So, I’m up way too late, still have to pack another bike, and I’m feeling like it would be good to download some Sydney World Cup thoughts before hopping on a plane to Beijing. I’m still trying to figure out blogging. I mean, I get the medium but I’m trying to figure out what I’m doing with it.
I can tell you that I rode my 500M time trial yesterday in 35.776, good for 12th place. My prep for the 500M is going into a monastic, zen-like state, only to rocket out of a starting gate for 2 laps and be done with it. 35.776 is not a pr, but faster than what I rode at Elite Nationals, and good enough to make Josiah Ng, Malaysian national hero, talk me up as the fastest 40 year old he knows. (For the record, I’m 38).
Keirin’s not my strongest event, so I was happy to get some good race time in today, and not just roll through it. I tried to take the front, tried to move to the front, hold the front, attacked, made some moves and didn’t just roll over. All part of the learning curve, and the other good thing is I’m not getting dropped. Just gotta figure out the gearing for this level.
The level of competition at a World Cup is SO MUCH higher than racing in the US, and the level of competition at THIS world cup—according to the guys like Jo who’ve been doing this for years—is higher than even the World Championships. Heck, the guy rode a 10.38 personal best for his 200M today, and still qualified 17th—one spot out of the tournament.
For Worlds and the Olympic games, stiff selection criteria is applied to keep the field size under control. But track powerhouse countries like Great Britain, France, Australia have ‘partnerships’ with folks like TOshiba, Cofidis and Science in Sport which feature their premier athletes on a UCI Trade Team. End of the day, all of their athletes are here chasing UCI points.
I got to catch the men’s madison and women’s keirin final tonight. Holy crap. That’s all I can say. Tonight, team USA mechanic Nick waxed on over beer about the poetry and beauty of the Madison. I gotta go with him on that. It looked dangerous. And it looked Freakin’ fast. Chaotic and awesome. I had to rely on my teammate, Theresa, to help me keep track of what was happening. I have no idea how the guys racing do it. 155rpm for 30+ minutes.
Perspective, I’m telling you. That’s what it’s all about.
In the Women’s Keirin Final, Jennie Reed wrestled with her bike for, oh, say, the last 2 1/2 laps, pounding every last lick of speed she could get out of it only to get nipped at the line by Vickie Pendleton. Wow, can that girl dig deep. An amazing ride for both of them. Jennie celebrated by going out to the McDonalds next door for dinner.
It was either that, the mini mart.
Watching Jennie race is watching 10 years of world class experience unfold in 2 1/2 laps of perfectly timed, perfectly executed moves. Same with the Dutch and Spaniards in the Madison. The Dutch put a lap on the field to win the with two laps to go. 2 laps to go. They left no room for a counter attack or error.
It’s overwhelming to think about where I’m at and what it will take to make the final or the tournament in a field like this. I’m not intimidated by the work, just stalled by the sheer magnitude of what it would take to make it happen. Stuff like coming into a World Cup with no time behind a motor. Haven’t had access to one, wasn’t in Canberra long enough to arrange it, don’t really have the money to hire it out anyways. I liked training on an indoor wooden velodrome for 2 months before racing LA last year. I don’t like going into an event of this magnitude winging it. Not my style.
It’ll be good to go to Beijing, though. If for no other reason than to change some things I didn’t do right here—stuff like kicking too soon in the 200M, under gearing in the Keirin rep—and arrive healthy this time, and see if it makes a difference.
I’m racing for my UCI trade team, Verducci/Breakaway in Beijing. Word on the street is that the pollution is so dense, you can’t see more than 400meters in front of you. We’re all kind of joking about wearing face masks, but I don’t get the sense we’ll be doing much road riding. And Jess’ mom warned us not to eat salads or turtle soup. Should be interesting.
gotta run. gotta pack. gotta sleep.
Thanks for tuning in.
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