October 5, 2008

Nationals Recap

Tuesday night, Jeanie, Nathan, Charlie, and I boarded Alaska flight 560 for LAX. Nationals. Finally. I had light expectations, considering the season I've had and my weak motivation lately.

Our house was a 3 minute walk from Manhattan Beach. The beach was not heavliy used, even on the first hot, Wednesday morning. Brian was surfing before most of us got up. I put it on my list of things to do the next day. That afternoon I did not have a race, so I hopped on the track for a bit to regain my bearings. It takes a few laps on ADT to shake the feeling that you're going to slip. This year's turnout looked to be light compared to the past 3 years I've been here. Brian, Nathan, and Mark put out a standing 250 and the rest of us... stood. And cheered.

Thursday morning, I spent more time in any ocean than I ever had. Jeannie, Mark, Brian, and I, along with our house quiver of 1 surf board and 2 boogie boards went down to the beach. It wa about 9:00am and 70 degrees! I had SO MUCH fun. I didn't let that evening's race affect my wave time. Nothing irrigates your sinuses like a few salt water waves crashing on your head.

The water romp must have been a good idea because that night I rode my fastest 500m. time on that track, 39.021. SO close to sub 39. Oh well. I'm far from fastest though, as that time placed me 9th. But I was content with a PR at the end of a blah season. Cari won her first gold metal of the week.

Friday morning, we were awakened by members of the other house, so I was a GRUMP. I big, nasty why-did-you-not-be-quiet-and-let-me-sleep grump. But after breakfast, Jeanie and I went to the beach again. The waves were grumpy and rip-like, so we mostly sat on our boards right where the water stretched and dug our feet into the coarse sand and absorbed the sea air. Very nice.

The morning's rage was released in my first heat of the keiren. I won the heat with quite a gap. I was confident going into the semi-finals. I got into a box- no problem, but right when I decided to crawl out, another rider bumped my onto the apron. Not a huge deal. Rubbin's racing, but it messed up my rhythm, and I finished 4th. 3 went to the final. Grrr. Then in the minor final, I finished 2nd behind Liz, which landed me 8th. We later found out that Liz was disqualified after a series of bogus calls, so I was placed 7th.

Saturday morning, my legs did not agree with the idea of going to the beach. Instead, I enjoyed it from the big windows of our kitchen. I hung around, ate lots of granola and yogurt, and made a spreadsheet of everyone's 500 splits. I also looked forward to the sprints that night.

Well, I think my lack of training this... year affected my endurance. I was TIRED- during warm up, while waiting to ride... and apparently in my 200 meter TT. I posted my official worst time ever on this track. 12.9 is .2 slower than last year, and .4 slower than the 3 times before that. Crazy. The 4th-7th qualifying times were all 12.9 something. Tight!

My first sprint was against Colleen. The first ride was very close- photo finish in her favor. The second ride was not as close, but she successfully sent me to the minor final in 2 rides. I wasn't too disappointed. I rode smart and did my best. She had quite a turn of speed and eventually earned a bronze medal.

As I was spinning on the rollers, waiting for the 5-8 final, a lady in a USADA shirt came up to Jeanie and I and asked who Heather was. "Guess what Brian, we're going to be here until midnight again. I have to pee in a cup." At that moment, I began drinking lots and lots and lots of water. I still had to race, so that bought me some time. After finishing my sprints, where I finished 3rd in the group to earn 7th overall, I continued to take in liquid and change bike wheels. Eventually, I decided to go with the lady to the super secret place. And in a surprizing short amount of time (read August 2005), I "produced." It helped to have the lady talk to me about everything else but peeing. I was back to the track in time to watch Brian and Dean in their keiren minor final.

So, all in all, it was a good week. I'm glad to have had successful races under all my circumstances. Cari swept the sprint races- 500, keiren, sprints, and I ahve to assume the team sprint. What a great birthday gift for herself. We hopped to 6:15 morning flight back home and I spent the entire day laying around and cuddling with kitties.