Hope all is going well at the fall fling and ABD is continuing to dominate the team points.
Hanging out at Track Nats is an absolute blast. Kim and I flew in on Thursday and went straight to the track, arriving exactly in time for a break in the racing where we were able to get onto the track test it out and get some openers in. This place is really cool. The track is wood, 250 meters and 45 degree banking. Several years ago I'd heard that once you got past the fear you would become addicted to this, and after the last couple training sessions at Blaine and CVC I think I'm finally here!! I think Kim feels the same way.
It's tough trying to figure out exactly when you are going to go and timing your warmup. There's a 3 hour morning session and evening session and then the events during the sessions are listed in order. So unless you are first you really have no idea when you are going to go At the track you'll see a lot of people warming up on their road bikes. In the interest of saving money, we didn't bring our individual bikes out to warm up on, so we rode the trainer together for our warm up. On Friday our first pursuit was in the morning session and the time for this one was going to be a qualifier for worlds, and (if we'd had more competitors) a seeding for the evenings finals.
Our timing for warm up was a little off, we warmed up really early and then sat for a long time waiting to go. We were nervous. We were starting with an electronic holder for the first time and also that morning we'd had to cut my aero bars because they were too far out to be UCI legal. So we went to the start with no practice in this new position, and no practice with an electronic holder. We'd practiced 3k pursuits before but never done one in competition.
Our start out of the holder was just fine, but going into turn one, the bike started wobbling and I had to come out of the aerobars. It was about a lap before I felt comfortable enough to go back into them. After we got our rhythm we felt ok and finished the race without further issue. Our time was 4:15 and we were a little disappointed with that.
The evening session was the finals, and since the time wasn't going to be a worlds qualifier if you were passed by your competitor the gun would be shot and the race would be over. We started the race so much better, relaxing into corner one, staying well within the lane, and gradually getting up to speed. Our following laps were substantially faster. We got caught about halfway through so we were disappointed not to be able to get a new (and better) time but we were thrilled with our improvement. Our next race is the Kilo on Sunday and we are chomping at the bit for that one, feeling more confident in our start and more confident all around.
It's a really great atmosphere here. There are lots of other Chicago folks here, and our new friends that we met at Blaine when we were up there training a couple weeks ago (who are all Elena's buddies) as well as people from all over that we know just from the racing scene in general.
Chicago's Val Brostrom rode a great scratch racing, taking a 10 lap flyer. Unfortunately she was caught but it was a gutsy beautiful move. XXX fielded a men's pursuit team and they were fourth overall. Former Chicagoan and current resident at the olympic training center, paralympic rider Greta Neimanas won a gold medal in the individual pursuit last night. But probably the most thrilling race so far was Chicagoan Joe Berenyi's individual pursuit. After Joe's ride it was the general consensus of the entire stadium that it was the best pursuit win everyone had ever seen. It started out with Joe steadily losing ground to his competitor. In the final round of the pursuit, if you are caught by your competitor they shoot the gun and the race is over. It looked as if that was going to happen to Joe. But something changed and he started gaining ground. The crowd was going wild and he inched his way into the gold medal just before the finish. Everyone went nuts and Joe was thrilled.
Today we will be heading over to the track during the break to get in some laps, loosen up the legs and make sure our gear selection is right for tomorrow's Kilo.