Saturday, October 9, 2010

More Track Nationals Reports

Hi everyone,

I'm very happy to report that the Bridge Team scored a bronze in the team pursuit at the Elite Track Nationals last week. Here is the podium photo:

Kudos to Haley and Jane (and Dan) for all the hard work they put in training and practicing! Thanks to Dan for driving all our bikes and equipment down to Carson and being director sportif, coach, mechanic, timer, and photographer for the week! Thanks also to Rich and Mary Ellen Allen, Leo, Jim Turner, and Eliot (did I miss any other AVers?) for supporting us in Carson! It was great to have a cheering section.

Here's Jane's report:
Elite Track National Championships

Team Pursuit 9/30/2010, teammates: Haley and Andi

Our first race was the team pursuit on Thursday: our team was Andi, me, and Haley. We had our order set, our strategy ready, and our communications agreed on. Unfortunately, it didn't go as smoothly as we'd hoped. The plan was for Andi to start and take one-lap pulls, followed by me taking two-lap pulls, then Haley taking one-lap pulls. Our start was okay, and I floated the second lap at 19.0 seconds, then apparently Haley and I were both feeling really good, because we went much faster than we'd planned, with me doing my second lap at 18.1 and Haley holding that pace exactly. Andi was feeling the pace a little, but she did her lap well and then I was on the front again. I'm not entirely sure how it happened after that, but sometime during my two-lap pull Haley and I gapped Andi, and I heard her say "down down down" as we'd agreed. Unfortunately, shortly after I first heard it I heard something else (it may have even been a spectator saying something), and thought that she was back on, so I kept going after a brief slowdown. Unfortunately, I was wrong, and when I pulled off for my exchange I saw Andi a little ways behind and realized my mistake. I wasn't thinking clearly though, and assumed that Haley knew that she was still off, so it took us another lap and a half for us to all come together again. I stayed on front for 3 laps to spare Andi (since she'd been in the wind going full speed for 3 laps) and Haley led us through the final lap. Despite falling apart for a few laps, we still managed to clock a 4:00, which I think is still pretty good.

There were only four teams registered, which meant that all four teams got to ride again for the finals - 1 vs 2 and 3 vs 4. We ranked 3rd. Since there weren't any other events going on that afternoon besides the Men's Team Pursuit, we only got about 30-40 minutes before we had to race again, but even though we were tired, we were glad to get a second chance. We got off to a bit of a slow start, and we were definitely tired, but we knew the other team was tired too. Coach Dan decided that since Andi had been forced to chase us for a couple of laps, she should take half-lap pulls. For the first few laps we were actually a quarter lap behind the other team, but we held it together and picked up the pace a bit, while the other team got tired and fell apart. By the end we were more than a quarter lap up on them, not far from catching them. Our time was 3:58.742, and we beat the 4th place team by nearly 8 seconds. We were all pretty thrilled to have won a bronze medal at Elite Nationals! I was lucky to have Haley and Andi on my team, they were fantastic.


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Friday, October 1, 2010

Track Nationals: Jane Wolcott

Individual Pursuit 10/1/2010

Friday afternoon was the individual pursuit, but my legs weren't feeling as good as they were the day before. I had a pretty good start, and I floated the second and third laps just like I planned. Then I thought my legs were feeling pretty good, so I upped the pace and did a couple of sub-19 laps, but unfortunately I couldn't hold it for long and ended up fading by the end, though I did still pass my opponent. I clocked a 4:01.298, which is a PR, but I had been hoping to break 4 by a few seconds (it was only my second pursuit ever). I was in the first heat, so I had to wait for everyone else to finish to find out if I'd made the finals or the podium. Unfortunately for me, another unknown showed up in the 3rd heat and beat my time by one second, then all four ladies in the last two heats beat her, so I ended up 6th. Haley and Andi both put in solid performances: Haley did her first ever Individual Pursuit (11th!), and Andi improved on her 3k time from Elite Districts.
Points Race 10/2/2010

The Points Race was on Saturday afternoon, and the first thing I had to do was race in a qualifying heat. The heat was 40 laps, with sprints every 10 laps, and the top ten qualified for the final. We only had 13 starters, so most of us would advance. My goal for the day was just to make the final. The heat started and we went fast! I think it was the fastest track race I'd ever been in, since I've pretty much only raced with the B men at Hellyer. I also found out quite quickly that although I was energetic and excited before the race, my legs were rather tired from all of the pursuiting. Fortunately I was able to get near the front on the last lap and got one point on the last sprint, which was enough to qualify me for the final. Then I got to wait 2.5-3 hours for the final, which was good actually, since my legs needed time to cool down, rest, and warm up again. It was also enough time that I could eat some food.

Since I was still feeling fairly tired, and I also have very little experience doing points races (especially in a fast field), my goals for the race were simple: don't get dropped and get at least one point. The final was 100 laps, sprints every 10 laps. The pace was fast, but it seemed less frantic than the qualifying heat, maybe because it was a longer race. I also had a bigger gear, so it may have been just as fast but I got used to it and wasn't spinning quite so fast. In any case, I was conservative for the first 50 laps, since I wasn't sure of my legs and also needed a bit of time to get comfortable racing in a pack of fast-moving women. With 50 laps to go, there was actually a crash on the home stretch, but luckily I was far enough behind that I could go up and over. I'm not sure how many people went down, but the race was soon neutralized and we were allowed to stop (and get water). Two girls were injured enough that they didn't restart, but several ladies who did go down (including Beth Newell) got back in when we restarted.

I was feeling a little less tired in the second half and started being a bit more active in the race, going with a couple of breakaway attempts, but nothing stuck for more than a lap or two. I still wasn't great at moving up through the pack, but when I did get near the front I responded to several attacks. Luck was with me in the last few laps, because when Cari Higgins and Hanan Alves-Hyde went off the front, I had the opportunity to bridge when the girl in front of me decided to go for it (otherwise I was blocked in). I made it to the front group, though we ended up with almost no separation. There ended up being five of us strung out in front of the pack, which was close behind but so strung out that they weren't about to overtake us. Cari and Hanan were taking good pulls, but the other two girls pulled off after half a second on the front, so I took a good fast half-lap pull to keep us out there. I can't remember how many laps we were out there, but with about a lap and a half to go all I remember was trying to hang onto Hanan's wheel as she and Cari accelerated. She pulled away from me very slowly and I just kept fighting to stay on her wheel, having no idea who was behind me or how far they were, just knowing that this was my last chance to win any points. Luckily, I think everyone behind me was suffering just as much and I got 3rd in that final sprint, netting myself 2 points. I got 12th in the race, which I think was pretty good for a beginner like me.

It was a great race to end the season, and I'm already looking forward to coming back next year and hopefully doing even better. Many thanks to Coach Dan for coming down to support us - he acted as Director Sportif, Coach, Mechanic, Driver, and Photographer!


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