October 7, 2006

Nationals comes to an end.....

Today was the keiren and the team sprint. The day began with the keiren heats. This was a mess to begin with, as many riders scratched for a variety of reasons. The heats were reseeded 2 times (?) and then changed again right before we started. When the reseeding shook out, the heats were very uneven. I was in the last of three heats. I did not get the motor and after trying to squeeze into 2nd and 3rd spot, I finally settled in the 4th position and stayed there until the sprint engaged. I think I was 3rd across the line and the top 2 went through to the next round automatically.

Next Donna and I rode our team sprint. She got out of the blocks hecka fast and almost dropped me!!! Once I got on, I screamed at her to Go ! Go! Go! I did my part and I we got 39.5, which was almost the exact difference in our 500m. times. It wasn't fast enough for the finals. Donna just keeps getting faster and faster.

My reparcharge (second chance) keiren ride was next. (Did I spell that right?) First of all, I have to talk about my pedal situation. I have never come out of my speedplay pedals, but I decided to have Brian rig mine up with single straps, so it wouldn't happen. I was second to the motor on this ride and spent the first laps sweeping my spot, keeping the other riders back. I knew that Kara Vidaca was behind me on the outside, but didn't know anything about the rest of the group. When the motor pulled off, I kept the pace as fast as I wanted to go. Coming around to see 2 to go, someone ran into my pedal. I didn't realize it at the time, but it sheared my shoe buckle right off. Finally, I attacked and came around the first girl, taking Kara with me for the last lap. I won that round. I then realized I was missing part of my shoe, rolled around to collect it from the official that had picked it up. I had the mechanic electrical tape my shoe on for the rest of the day.

The semi final ride had 7 riders. This time I was first behind the motor. As we rode I noticed Anna Lang behind me on the outside and Liz Carlson on the inside. Again, I just tried to keep my spot clear. I don't remember exactly how things went when the motor pulled off. I kept the pace steady and then noticed Anna beginning to come over the top. I hooked up, but unfortunately timed it a little late, since she was already there, and it caused her to react up track. Somewhere in there, my right pedal got caught up again, this time breaking the strap. I just kept going as hard as I could, but heard a ticking sound, thinking it was a broken spoke, but finally figure out that the strap was flying around. Eventually, the strap wrapped around my pedal spindle, making it hard to pedal. The top 3 went through to the final round, but I only managed 4th.

Then the announcement came that I was somewhat expecting to hear. "Number 21, Heather VanValkenburg had been relagated to the end place for making a sudden movement that caused another rider to move up track." I thought this was kind of funny, since I wasn't going to go through to the finals anyway, but I guess the officials wanted to make a point. I'm sure a coach/ holder balked as well.

It was over and I was fine with it. I rode in the 9-12 minor final. This time the pedal drama played out as an unclipping at the start line. so I wound up (after clipping back in) at the end of the train. I spent some time in the wind in the last lap before the motor pulled off. On the attack, I pretty much ran out of gas, and didn't feel confident that my pedal would stay connected to my shoe. I rolled in last.

SOAP BOX- So, every time I ride aggressively, I learn a lot about other riders and the company they keep. Many shrug their shoulder and tell me something like, "Nice hook." Since I know other riders read this sometime let me say my damn peace. Keiren riding can be about making jerky movements to keep others away. I agree that my last move was dangerous, since the rider was already halfway around me. Danger happens. However she was half- wheeling me for most of the lap anyway. Don't ride there. Riding bikes and racing is dangerous. I overheard someone's coach/ holder say that is was nasty and his rider growled that it was the dirtiest move she ever saw. REALLY? Are you kidding me? Have you ever seen MEN racing? They're all over the place. They bump, they hook, they come down on other riders, they get away with a lot and the other riders GET OVER IT. And to the man who kept trying to harrass me the rest of the afternoon, I heard you and I ignored you, thinking that it was funny you put so much energy into your mission- whatever it was. My 6th grade students are more mature.

On the flipside, a few other complimented my aggresiveness. One rider told me that her husband cheered when he saw my blatent, "Back the #!*@ off." I don't plan to comprimise my aggresive style because it's not nice. Yes, I will finesse it, clean it up a bit, but I'll take a relegation anyday over sitting in a race and watching it happen.

No hardware this year. I wasn't fast enough. And the sprints are already a distant memory. There are some fast girls out and I'm looking forward to seeing that caliber of competition next year.

Elite Nationals October 6, 2006

Tonight I had my 500m. TT. Again, I didn't have the best gear, feeling a little easy this time. The gear made sense. It was an inch smaller than at Colorado Springs in August and after my overgear in ithe 200m, it seemed right. I guess it was right for my start, but when I sat down after only about 120 meters I knew I'd feel spun out. My time of 39.12 was almost a half second faster than my last 2 times on this track. And if you consider the elevation factor (1 second slower that at the springs), it was an alright time, but not stellar. It landed me 9th out of 28 riders.

A little later, I was chatting with Kara Vidaca about our ride. We were joking about something, when a recognizable guy on crutches hopped up the stairs behind her. I was in mid sentence....

"Hey, turn around and check out the guy in crutches." She was a little surprised to see Floyd hobble righ tpast her. Her was there for a short interview and to present awards for the men's team pursuit and the women's points race. Later, when he left, Donna stopped him and we took photos. it was a fun surprise.

So, Donna broke her own world record again. The new 50+ world record is 39.857. The old lady got 18th overall. She had to fill out some official forms to seal the dealio!

October 5, 2006

Well, we all have bad days. Unfortunately, my most recent bad day was on a very important one. To begin with, my 200m. time was pretty slow for me. In retrospect, I had too big of a gear. Noted: 96" is too big. I guess that's good information for next time. My first ride was against Anna Lang. I rode a decent race overall, but didn't quite make it around in time. I lost by a nudge. My second ride was the last chance to stay in the game. It was a 3 up against Cari Higgins (lost to her at master's nationals) and Shelby Allen (whose gotten faster since beating me last year at nationals. Fast or not, the problem wasn't my legs, but between my ears. I left my balls in Oregon I suppose, finishing last of us three. So, I think I got about 9th overall. Shelby went on to the semi finals tonight. I'll find Cari later and see if she wants to go get a beer (Haley, delete that last sentence for the students.)

Tonight, Deano (Moses) and Stevo get to pop off their kilo. Let's go boys! Tomorrow night is my 500m. Stomp and go.