Archive for November, 2009

Goodbye 2009, Hello Next Year

The time of the season to put 2009 in the past and 2010 in focus has arrived. I’ve enjoyed the medals from Worlds and will continue to do so, but having those medals does not mean I can slack off. In reality they mean I need to work harder, work smarter, and learn how to suffer more.

I feel that I have unfinished business in both the Kilo and the 4000M Pursuit. The snapped chain really did mess with my head and cost me considerable time, not enough to have won, but I would have been much closer with a clean race. The Pursuit was a tale of two different races. My qualifying run was not good. It was only ok, 5:07 was enough to take to the Bronze Final, but I really thought/hoped I had a sub-5 minute race in my legs which would have placed me in the Gold/Silver Final. I didn’t get the mental part of the race right and it cost me. My finals race went almost perfectly to plan. I got out, quick enough, got on schedule, and only had one lap of missed focus, but I recovered from that. I was behind for most of the race, but was even with 1000M left, and eventually won by a few seconds. An interesting note is that my final Kilo was faster than the previous 3 so I was accelerating in the final laps, and perhaps left some time on the track. Another point of interest is that I rode faster than the World Champion’s time in the Final, he rode a 5:02.9xx to my 5:02.4. That hasn’t really bothered me because I know the Pursuit is a race where maturity counts and I grew up a lot in the hours between the qualifier and final. I still have a lot of growing and learning to do, and I’m looking forward to that.

If I had double podiumed in any other year I would have that Rainbow Jersey as a definite goal for next year, but 2010 is the start of a new classification system. My category is getting integrated with a faster category so my realistic goal is to get faster and climb back onto the podium against stiffer competition. I still have a World Championship as my big goal, and would like to realize it in the coming years.

I’ve given a lot of thought to my goals for next year, and like I said, another Podium at Worlds sits very high on my list. Most of my goals are specific time or power numbers. If you’re interested in those numbers, you can ask me. I do feel that it’s high time I got my Cat3 upgrade, I have the ability to ride with the 3’s, I just need points. I’m planning to race a little more on the road than I did last year to get them. I’d like to do another TT at Lowe’s Motor Speedway and beat my old time. Road TTs will be a more prominent part of my racing internationally so I have some work to do (I also need a TT bike!) Something new and exciting for next year will be Elite Track Nationals. It fits into my schedule, and while I might not be able to beat Taylor, I should be able to ride a respectable race with the rest of the field in the Pursuit.

It’s going to be a fun year!

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World Champs Debut

It is no secret that when it comes to bicycles my biggest fascination lies in the Velodrome. That being said, the Manchester Velodrome is a special place, a mecca of sorts for track cyclists. I think it is because of the large number of events hosted there and because the strength of the GB Cycling program. Being able to race there made the whole experience even more incredible.

We got on the track a few days before the racing and it was FAST! The track is the same size as our track in Los Angeles, but the turns are longer and allow you to carry more speed. It was looking like we might have some good rides throughout the team. I started having some sinus issues 2 days before the competition began so I had to take measures to makes sure it didn’t get worse. It never cleared up and I would have to race through it.

The night before my first race was a rough night. I went bed at 9PM local and I was fully on terms with the new time zone, but I could not sleep. I was a bundle of nerves, and ended up lying awake in bed for hours. I finally went to sleep and when I woke up I had to wait until 8pm to race. It was pure torture.

My first race was the Kilo Time Trial, 1 Kilometer from a standing start. I got on the bike, timed my jump out of the gate well, and promptly snapped my chain. I was lying there on the track knowing I would have to do it all again. I had about 15 minutes to regain composure before attempt number 2. Breaking my chain had messed with my head and I got off to a slow start. It was over a half second slower than my opening lap should have been, but I settled in during lap 2 and could tell that the crowd, the announcer, and my coach were getting excited. At the end of 4 laps I had produced the second fastest time and had won the silver medal! Standing on the podium was amazing, I cannot put into words how it felt.

The next day was the Individual Pursuit. 4Km and 16 laps around the track, the qualifier is all about racing the clock to get into the final. In my attempt to not go out too fast I went out too slow. It took me 4 laps to get to top speed, but I never really felt like I was on top of the gear and my race fell apart a little bit. I qualified 4th with a time of 5:07. It was an ok time, but it was slower than it should have been.

The final is all about beating your opponent to take the medal. My race in the final started just a little on the fast side, but I didn’t panic and allowed myself to ease into my schedule. I got in a rhythm and started ticking down the laps. At halfway I knew I was behind, but gaining. I made the catch with 1Km to go and just had to maintain my pace. I finished with a time of 5:02.4. It was a 5 second PR and a bronze medal. This one was special because it is what I had trained for all year and I was able to get my head in the game to ride like I was capable of.

The last day was the Team Sprint, but our tired legs couldn’t muster more than 4th. It’s also a race that we didn’t do a lot of preparation for so I can’t feel too bad about it.

I want to congratulate my teammates for some great rides! There were a ton of PR’s, American Records, and even a few World Records set in Manchester! To all that earned the World Champion stripes, I give you an extra salute! As a team we shattered our medal projections for the year and look to have a solid group for the build towards the 2012 Paralympic Games.

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My journey that started with a bus ride to Denver at 5AM Saturday, ended at 2PM when we got to the hotel, on Sunday.  It was a nearly uneventful journey, but our final descent into Manchester was quite a wild ride.  The clouds were low and the winds were high and swirling.  I must say that the English country-side is gorgeous, but back to the wind.  We landed on 1 wheel!  I raise my glass to our pilot for a job well done!  She wrestled the Airbus to the ground and a safe stop. 

Our hotel is on the small side, the rooms and beds are tiny so our bikes are being stored in large metal shipping containers outside.  The containers make a nice place to set up the trainers as they are cool but sheltered from the wind.

I am still trying to get on terms with the time difference, I am close, but not allowing myself to nap as I may hibernate back into the Mountain Time zone. 

There was a Track Cycling World Cup held over the past weekend at the Manchester Velodrome and several of the teams were staying in our hotel.  It was cool rub shoulders with the Pros.  I also saw a few of the Americans here.  I’d like to congratulate the women for getting Shelley Olds into the breakaway and into 3rd for a medal in the Scratch Race! 

Our first ride on the track will be tomorrow, I’ll be sure to bring the camera along.

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