This will be a short entry. How much can you say about a 45-50 second race?
My day started earlier than most. I was up at 4:15am packing and making oatmeal. I left the house a half hour later – not sure what I was forgetting (or caring at this time of the morning!). I knew I had to get across Denver before the commuters woke up and clogged the highway. It was dark as I rolled out the driveway and the drive into Denver was busy but the highways were far from capacity. We moved along at the posted speed limits and I snuck through Denver without incident. Then I realized that I might hit Colorado Springs at their rush hour since I wouldn’t get there until shortly before 7:00am. Oh well, I figured that Denver was a much worse potential problem and that had been avoided. I’d just have to deal with whatever traffic I was faced with in Colorado Springs. Much to my surprise — the traffic down there was almost non-existent. Maybe everyone was at church? (On a Friday?)
When I pulled into the velodrome parking area, I could see that there were numerous riders already out on the track warming up. I left my road bike and trainer in the car (I only used it on the first day…) and grabbed my cooler, my riding clothes and my bike. I settled in with Jim and Julie (and Max, their cat) and started warming up myself. Jim, my acting coach again, suggested a warm-up that consisted of several laps at low intensity (as many as it took to feel loose and warm) but then to add in a couple of hard, but sub-maximal 500M efforts to get the blood flowing. Then, for good measure, put in an all-out effort of 300-500M. Sounded a lot like what Alison would have said! I wonder if these coaches are all reading the same material! 😉
Once warmed up, Jim took Julie and me to the infield to practice our starts. The infield has a small inner track that is used primarily for rollerblading. Today it was used for warming up and cooling down. I felt powerful and I found that I couldn’t really wind up because the first time when I did, I almost wiped out cornering at the far end. I was just going too fast for the little track! I still practiced starting, but I modified the drill such that I only took one or two all-out revolutions after I started up. It was enough.
I had a good warm-up, but then I had to sit-around and wait for my turn to race. My friend Paul was doing a standing start race (a 2K race, I think) so I stuck around to support him and watch his race. He looked great at the start — but he must’ve left early because as soon as he started off, the official fired a second shot indicating a false start. Bummer! So, he made a U-turn and went back to the start line. As he started off a second time, I heard the double gun shot again. He’d false started again and was disqualified from the race. UGH! Hard to believe — Paul has worked harder than anyone for this event. He is one of my friends that has made a 100% commitment to these races. He was soooo ready. I just have to believe he was soooo ready that he might have been a bit anxious. Who knows. It was hard to watch this all unfold. I only wish him the very best and he deserves to reap the rewards of his hard work. Hopefully he won’t be too discouraged and he’ll re-double his efforts for next year.
Soon after Paul’s misfortune, I got the opportunity to take the track again. This race was totally different than either the Scratch race or the Sprints. This time, there was really no strategy. All I had to do was get a good, clean start and then ‘Pedal like a gerbil”. I felt confident that I could do that. How well, was another story. Two riders go at the same time – one starts on the start line, the other on the back stretch. I was on the back stretch which meant I would finish on the start/finish line. I liked that. I felt like that was a slight psychological advantage for me. I watched the riders that went ahead of me — much like a batter will watch a pitcher’s motion for a few at-bats before they take the batter’s box. I imagined myself on the line and listened to the ‘beep’s …. one at 30….then more beeps at 5, 4, 3, 2, 1…. and finally, a different sounding beep to indicate GO! I visualized myself sitting on the saddle, lifting straight up off the saddle on ‘2’, shifting my weight slightly back on ‘1’ and then thrusting forward and mashing my left pedal when I heard the final ‘GO!’ beep.
Then, there were no more other riders to watch — it was my turn. This time, Jim would not be my holder. There would be an official holder. I took my place on the line with confidence. Then drew a few deep breaths and set my focus at a spot up the track about 50-75 meters. The official up track waved a green flag indicating that I was ready and the count down should begin. Sure enough…. I started to hear beeping sounds! It took all of my focus to count them. I suspected that would be the case. I was so nervous about getting lost in the beeps and not knowing when to expect the ‘GO!’ beep. That was not the case. On ‘2’, I lifted smoothly out of the saddle, on ‘1’ I shifted back as if I’d done this before and then on ‘GO!’ I pulled on the handle bars and mashed the pedals. I kept mashing them as I accelerated down the track. My Fuji Pro rocked from side to side as it lumbered up to speed. It is incredibly hard to push those big gears from a stand-still and even harder when you know that you need to get up to speed NOW! I finally got up to what I felt was my top speed and I sat down into the saddle and tried to ‘Pedal like a gerbil’. I dug deep and just kept trying to go faster and faster. There were moments when I felt like I might’ve been able to go faster still, but a part of me was concerned about blowing up and not having enough to power across the line. Since this was only my second or third time riding a 500M distance, I really was lacking any historical data. I have more data now though. I came across the line in 42.770. Of course, I had no idea what a good time was from a bad time. I just knew my time. When all was said and done, I finished 3rd in my age group. The gal who came in second ahead of me with a time of 41.333 was the American and World Record holder coming into the event, and Rita Kacala finished first with a time of 39.439 and a new American and World Record!! I felt pretty good about being within a couple of seconds of f the world record. In fact, this might be a record I could hold myself someday — I think I still had a little more in the tank. Just need to practice so that I get it all out of the tank during the race!
|Women – Master – 55–59|
|1||Rita Kacala||Racine, WI||39.439||Nova Cycle Sports Fndtn|
|2||Lenita Anthony||San Diego, CA||41.333||Team RTS Revolution|
|3||Sandra North||Berthoud, CO||42.77||Blue Sky Velo|
|4||Valerie Tiemann||Spring, TX||45.427||Northwest Cycling Club|
|5||Debra Cavender||Troy, MI||46.949||Fraser Bicycle & Fitness|
|6||Jean Zeh||Colorado Springs||48.184|
|Women – Master – 60-64|
|1||Linda Miller||Valley Center, CA||41.933||Eddie B Cycling|
|2||Charlotte Miller||Colorado Springs, CO||42.047||Pikes Peak Velo|
|2||Jeanette Fitzgerald||Santa Ana, CA||45.368||Veloce Santiago|
|Women – Master – 65-69|
|1||Bonnie Woodbury||Escondido, CA||42.893|
|2||Patricia Riddle||La Jolla, CA||43.879||Racing Against Diabetes|
|3||Marsha Macro||Littleton, CO||45.354||Hammer Racing Team|
|4||Mare Chapman||Madison, WI||50.097|
|5||Jo Johnson||Wilmington, DE||50.922||Team TBB/Deep Blue|
|Women – Master – 70-74|
|1||Patricia Baker||Laguna Hills, CA||54.592||Cal-Pacific Export Packers|
|2||Julie Lockhart||Dunstable Ma||57.410||Northeast Bicycle Club|