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
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