• Bloomer Park, Rochester Hills, MI

  • Racing the Provincial's Crit 2014

  • Forest City Velodrome - London, ON

  • Larkenville Challenge, Buffalo, NY

  • Winning the Sprint at the ForestCity Velodrome

  • Track Nationals 2014: Keirin

  • Track Nationals 2014: Points Race

  • OCUP #1: Feb 2015

I fully intended to blog about my experiences while traveling around the southern US, but given the opportunity to sit on the patio in the sun relaxing, or sitting in front of the computer, I choose relaxing.

In case you were not aware, I left on Friday, April 19 for Brevard, NC to join the Real Deal training camp to ride the mountains in the area. On Thursday, April 25, I traveled with the Real Deal Elite team to Athens, GA to watch them race the Terrapin Twilight Crit and the Roswell Crit - both of which I raced in the amateur categories while they raced with the Pros. Since I was 1.5 hrs away from Atlanta, I left them on Monday, April 29 to travel to Atlanta, GA to race and train on the Dick Lane Velodrome. I was one spot of the podium on the Omnium for the Working Man's Two Day race. For me, other than watching the Real Deal guys race with the pros in the Terrapin Twilight, this probably was the highlight of the trip. I got to ride/race on a big track for the first time. On Thursday, May 2, I packed up the car, and headed to Cleveland, OH where I did some 54km on the Cleveland Velodrome. That was a treat because it's five hours from Toronto, and somewhere I intend to return to often. I got home late Friday, May 3, only to leave for London, ON on Saturday, May 4 to be there early for the Springbank Crit on Sunday, May 5. So, It's been a whirlwind trip over the last two weeks driving from here to there, parking in a hotel, getting the bikes ready, and repeat. I am happy to be home...but that has lead to a bit of a delima.

When I left for the training camp, I was two weeks off track racing and had not really transitioned into road mode. The training camp helped greatly in getting my road legs back. Getting my road legs back happened a lot faster than last year, but I have to admit, with training and racing on the track all winter, road takes a back burner until April when it becomes obvious I'm behind everyone else at road races. However, I like racing the track. I could ignore road because there will be options to race in Cleveland and at Bloomer Park in Detroit, but given the travelling requirements, that would not happen as often as I would like. So, I am left wondering where I would like to fit it. Road in the summer? Track?

Last year, I crashed out of the Tour of Terra Cotta, and it kind of turned me off of road racing. Part of the problem, is that in order to be good, you have to have some kind of nature talent or be able to quickly pickup the skills required to win. I tend to learn a bit more slowly. On the track, I surmize that it took some 20 race nights before I was mildly compitent and did not have the feeling I was out of my league. I am not there yet with road racing. Racing on the track happens at the Forest City Velodrome about every 1-2 weeks and one does about 2-5 races in an evening. They gives one the ability to try things out and make mistakes. The learning curve is smaller on the track because of the frequency of racing, nevermind, races only last about 10-20 mins. On the road, races last between 30mins to hours...and usually end in a bunch sprint. That means, you spend sometimes hours riding a bike to learn how to sprint: ONCE. In Ontario, we get about 8-10 opporunities to do that in a season. To me, that is not a lot of time to develop experience. Therefore, for someone like me, it can take years to develop the experience to know where to be and when during a race to be able to sprint to get the podium all the time racing with this years first timers who can not hold a line. Travelling through the US and racing 4 corner or more crits I discovered something I did like: crit racing. 30min races and a sprint. Opportunity to learn faster.

Therein is my delima. Race road? Stick with racing crits? Take the summer off, do a pile of group rides, and wait for track to start up again? With each decipline in cycling a different skill set is required. Track requires the ability to spin high cadences and liking riding at treshold. Cross requires superior bike handling skills and liking time trialing for 40 mins while getting on/off your bike. Road racing requires a mix is skills including moving around the pack while being bar to bar. Crit racing requires being great at corning at speed. Lose that wheel in front of you on a corner often enough, and one gets spit out the back of the pack in no time.

The problem with so many subsets of cycling racing without the overall cycling environment is that it hard to be good all of them. I was told couple years ago that I can't be good at everything - one of the reasons I dropped cross. As I re-read this post some days after I started it, I think I've come closer to figuring out what I want to do. My goals for the season re-adjusted yet again. This year was meant to be more about training.

Goals:

1) Keep it fun. In some cases, that means forgetting about standing on the podium.

2) Stick with the track. Keep up with the Wed training in London as much as possible. I have a new carbon track frame coming from China next week so I have reason to try it out.

3) Forget about road races with the yellow line rule. I would rather be a commissarie and watch these races. If the race is longer than an hour, forget it.

4) Race crits and work on corning. This is closer to track racing anyways in the way of the intensity. I was spit out the back at the Terrapin Twilight in Athens, GA large because I kept losing position on the corners. The Midweek Crit isn't a great place to learning cornering, so I intend to get down to Buffalo, NY on Thursday nights as much as possible. The Buffalo Cycling Club runs a four corner crit. I could practice corners on my own, and I will do so, but there is nothing like a race environment for overcome fear. Either you follow the wheel, or you don't and risk getting dropped. There isn't the same pressure when out training on your own. Also, at Midweek, I intend to do a lot of stupid things like attacking off the front for the hell of it, going for preems and then finish DFL, etc.. Generally, working on fitness.

 

 

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