Last year I rode at nats since they were at our home track. I didn't have much idea of what I was doing and did it for the experience. I pretty much came in last in all but one events. There are some fast women who race the track and they've been doing it for a long time. This year my goals are to ride personal best times in all the events and see if I can move up in the placings. Funny thing is that the 50-54 age group has nearly twice as many women as any other age group.
Our track is 335 meters with nice wide turns and 25 degrees banking. The 7-11 velodrome here in Colorado Springs is 330 meters and 33 degrees banking with tighter turns. I arrived Sunday and that afternoon we went over to the track so I could ride it. A little intimidating at first. It took me about 10 laps to get up to where the Olympic rings are painted on the cement (about 2/3rds of the way up) and another 10 laps to get clear to the top of the track (the rail). Another ride on Monday and I was feeling much better about it. Legs up Monday and relax all day, but the doing nothing actually made me a little stressed out though I did do 4 hours of work. Friends from our track came over and cooked dinner and we had good food, a couple of beers and then it was time to pack the bag and hit the bed. Right when I went to bed, it started to rain and was still raining in the middle of the night.
Got up this morning to overcast and cool. I'd prefer sunny and 90F, but it wasn't to be. We got to the track and got warmed up. Noticed some headwind on the finishing straight, so where you started your 500m might make a difference. (Two people ride at a time--one starting on the back straight, the other on the front straight. Fastest time of all riders wins.) I was seeded 10th/11, so riding in the second heat, starting on the backside.
Got in a pretty good warm up--a few laps on the track just to get the feel, then the rest on the rollers. My coach came down and that was a big help as I was a little stressed. I was definitely in the "let's just get this going" mindset. Watched a few of the earlier races, finished warming up, the coach took the bike to get measured, rolled around on the warm up circle, with a couple of people to go I sat and watched their starts, then I got called to the ready.
The 500m is 1.5 laps (more or less), so I was starting on the backside, finishing on the front side. 15 seconds, 10 seconds, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, beep. Look down the track; pedal forward, not down; keep the arms stiff; breathe! Keep standing as long as possible, then sit and 4 hard pedal strokes and then keep it rolling to the end. First lap, OK, and then my legs started to tire, but I told myself to keep pedaling as fast as I could. Across the line and I felt good about the effort. Then I heard him call my time and I was pretty happy---a huge PR. By over 2%! I ended up 10th/11 which means I met my other goal. The gal I rode with ended up winning and setting a new world record and Lorraine, from our Hellyer track ended up second, also breaking the world record and 0.1 behind the winner. Also from our track we had one National champion in the men's 65-69 AG, 2nd place in the men's 60-64 and Annabell also broke the world record for the women's 45-49 AG, unfortunately, coming in second, but a PR ride for her. So a very good first session. More racing by others tonight if the rains hold off.
Next race: 2K pursuit tomorrow morning.