competitions.

After Jason 'dropped' us off at 1 lap to go, it was all up to us and we were able to take a convincing win, with the top four spots going to the yellow of Rubicon-Orbea. Fifth place mind you was a young, very talented rider from the well-known Seattle-based Hagens Berman Cycling Team; Logan Owens, who is competing in the senior men's category at age 15, did a very impressive ride. Congrats to Logan! Can you say prodigy?

Mike, rocking his U23 Kiwi National Criterium Champion jersey, started the race from the front after OBRA's Luciano (on the loudspeaker) called him up along with other local cycling legends. Included in the call ups were Kona Mountain Bike star Ryan Trebon and a two-time Olympian Bob Mionske of the Guiness Cycling Team. But there was a strong contingent of yellow in the second row and after the gun, it fortunately didn't take long to get situated at the front of the race.

With 15,000 spectators lining the streets of downtown Portland's Pearl District, it was all to play for right from the start. Multiple attacks launched off the front but we shut down anything that was unfavourable. We planned to let a 2-man break go if we had one rider or any break in which we held a number advantage. And by lap 10 (60 second laps over the course of the 1 hour race so about 50-60 laps), after various failed two-man breaks, Roman snuck away solo. He lasted for a while, I'm gonna say 10-15 minutes. Mike followed another rider up to Roman by minute 20 but Ryan Trebon worked hard to bring it all back together by half distance.

Quinn and I patrolled the front at this point, but it seemed that riders were content to let it cool down for a while. So I launched a solo attack which was quickly countered by two non-Rubicon riders which Aaron Tuckerman shut down shortly thereafter. With 15 minutes remaining, a $100 prime provided a little extra motivation and as I sliced my way up from 10th wheel to 3rd wheel following a brilliant delivery yet again by Jason at the final corner, I had the best seat in the house as Mike zipped by another competitor as the last second for the prize. Taking advantage of the strung out position of the field, I went to the front to keep the pace high as the guys prepared for the final run. A couple laps later I was pleasantly surprised as the Yellow train came by. I slotted in behind Jason, Roman and Quinn (who were rotating and slowly increasing the pace every lap) and in front of Mike and Aaron. With 6 laps to go, Steve Fisher of Hagens Berman made a move off the front. He was unable to get away but did cause some reshuffling , leaving Jason at the front followed by myself, Roman, Mike, Quinn and Aaron . This meant that Jason would have to go as long as he could so the rest of us could stay as fresh as possible for the final laps. But he just kept going! As the lap board came down, 4 to go, 3 to go, 2 to go, the ambient light decreased considerably, the crowd got louder and the entry speeds into the 180 degree corner 1-2 complex increased to a rate which disabled the option or need to pedal along the 30 metre arc between apexs. It wasn't until the final corner of the penultimate lap that Jason pulled off. Amazing effort. Individual track pursuit here he comes! With his day done, I drove it along the front straight, through corners 1,2,3,4 and onto the back straight. Roman took over on the back straight but I was able to slot in behind him and in the push to the line two corners later, Mike came up along my right side as Roman, I, Mike and Quinn took the top four places in grand style, hands up.

It was a great ride for all of us and a very important win. We stomped our fist all over the race, animating with breaks while maintaining a high pace, finished off with a 10 lap Yellow train leadout for the finale. It was also a very important result as we had a lot of sponsors out this evening, with Keith Seed (Orbea Bicycles & Rolf Wheels), the Gillispie family from Muscle Memory fitness of Tswassan, Canada and of course my parents who also made the trip south for the weekend. Roman was also able to jump on the loudspeaker after the race and send a big shout out to both Norrene and Dave (our team managers), whose dedication to road cycling and the Livestrong foundation remains unmatched. Without those key people behind the team, our results on the road would not be possible. Thanks again to all of you for an amazing season!

The Gillispies also brought down a shake weight for the team, now we will all get super strong! Tomorrow is Longview Criterium, followed by the Heartbreaker Track Race (presented by the Gentle Lovers Cycling Team) on Sunday in which I will be competing in the senior points race. Also, check out Team Rubicon on Facebook - all the inside info can be yours!

It's the weekend! So get out and ride your bike if you can! Thanks for reading.

Roman off the front early

Aaron Tuckerman making it hard

Quinn Keogh on the job
Roman looking fast as usual

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Friday, 6 August 2010

Who wants to talk about practice?

This past week has been a big week of training but I AM NOT HERE TO TALK ABOUT TRAINING. Really, who wants to listen to someone talk about training? (or practice for those who maybe are not up on cycling lingo). That is what Twitter is for! Or at least for a select group of individuals on Twitter who think other people actually care how many miles they rode that day. People want to hear about the game, or the race. The DRAMA! Take this classic and one of my personal all-time favourite videos featuring Allen Iverson. We ain't hear to talk about practice!

So let's talk about the game. Last night was another evening at the Alpenrose Velodrome. The Men's A field raced a 60 lap (16km) points race. In this race, intermediate sprints on lap 10,20,40 & 50 offer points 4 deep (5,3,2,1); Double points are also available on laps 30 and 60, with a twenty point bonus for any rider who can lap the field. From the GUN! two riders attacked. By the time I released from the upper rail they had already jumped ahead of the field! A little courtesy guys, please.

Since they both had teammates in the bunch and I was stuck at the back, I just watched the race ride away. Quite discouraging I know, but it was a long race. By lap 6, following the first intermediate sprint a small group of seven riders had slipped off the front of the 20 rider field. Driving the front of that group was some dude in yellow riding an ORBEA. By this time, Steven Beardsley (Gentle Lovers) and Jake Hansen (Word-RCB) were already sniffing the tail end of the peloton in their lap attempt. I launched out of the chase in a solo move to lap across but failed after 3 laps and dropped back to the six man group. A few laps later, the whole field came together on the track with Beardsley and Hansan 20 points ahead on the score sheet. I had to bridge.

So when Lap 30 offered big points, Beardsley and Hansen sprinted ahead and disintegrated the field, I launched a counter attack across the line. One Gentle Lovers rider stuck on my wheel in a defensive maneuver so that was frustrating but it fueled the fire. Eight to ten laps later (race average 23 seconds per lap so 4-5 minutes) the dire panic and seemingly-endless anxiety of the bridge attempt evaporated as I slipped once again into the peloton's slipstream. With only fifteen laps remaining at this point, the four riders on the lead lap: Beardsley, Hansan, myself and James Adamson (Gentle Lovers rider who hitched a ride on the bridge) all remained in contention for the overall win. At lap 50, I cruised to an easy 5 points but missed the lap 55 sprint. In the closing laps, lap 57 I believe, Hansan attacked Beardsley out of corner 4. Fortunately I had held a good position high on the banking in anticipation of such a move, allowing an easy transition up to speed behind the brutal attack. Now down to just five riders remaining, the final selection approached the finish line just about as rapidly as the officials could turn over the lap cards. With two laps to go, Hansen rode on my left, with three Gentle Lovers riders idling closely behind. I moved aside and over the line the penultimate time, Adamson led, with Beardsley, a third Gentle Lovers rider, myself and then Hansen in tow. I ramped it up through corner one and launched out of corner two onto the back straight, surging up next to Beardsley. With one corner complex remaining, he reacted and moved out, pushing me up the banking while his teammate (who needed to win the final sprint to vault ahead in the points totals) stayed tight and low in the red/black guided sprinter's lane. The transition out of corner four helped my surge for the line and although all three of us finished within a half wheel of one another, I was only able to secure second in the finale with a well timed bike throw (a little bit more complicated on a track bike).

Afterwards, I was told I finished 3rd on points for the evening. I really had no idea what was going on out there when it came to the nitty gritty points but I knew I had to get as many of the final points as I could. So it's all good. I'll take third! Here is video recap from the Alpenrose Challenge in 2009 for a taste of what an evening at the track is like.

I also have a few pictures from the Cascade Cycling Classic to share with you at the end of this post but more importantly, I would also like to present the work of an old friend from Whitman College. Her name is Aisha Fukushima and she recently returned to North America after enjoying a year abroad completing her sensational RAPtivism Watson Fellowship. Aisha embarked on an her extended trip in May of 2009, using her unique hip hop project to actively contribute to human rights and social justice movements throughout the world. Her enthusiasm for music and social equality made for a perfect combination and her Fellowship has garnered a strong following; which isn't surprising if you've had the chance to meet her - very charismatic and extremely talented with a microphone. I urge you to check out her blog and learn more about RAPtivism here. I have also posted a link on the side bar to the right.

This weekend's events include the TEAM BEER Track race (omnium competition) on Sunday with some big criteriums on tap for next weekend (Portland Twilight and Longview Criterium).

Enjoy the summer!

New shades just in time for the desert
Pre-race ride in Boise, Idaho
Same ride that I did in March when I was here for the collegiate season opener with Whitman College
:A Look deep into the belly of the beast - le trailer
Pre-Race Camp @ Stage 6 2010 Cascade Classic

Sunday, 1 August 2010

On Track

I am pleased to announce that with the help of Cycling British Columbia and the Muscle Memory Training Group, I am currently preparing for a ride at the Canadian National Track Championships in Bromont, Quebec. I am very excited about this opportunity and would like to thank Norrene, Rob, Jeremy and Richard very much as without their support, the competition would have remained outside of my means.

As part of this shared sponsorship, I will compete in Cycling British Columbia (CBC) kit in various endurance events (scratch race, points race & 4km individual pursuit) and sport Muscle Memory apparell outside of competition and in travel. In connection with Rubicon-Orbea, I'll ride an Orbea frame and Rolf Wheels. In between competition, I'll also be typing up a storm on the blogosphere and in the Twitter world to keep everyone up to date on my experiences throughout the week long competition (August 24th - 29th).

Throughout the next three weeks, I'll continue to train and race on the road but add in some specific track training at the Alpenrose Velodrome. I will also spend as much time as possible learning about the specific events in a bid for a good performance in a month's time. I'm also looking forward to working under Kiwi track legend and team leader, Jason Allen, in preparation for the event.

Check back soon for more updates. The guys and I race again this afternoon in a small local criterium around the streets of downtown Vancouver, Wa. The 8-corner course is fairly technical and we are optimistic that more people will attend the event.

Here are a few shots of Jason at last weekend's AVC competition at Marymoor Velodrome. He was able to win many events throughout the two day competition, snagging the overall omnium!

Heads up action at AVC on July 24th
Jason Allen vs. Jame Carney
Match Sprints for 3rd/4th

Jason Allen & Jame Carney
Teamed up for the Madison Competition - mid_exchange
Jason's Omnium win included a few close calls