Monday, July 19, 2010

Alpenrose Velodrome Challenge

A few weeks ago were some of my favorite bike races of the year: the Alpenrose Velodrome Challenge and the FSA Grand Prix. Because women's track cycling does not have a huge pool of athletes, women don't have many races with large, competitive women's fields. In addition to the Testarosa Veldrome Challenge, these two races are the big track races of the year, and I was excited to participate.

Part 1: Alpenrose Velodrome Challenge

First off, I need to give a big thank you to Brian Peterson for being the ultimate teammate. He was the best mechanic, coach, cheerer, nutrition consultant, and friend for the weekend. Thanks Brian, we love you!

Day 1: The first day is mostly a warm-up day, as it is just time trials. I did a 3k pursuit and a 500m. The alpenrose track is a bit funky, bumpy, and slow. Despite having the worst start known to man on my pursuit (where I lost a couple of seconds), I was really happy with time and consistent pacing. I ended me fourth, and a few seconds off of third, so I was happy with that. My 500m was nothing great. I definitely need to work on my start.

Day 2: This year, I decided to stop match sprinting because I hate it. That meant I got to rest all morning until the scratch race. I got on Cari Higgins' wheel with a few to go and stayed on it until the end, so I got 2nd place! That was super exciting! My goal was to podium over these weekends, and I was so excited to get on the podium in my first mass start race! I also did the team sprint later in the day with La La (Mary Glen) Carrasco. We did an okay job. The competition was still; 3 teams broke the track record that day! (We weren't one of them...) We probably should have switched positions, but i am ready to try that race again with her at elite states.

Day 3: This was a big day for me. I had keirins, miss 'n out, and points race. Racing keirins are fun! But those are races for the real sprinters, which I am not. (I only pretend). In Round 1, only the first place got to advance to the final, and Monique Sullivan was in my heat. (If you don't know her, she is the Canadian national champ). I was happy I stayed on her wheel to the finish, but that didn't get me to the final. My rep round (to get back into the final), I was riding with some good people, including Nissy Cobb. Nissy is a very fast woman, who will be one of the top sprinters in the US in a couple of years. I was last in line and made a big run over the top when the moto pulled off, and was able to squeeze my way right behind Nissy (who was riding first position). I let her lead out the sprint and was able to push through in the turn four to pass her at the line! I couldn't believe it~ it was the best keirin I had ever done! I was so happy! But no time to celebrate, because I had the miss 'n out up next.

Miss 'n Out: I set pace at the front for at least 10 laps, which is a very tiring place to be. Then I moved to the back and started playing the devil, popping around people in the final turn before the finishing straight. This is also a very tiring place to be, as you have to accelerate quite a bit. But, I luckily made it to the final three, which was Cari Higgins, Val Bolstrom, and me. I attacked a few times, but Cari was on me. We had 2 neutral laps, not three. I ended up leading out the sprint with 1 to go, Cari passed me on the final straight away, and I got 2nd again. I was pretty happy with that!

Next was the keirin final- I was near the back of the group, sitting 6th or 7th wheel on the motor. I knew I wouldn't win, but was hoping to squeek in a top 5 amongst all the real sprinters. My plan was to catch any of the sprinters' wheels as they were making a run. Well, this didn't work so well for me, because the person in front of me couldn't overtake the speed at the front of the back, so I came in near the back of that one. Oh well.

I had very little time between the keirin final and my points race. My points race was my worst race of the weekend. I just wasn't mentally in it. We were racing 50 laps I believe (sprints @10), and I was just zoned out and sitting near the back for the first 2 sprints. I felt great physically, I just wasn't mentally racing. I finally got my head in the game, then got in a few breaks that didn't go anywhere, until I got in the winning breakaway. Well, it was the winning breakaway, had I been scoring points in the first two sprints and had scored more points while in the breakaway. I was trying to pull hard to take the lap quickly, but others weren't needing to take it, as they had racked up a lot of points already and were setting up for the sprints. Anyway, I ended up 5th, which I was really disappointed with, but hey can't get 2nd place everytime!

This put me in 4th overall in the omnium and I won the "best Hellyer rider!" award! I was pretty happy with the weekend and ready to race the weekend. Thanks Alpenrose and Charlie Warner for an awesome race~ I love it there!

Here are some pictures from the weekend:

a huge turn out of women at the racing!

here is with 2 to go in the scratch race. i'm on a good wheel!

scratch podium. i need to learn to podium pose, apparently.

miss 'n out racing

miss 'n out podium

thanks ROCKTAPE for being an awesome sponsor! my right quad had a huge knot in it on friday and started wearing the tape and it helped me 100%

and thanks to our most awesome team president and track president for all his help for the weekend!

Part 2 coming: Next stop: Seattle for the FSA Grand Prix.