This is my attempt at recapping the season without being too longwinded.
After my reclassification at Worlds I was deselected from the team that would be racing the road World Cups because there was already a rider on the team in my category with a better history on the road. The team staff did this in an effort to maximize Paralympic Qualification points but it left me in a bit of a holding pattern. I talked to my coach and decided to dedicate all of my effort to the track through London in an effort to maximize my results. I received a fair amount of criticism for that decision and decided to go under the radar for a while, hence the 5 or 6 month blogging drought. I needed to put in the work without a lot of distraction.
The early season was complicated because the Velodrome was closed well into May. I went to Minneapolis in June for the Fixed Gear Classic. My club team, Speedfix Racing, is based out of the MN track and hosted the event. It was my first big ProAm race and I spent the weekend on the steep end of the learning curve and thinking those guys were just really fast. Learn by doing, right? The rest of the season was spent training a lot and racing at the track on Thursday night. I progressed from getting dropped, to hanging on, to being part of the race, and eventually pulled out a Win in a Points Race near the end of the season. I also raced a bunch of Madisons, I kind of suck at that race because I can’t do proper exchanges but they are really great for training. The Madison might be the hardest race format I’ve ever done. It always seemed to be a 45 second full gas effort followed by 45 seconds of recovery, and this was repeated for 25-40 minutes.
I ended my season at Para Track Nats which was held in conjunction with Elite Nats. I strongly considered racing the Elite Points Race but decided I wasn’t quite fast enough and sat out the event. It was a tough decision, but out of respect for nationals I think it was the right choice.
With my focus being solely on the track this was my main race for the year, I needed to be in the top 5 to be automatically selected to the World Champ team.
I was disappointed to ride a poorly executed race in the Pursuit qualifier, I qualified 2nd in my category and would ride for Gold/Silver that night. I rode a much better race in the final and won the National Title, I was happy with the win and the sound ride. The morning times were used to rank riders across all disability categories and I was 3rd, so I was on course for World Champ qualification.
I had a decent ride and won the Kilo. My time against my standard was the best amongst the male bikes from both days of racing. It felt really good to back up my track training like that and to have such a solid base of track preparation going into Worlds.