Most Epic Track Adventures

July 9, 2008

By Beth Welliver

shammy buttr galoreEpic – normally a word reserved to describe 5+ hour mountain bike rides or something like that. But when chamois time passes the 8-hour point, I’m pretty sure we’ve moved into the realms of epicness. Even if we were just at the track.

Sunday was the epic track day. Proman sponsored an International Omnium at Hellyer. Five events, lowest point total at the end of the day wins based on a system where first place gets 1 point, 5th place gets 5 points, etc. We did a 200m TT, 10-lap scratch race, 2000m individual pursuit, which is pretty much a TT, 20-lap points race, and a 500m TT. A really fun sequence of racing…it just took a really long time.

Before I get into the details a huuuuge thanks to track rock star Beth Newell. She pulled me aside first thing and talked me thru the different events and took me out on the track to show me how to do a flying 200. All day long she was full of tips and gave me feedback on every race, all while focusing on her own racing and winning the whole darn thing. Very cool.

I showed up at the track with my brand spanking new Pista and immediately Hernando wanted to change my tires because that’s what Hernando does. But changing the wheelset meant jumping up to a huge gear. So I went with what I had and did my 200m. And spun my gear out between turn three and four. My time was respectable, so I was still happy and I think I did most of the things Beth told me.

So the wheels got changed and then it was time for the scratch race. I suddenly felt like I was riding a stolen prosie bike with the new wheels and bigger gear – I had no idea that could make such a difference. The race itself – lots of nervous wheels made me nervous. Sabine did a great attack, then I did a rookie attack from the front so I didn’t really get away, then we were tired, and then it was over and I was boxed in near the back. Ten laps is really short.

Next was the 2000m pursuit. Six laps all out. Well, my first three laps weren’t so all out, then I got on it and finished up okay. I had no idea what 6 laps would feel like, so I’d like a do-over on that one. But either way, I think that distance by yourself will always be a sufferfest no matter what.


Photo courtesy of Standers

Feeling exhausted, the sun beating down, my Scandinavian skin tones shifting from a soft pink to a deep red, we got ready for the points race. Sabine rocks at points races so I knew we would have fun working the front. But this rookie made another mistake in this one…I thought we were on lap 16, with points up for grabs on lap 15. So I got a good run from mid-pack and suddenly had a lot of speed and checked the lap card as we came through the line – it said 17 laps to go…CRAP! I was already going too fast to turn it off and knew I couldn’t hold it for 2 laps, but I stupidly went anyway. But it set up an exciting sprint for lap 15 and I pedaled my ass off to stay with the front group of speedy chics as they went by. And then Superwoman Sabine bridged up to us and made me sooo happy. She would roll to the front and I could get a breather before we would sprint off again. Next time I’ll get on her wheel as she floats by because her lead out is magic (sorry Sabine!!). But I was honestly in survival mode every time. The bummer was that for all our hard work, I think I only scored one point I think. But I felt like I actually belonged in that race, which was a huge confidence boost.

Another hour of forcing oneself to not throw back an icy cold Fat Tire while we waited for the 500m TT. I really liked this distance. It was a standing start, so getting on top of the gear at the beginning seemed tough but once I got going it was fun. My time again was not too bad, so I was happy. And happy that I could finally get out of that stinky jersey and chamois! I finished 6th, one spot away from the podium.

Overall, a great day.  Really fun. I am really loving the track.

AVC easy as 123

June 27, 2008

by: Sabine Dukes

The American Velodrome Challenge is sort of the NRC of track racing. I remember watching the San Jose stop of the AVC last year at Hellyer. I had just started racing on the track and I was in total awe of the women’s racing.

Andrea starts the keirinSo, one year later, I’m still in awe. I had planned on just watching and partaking of the free wine offered at the AVC, but bella Andrea had made the trip down from Portland to race, and well, you know how i love myself some teammates.

I decided to do the miss and out and the scratch race.

The miss and out is like musical chairs. Each lap there is a sprint, and the last one across the line is out. Repeat until you are down to three and then sprint. I hate the miss and out. It gives me anxiety attacks. I was a complete nervous wreck at the start, wondering what I was doing. Since I am horrible at positioning, I decided to take the front. While this is the safest place to be, its also the most work because there is no draft. I am in no kind of fitness to be pulling such a stunt, but, damn it was fun anyway. I lasted quite a few more rounds than expected and then I finally blew up and was out. I finished 11th, which is just out of the official placings. I almost placed at an AVC!

Susie was waiting with some wine for me to celebrate.

Next up was the Scratch Race. A scratch race is like a mini criterium. First across the line at the end wins. Simple enough. Except Proman was out in force to attack and set Shelly up for the win. The stop and go of responding to attacks was getting tough because I was in my massive 93inch gear. So, I decided to attack where at least I could roll at a constant speed. I bridged up to Hanan, but just as I caught her, I could see she was fading. Damn. I made it out there for almost two laps, so that was exciting. The rest of the race I mostly just recovered from that effort. Afterwards, I wondered what I was thinking by attacking, but what the hell. In the end, shelly lapped the field, and Andrea finished strong in the top ten. (andrea placed an awesome 4th in the sprints too!)

Susie was waiting again with some more wine to Celebrate.

While I was definitely outclassed, I am so glad I did those races. It was a complete thrill to line up and race with so many strong women. A total thrill.

And the wine was good too.

Thanks to Rob Evans for the photo.