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.

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Cycling in a Toque: Nickels and Dimes

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.

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