Thursday, July 29, 2010

FSA GP Race Report

Thought I would share the race report I wrote for my team....

A few short days separated the Alpenrose Velodrome Challenge held in Portland, OR and the hometown (Redmond, WA) FSA Grand Prix, two premier track cycling events held in the West Coast. As many of you are well aware, the $15,000 prize purse attracts the nation's finest as well as some international competitors looking to make rent in
July. But what you may not know is this year the men and women prize purse was equal and the women actually outnumbered the men in the Madison and Sprint Tournament. Let's hear it for the ladies!

The racing was held in typical whirlwind fashion with Friday hostingthe 500m time trial, team sprint and Keirin in the afternoon sessions and then later that night - the Keirin Finals, scratch race and grand finale of a 40 lap points race. Talk about a long day - as we didn't get home till about midnight. The following morning we had to be back at the track for the 200m time trial no later than 8:30am to warm up.
It's important to have a good 200m time as it seeds you into the sprint tournament that lasts all day. We had a short break between the sprints and evening session with the Miss and Out and Madison. A major benefit of racing this much in 36 hours is that it provides perfect practice for the international omnium (my focus for the 2010
season) where in 6 hours competitors do a flying lap, scratch race, points race, 3k pursuit and 500m. With so much racing in such little time, it's important to be on your game mentally and have your nutrition, gearing and relaxation dialed in.

Details, details, details....

500m - I've been working on this technical effort from the start of the season with Jennie. This type of effort is all about the standing start, your ability to accelerate, kick it into second gear, feel pain as it seeps into your consciousness and then spin, spin, spin, push, push, push across the finish line. I rolled up to the start physically and mentally ready - as earlier in the week I concentrated on
visualizing the perfect race. Visualization works wonders as I did a personal best of 38.345 - nearly 1.5 seconds off my previous time. I know what you must be thinking, 1.5 seconds? Big deal! But in the world of sprints were mere fractions of a second separate you from winning - that was huge. Setting a personal record going into a long
weekend of racing is a great way to increase your confidence, that's for sure!

I opted out of the team sprint (as it's not part of the omnium and would get my fill of racing that weekend) but got to cheer on Broadmark's very own Rosalyn and Rebbe - bring it home with a gold medal ride! Well done ladies!

Keirin - with a previous World Champion and two time Olympian Jennie Reed in the field - you can bet all eyes were on her. And she put on a spectacular show, bringing Tela with her for second place in the final.

Scratch race - 34 ladies lined up at the rail to have a gander at the 30 lap scratch race. The pace was fast at times with multiple primes available throughout the race. With 5 laps to go, I did some time in the front, hoping to keep the pace high and crash free in the final laps of the race. Other ladies followed suite and in a well timed move by Jennie with two laps to go, I had great positioning and followed
the Laura "Smiling Assassin" McCaughey and Peanut Butter Co/Twenty 12 Cari Higgins to the line for third.

Points race - the effects of being out in the sun all day were starting to take its toll, plus it was late! We started our 40 lap points race well after 10pm. All I can tell you is that I remember the first and last sprint - with everything in between a complete mystery. It's amazing how much concentration and attention mass start races
require and if you're not on your game, it's far too easy to check out. You can bet money I'll be working on those long term endurance concentration for marathon days of racing. I can't wait for another opportunity! Tied for third coming into the final sprint, I gave it everything I had but wasn't able to come around enough people, placing me in 6th. After a long day in the saddle and sitting in the sun - I'll take it!

----- 5 hours of sleep -----------

Wake up fresh as a daisy to do a 200m time trial to get into the sprint tournament. It was hard to wake the body up - and my time reflected that. Tela and I both had similar times, which would mean that we'd face off in the first round of the sprint tournament. I have to be honest - it's really hard to compete against your training
partner, teammate and friend. I provided a perfect lead out for the speedster, launching her into the second round and making it hard on myself by going through the reps. The tactics required in sprints are far from natural for me so I struggled with positioning and timing my moves. However, keeping an open mind and keeping that ego in check will do wonders for how much you can learn in an afternoon. Later in the session I went up against Jen Featheringill and nearly beat her by using the tactics I learned from the previous rounds. I'd tell you what I learned - but then I'd have to kill you. :) All in all the tournament went well - as I had originally qualified in 8th and moved
up to 6th overall. In the sprinter world - if you can advance higher than your 200m time placement then that's a good day.

Miss and Out - We had more ladies show up to do this race with 39 starters! And thanks to a mechanical, our neutral lap became three extra hot laps as a girl tried to get back into the pack. It was a constant battle to be in the front of the group, leading the charge and as a result there was a lot of chopped wheels. Thankfully no one wrecked. I ended up 9th... while the rest of the ladies battled it out in probably the scariest race of the weekend.

Woman's Madison - A record number eleven teams showed up ready to race the Ryan Triplett Memorial Madison with 6 teams in full on battle for points in the 40 lap race. I partnered up with Val Brostrom from Chicago as we wanted to get more practice in before Nationals come October. Our exchanges went well, in that we didn't miss a single one and took advantage of other teams when they did and attacked.
Amazingly though the teams stayed together and it was a battle for those precious points. Laura and Tela partnered up, winning the race followed by Cari Higgins and Hanan Alves-Hyde (Peanut Butter) in second and Val and I third. We were bummed the race was over and definitely could have done at least 20 more laps but will get another
opportunity in LA in a 25k Madison. I can't wait!

Well if you've made it this far in the report - congratulations. Hopefully it wasn't as exhausting to read as it was race it.

Up next - training for Elite Track Nationals at the end of September.

Thank you to everyone who came out and raced, cheered, screamed and drank beer.


1 comment:

Monas said...

Thanks for the race report Jen (sorry I haven't checked you out for a while and am catching up)! I just love the positive attitude of the US towards women in cycling (and if you think that isn't the case, you might need to check out Australia for comparison!). Take care, Monique