Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Winter track racing and the remainder of the 2014(-15) sesason.

The tail end of my 2014 season was quite busy with winter track racing. There was the Burnaby 4 Day, the UCI Milton International Challenge and finally the Berlin Six Day.

Kelyn Akuna and the crew at the Burnaby Velodrome have been doing a great job putting on fun and exciting events for racers and spectators alike. Their marquee event for the year is the Burnaby 4 Day. This year had one of the best fields in recent memory and a more 'Euro Six Day' feel. Each night of racing there was junior and lower category racing, sprint events, a stellar women's field and a crazy fast elite men's field that was based on two man teams and the madison. In addition there was music, food and most importantly lots of BEER.

The racing was fierce. I was paired with US road sprint superstar Tyler Farrar. Germany was represented by the super solid Schwiezer borthers, Michael and Christoph. Canada had the Flying Squirrel Jacob Schwingboth and Zach Bell. The event was eventually won by the other American pairing of Daniel Holloway and Jacob Duerhing who took a lap early of the first chase of the first night. My partner seemed to be having some difficulty finding track legs after some time away from a Velodrome and having come from off season with a big road season with MTN-Qhubeka coming up. I am already looking forward to the winter season at Burnaby for 2015-16!


The UCI Milton International Challenge was the test event for the Pan-Am Games to be held this summer in Toronto. the Velodrome was still just completing construction and the was just the 2nd event to be help at the facility, with Canadian Nationals happening just days before. This a beautiful facility with all that you would want in a world class velodrome. It is also the new home of Canadian Cycling. In the three days of competition I rode in the team pursuit and scratch on day one, the omnium over the second two days and finshed up with a madison following the omnium points race. I got to meet one my favorite track cyclists with awesome hair, Curt Harnett! He is involved with the facility and was also handing out medals. I ended up 2nd in the scratch and team pursuit and 3rd in the omnium.
photo: Jeremy Allen
photo: Jeremy Allen


Wow Berlin. Every year people ask me how Berlin was and I really have a hard time summing it up. Its Awesome, Overwhelming, Inspiring, Loud, FUN. I am so lucky to have ridden the stayer races at the Berling Six Day for the past three years. Going 80-90 kph behind big motors, racing against 7 other teams of cyclist/motors in front of 13,000 enthusiastic people every night for six nights in a row. its amazing. It is also really hard to return to reality afterwards!

Friday, November 14, 2014


The Velo Sports Center hosted the Los Angeles Grand Prix UCI track race again this year. On tap for the endurance side was just an omnium. The attendance for the women's field was awesome and the racing was damn exciting. the men's field was small with only 12 riders, but there was plenty of talent. There were good crowds for the evening sessions and riding in front of a crowd always makes things more fun! This was only the second time I have gotten to race the "new new" version of the six event omnuim. If you don't know about that change you can read HERE!

Event 1. Scratch Race.
My most confident event. things played out well for me. the bunch stayed together and I had a good wheel headed in to the final sprint. I won quite comfortably. This was huge for my motivation.

photo: Jinna Albirght

Event 2. Individual pursuit.
Not usually a great event for me. I have been spending more time trying to get better at the pursuit. I did break the 12 year old Alpenrose Velodrome pursuit record this summer. I would be in the last pairing riding against Bobby Lea, who has been flying this year more than usual even. During the start I actually felt in control. I didn't start too hard like usual. My 2nd-4th laps were a touch fast but I then settled into my tempo. I rode my target or one tenth below for EVERY lap of the final 3k! I had a very steady ride (perhaps a little more to give in the tank) and huge PR with a 4:41 in LA that was good for 2nd to Bobby Lea in the omnium standings. Bobby rode a crazy impressive 4:26 and rode a 4:16 at the world cup the following week in Guadalajara, 1 second from Taylor Phinney's 4:15 National record that got him a world championship! Dang.

Event 3. Elimination.
The final event on day 1. In theory I really like these races but one tiny lapse of concentration and they can end way too early and leave you very pissed at yourself. This race went pretty good. I may have spent a bit too much energy and was left with a very hard sprint for 2nd, which I won, but I was totally spent. It would have been nice to at least be able to contest for the victory but much better than finishing not tired on a tactical error. Finishing the first day with a win and two 2nds was pretty sweet.

Event 4. Kilo TT
I usually fell pretty good about these. I had some hesitations about which gear to ride, like any track racer, always. At the last minute I decided to go smaller and I felt like I would have gone better in a slightly bigger gear. I did ride a PR but I felt like it could have been more! I ended up 4th.

Event 5. Flying Lap
Usually another strong event for me. I was a bit bummed after my Kilo ride and now I was definitely unsure of what gear to use. I eventually decided to gamble on a big gear because it seemed like the track was fast that morning. Enough time had passed between events and if it was fast in there before, I don't think it was now, or at least I wasn't. My wind up was great but when I stood on the pedals, there was no power, and I just struggled to turn the gear over for 250 meters. Finished 5th. bummed but still sitting in 2nd going into the final event, the 40k points race. In retrospect, I had not really done and leg speed or pure sprint work since before nationals in August. So it was understandable that the pure sprint events suffered.
photo: Gus Sarmiento

Event 6. Points Race.
Now with the new omnium format, everything basically hinges on the points race. Had this been the previous format, I would have essentially had 2nd place sewn up. But with 16 Sprints over 160 laps and 20 point bonuses for lapping the field, lots could still happen. my goal was to grab points where I could with out spending too much energy in the sprints. all the while watching for the big attack when Bobby would try to take a lap. Jacob in 3rd place had gone of the front with another rider and I wasn't worried about them gaining a lap so I figured id let them tired them selves out. after a bit, Bobby jumped across to them quickly. I followed suit and tried not to bring 4th place, Adrian, with me. I am thinking now that maybe I should have brought him along. It took me about a lap or so too long to close on the trio up the road. The moment I made contact, the other rider down in the standings pulled up track for some reason, and took me with him because I wasn't expecting it. My competitors took advantage of my situation and attacked. After the big effort I had done to get across the gap, I had a hard time responding. Bobby drove the duo and they closed the gap to the field and gained a lap. I was eventually reeled in without gaining a lap and the points and been pretty much settled. I had been bumped down to 3rd place.

photo: Gus Sarmiento

I was happy with my racing and fitness. Small things can have big implications. I am so glad that I am still learning things every time I race. I think its important to be open to learning new things as you go and it keeps things exciting!

2014 Recap!

Time to play catch up on this blog. 2014 was another busy season as usual.

Southern Games in Trinidad.
-won 5k crit
-grass track

Forst Derny Cup and Stayer race
--crash in the derny
-riding stayer injured

Early summer in TTown

Alpenrose Challenge
-track record pursuit

Marymoor GP

Nationals Rock Hill
1st TP
2nd Scratch
3rd madion
5th points
5th omnium

ttown Madison cup

Gatewap cup st Louis

Saucebox cup Atlanta dick lane velodrome
two track records
great crowds



Burnaby 4day

Monday, January 2, 2012

Brief year in review.

2011 was hard and crazy. I started the year with a back injury sustained on a January training ride. At one point I seriously considered quitting bike racing because my back was so messed up. Dr. Noel Snodgrass at Portland Chiropractic spent months getting me back into good mental and physical shape.

Shortly after that was the Fixed Gear Classic in Blaine, MN in early June. Since we are real smart, we decided to drive. Well, Brent did most of the driving since i haven't really driven since i was 15. Two gnarly days in the car did wonders for my still if-y back. The racing was fun and we got to hang out with everybodies favorite six day racer Franco Marvulli. Dan Harm and I won the Madison and then a preposterous amount of pizza was consumed.
The next big race was the Tesstarosa Velodrome Challenge in San Jose. Always a hotly contested weekend with a lot of fast folks and this year was no exception. I managed to have some decent results aside from still being very behind on fitness and strength including 2nd in the points race behind Dan Holloway.

Next up was my home turf battle. The Alpenrose Velodrome Challenge. I was going through some crazy drama in my life and was having a hard time keeping my head on straight. I was able to block it out long enough win FINALLY win the points race just ahead of old man Jame Carney. I still don't have pictures from this race and we got rained out for the 2nd day. I was really hoping to double up with a scratch race win.

The next week was the always fast and fun Marymoor Grand Prix in Redmond, WA. Unfortunately some drama still had a stranglehold on my head and i didn't have much of a good time. Not even holding hands with Jame was making things much better. We finished 2nd in the madison to Kit Karzen and Holloway.

After Marymoor, there is a lull in big track races unless you can get out of the NW, so its time to throw a leg over a road bike and get you crit on! Now you may know that my Dolan road bike was stolen in Tasmania in late December and I had being logging all my road miles (and occational PIR) on my beloved Cannondale rain bike. So I the late summer I finally got my new custom TiCycles Fabrication road bike. The ultimate crit machine! It was a match to my track bike with big steel tubes, ultra stiff and designed my the mastermind, Dean Reed at Bike Central.
The first race I did was the Vancouver (WA) Crit. Every turn I was learning just how amazing my new ride was. The hard I pushed it the more it wanted. Admittedly I am still figuring out crits and road racing. The sprints are different and people pass you on both sides, and lets not even get into the shifting thing, but fun!

A couple weeks later, Mid-August, Brent and I went up to Olympia WA to do a 50 mile circuit race. Saw a lot of folks that I knew and endured more than a few "you know this isn't a track race" and " you own a bike with gears?" comments and then we we off. After spending 30 miles in a break, we are pulled back and I somehow miss the counter attack. 3 miles from the end the field is 40 seconds up the road and well represented team wise, aka it's not coming back. So instead of being bored, I drill it, channel my inner Cameron Meyer, and at 1k to go make it up solo. At this point it I take a few deep breaths, fake some people into sprinting early, grab a wheel, run that wheel up the left side and before i know it i think I have it in the bag. I almost post up (something I've never done in a road race) and then i see someone squeezing by on my left. Right, check both sides. It was a really close 2nd tho.

Now that I am getting slightly more comfortable on the road bike, it is time for the Portland Twilight Crit. Always fast and a little hairy with good crowds. I love a crowd. I waited a little late to position for the sprint and only ended up 9th, but cut a hole in someones shoe with my spokes when they hooked me at the line!
Next was the Giro di Portland, a fun and crazy 8 corner crit with 2 blocks of cobblestones. Just surviving it was a task and I won the field sprint for 4th.
The next day I left for a two week PA adventure. Dan and I got 2nd at the Madison Cup at T-Town.Then it was time for track nationals. Didn't have the best results but the "Fun Boyz" getting 3rd in the team pursuit was awesome.

This is the first winter that I am both injury free AND taking an off season. Getting strong and fit. Putting together an awesome team. 2012 is shaping up to be a good year.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Track Nationals and Beyond

The trip to LA for nationals super fun as is always is. The flight down was nice because Erin and Al were both on my flight. We were met at the airport by our always amazing hosts, Jack and Megan and the eating of good vegan food commenced almost immediately. The second night in town, Jack organized an eating competition between him and me at Doomie's Home Cookin'. First to quit without releiving themselves would be the winner. Missing from the photos is the opening round which was 2lbs of salad followed by hot fires w/ ranch, okra, chimichangas, deep fried oreos, fresh baked cookie ala mode, and I finally threw in the towel 2/3 of the way through the chili dog with deep fried hotdog and tempeh bacon and resigned. I didn't want to risk throwing up and loosing all of the valuable nutrition that I would need for the week.

Over all I was a little disappointed with my results at nationals. The schedule was terrible so I had to choose between the omnium and the scratch race. Since the omnium cost about a million dollars i choose the scratch race. I felt really good in the final 10 laps and was hanging midpack keeping an eye on things. I must have been in one hell of a "zone" or something becuase when i thought there were about 6 laps left i looked at the lap board and it said 3. At the moment things got crazy and i was lucky to close as much ground as i did to manage 5th. I've never managed to lose track of laps that bad before.

Team pursuit would have gone a lot better if we had done any race paced practice before hand. All things considered the squad of Al Urbanski, Jake Hanson, Austin Carroll and myself did pretty well. We had a plan going into the ride with how many and how long of pulls people would take. It when a little haywire but worked out pretty good and we qualified 3rd to make the bronze medal ride off. We stuck with the same pull structure that we did in the qualifying ride and went 3 seconds faster and secured 3rd. We were on the fastest pace at 1k and were were on a better place than the team that ended up 2nd. Too bad we didn't get to do a ride like that in qualifying or we could been at least 2nd.

Points race was a cluster as usual and I got caught behind the wrong people at the wrong time and gapped off for a good amount to the end of the race. I had enough points from the first half to get 6th. There was also some drama with whether some people had gotten a lap or not. It didn't seem like it to me but what is bike racing without a little drama.

The madison was hard, as it usually is. Some of the riding was dirty and the racing negative. But one thing is for sure, Jame and Ian killed it. Dan and I got gapped off and a bad time and I had to chase back, which pretty much fried me after having to sprint as well. We managed 5th place and i got to wear this itty bitty short short skin suit.

I took two weeks off after nationals and I'm not totally sure when racing is going to start again. It will be nice to get some good strength training and core work in, since I didn't get to last winter due to a back injury. There are some definite changes on the horizon so stay tuned.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Cmmonweath of PA

After a two year absence, I finally made it back to PA to see friends, family and do some bike racing. The day before I left I raced a gnarly crit in Portland put on by Steven Beardsley. The Giro di Portland was a 6 corner loop in the Pearl district as part of the Festa Italiana. Of the ten blocks that we traversed in the 50 min race, the vast majority were fast and smooth, but turns 1 and 2 and the blocks of rutted cobblestones between them proved treacherous for many racers. I had a good time dodging flying bodies and bikes in what seemed like a crit of attrition. I also think my crit skill level increased by at least two hit points. Toward the end of the race 3 people were off the front and I wont the field sprint for 4th, stoked to be in one piece. Looking forward to this next year. Definitely a good one for spectators.

Dave Roth Cycling Photos

The next morning I embarked on my marathon travel day to Philadelphia, leaving my house in Portland at 8am and arriving at my friend Blakslee's apartment in south Philly at about 2am. My arranged ride from the airport got sick so Dan had to wake up borrow a car and come get me. We woke up the next day, went for a quick spin, survived an earthquake and were then picked up by our ride to the track for Tuesday night racing in T-town.

Basically just there to spin our legs and get ready for the big show on Friday, Dan and I were in small gears and planning on racing on the conservative side. Despite that, some good scratch race sprints and monster lead outs from Dan got me the win. That was enough money to put gas in the beater minivan that Marty loaned us for the week. That thing is possibly the loudest most ghetto fab minivan ever.

Wednesday Dan and I had a Motorpaced madison workout with the awesome Jack Simes III driving us around the track. All was going well until a miscommunication at 40 mph, mid-madison exchange behind the motor but us on our butts and claimed a decent amount of our skin. We were able to get up and finish the workout before hitting the showers to lick our wounds.

After a day of downtime, recovery and all you can eat dim sum, it was time for Friday's Madison Cup. We left the city at 3.30 and promptly encountered insane traffic. As we lurched forward the traffic seemed endless. Probably due to the impending Hurricane Irene that was threatening the East Coast for the weekend. Contantly checking traffic updates, we weren't sure we were going to make it on time. I phoned Marty and had him get my bike out. Dan and I pinned numbers and changed into kit in the car. With a prompt start time of 7.30, we rolled into the parking lot and 7.00, didn't bother putting the van in a proper parking spot and dashed over the bridge into the infield.

Stress and bike racing are not a good combo for me and the first couple races were not good. The first 50 lap madison was so bad that Dan and I were arguing about it afterwards and I actually yelled "I'm not yelling" at him. But we were there to have fun and kick ass and eventually calmed down and did just that. Our racing got better a the night went on. We had a decent showing in the miss n out and now it was about laying it all out there for the 120 lap final madison.

Finally feeling settled, stoked that my Mom and little sister were there watching me race for the first time it was go time. Unfortunately Bobby and Jackie got away for a lap some where in the middle of the race and everyone seemed content with that so it became a race for 2nd place. Going into the final sprint we were tied on points for 2nd with another team. We missed an exchange as the race was getting chaotic near the end and I ended up being in the race for the last few laps. I had the team we were tied with watching me and with one to go i ramped it up and then jumped hard. One person managed to come around me at the finish but not the one that mattered, i dropped them. So Dan and I were pretty happy to get a come from behind underdog 2nd at Madison Cup.

Anthony Skorochod CyclingCaptured.com

My mom, sister and i grabbed a hotel for the night then drove back towards Pittsburgh. My bike box didnt fit in the trunk too well so it hung half way out for the 300 mile journey. It was awesome visiting family and friends, riding around Pittsburgh and out the burbs, eating at The Zenith Cafe for the best Sunday brunch in the World! I really love Pittsburgh and can't wait until I can live there again, but I think that might be a while from now. In the meantime, someone should buy me this shirt.

My last full day in town i got to race at the 1/2 mile Washington Blvd. oval. It was just a 18m mile training crit but some friends that had never seen me race come out and it was pretty awesome. In the final few laps someone with lots of teammates tooka flyer while everyone else blocked. It seemed like he was going to stay away but at the sprint began winding up the guy off the front was fading fast. In the sprint i pulled away from the field and got the off the front riding by half a wheel.

Now I'm back in Portland and it's time to starting ramping up for track nationals at the end of the month. YEE-HAW!