Location: Redmond, WA.
Date: August 19-26, 2014
Type: 500m, Points Race, Scratch Race, Match Sprints, 2K Individual Pursuit, Team Pursuit, & Team Sprint
Participants: Andrea Brennan and Jo Johnson
From the perspective of Jo Johnson...NATIONAL CHAMPION!
Marymoor Velodrome in the Marymoor Park hosted the Masters Track National Championships. The weather was nearly perfect every day although one morning was really cold at 58 but temps usually climbed into the 70's and occasionally into the 80's. Winds were 5-7 mph out of the west or NW. The velodrome is a 400 meter concrete surface with metal railing all the way around and 2 entrance gates on each straight. No bridge or tunnel. Grass in the center with a small warm up, cool down circle between turns 3-4. Banking is about 23 degrees with a few bumps.
Riders came from almost everywhere but mostly west coast. Our Trexlertown crowd included Andrea, Andrew, myself and my husband, Gwen Afton, John Chambers, Wil Wong plus Greg Langer (now living in Colorado), Chris Barbaria, NY and Dale Phillips, PA.
Racing began in earnest Tuesday morning but Jo's and Andrea's schedules were at opposite ends of the day. We did not see each other until Thursday afternoon.
Andrea rode Tuesday morning in the 500 meter, essentially a sprinters TT. Riding a solid time, Andrea finished on the podium in fourth place. Jo's first race was the 25 lap points race, Tuesday night, with the 50+ age group women. Sprints points would be every 5 laps. Starting up front with the group, I slowly drifted back and settled in to finish. One fast gal from St. Louis lapped the field! She would be fastest the entire event in her age group. I finished as the only racer in my age group with the first place and National Championship.
One of my goals was to win the Omnium- Best All Around Rider and this first race was a step in that direction.
Wednesday evening Jo’s event was a "scratch race" and Andrea was slotted for the points race. Jo’s race was 13 laps, winner of age group takes the win. This time it would be a different race as the age groups would be 60+ and my age group competition would prove to be tenacious. I went out with the lead group for the first 3 laps and drifted back finding my competitor drafting me. After a lap or so, we proceeded to take half laps but after about 3 of those, my competitor started to shorten her pull. I knew something was going to happen. With the bell lap, she took a short pull from turn 2 to 3 but I was right on her and could have taken her then but wanted to wait until the last turn if I could. She pulled up into turn 3 and I had alot of momentum going so I accelerated and pushed hard to keep it going faster and faster. With 50 feet to go I looked right and left but did not see a wheel. I knew I had won. I did it!! my 2nd National Championship for real. Yahoo!! Andrea had a bronze medal ride in her 25 lap points race.
Thursday activities began early as we arrived to set up tent and chairs and plan the warm up time. This morning was really cold and damp. I needed more layers to stay warm especially after warm up and now wet. Remember to pack more layers for cold mornings. Today was the Flying 200 meter qualifier for the match sprint competitions. This would be a very long day indeed. Finally it was time to race. I though I picked a better line, built the speed and was flying but alas the time was slower than the Saturday practice times. I still had the Match Sprint round robin that would help me finish well. Now I could put into practice what I had learned racing against my coach in T-Town. My first race against a much faster rider ended up as I thought, I lost on the last half lap sprint. My second race competitor had also lost to this rider so I did not feel that bad. Now I needed a different strategy as this gal has a fast jump. I went out a bit more quickly but kept her close through the first lap then into the second lap, she dives to the pole lane and I am on her immediately. I can overtake her but wait until the time seems right. We go into turn 3 and I drift a bit wide, catch back just as quick and we are neck and neck around turn 4, now into the home straight, still neck and neck, I am rocking and rolling and think the bike has a problem but it stays together and coming to the line I surge just a bit and cross the line a half wheel length ahead. Wow! Exciting stuff. Thursday evening Andrea raced her 13 lap scratch race. It turned into a tactical race with frequent attacks and an all-out sprint on the bell lap. Andrea finished in the medals with silver.
Afterward, I ask Andrew about the bike rocking and rolling. He smiles and says with my legs moving, my arms probably straight, my death grip on the bars, my shoulders and torso moving, I was just totally all out. That is the way it was. Silver medal this time. Exciting. Try to get sleep after 3 days of hyper activity and excitement. Not happening.
Now today 4 and the 2k TT. After a false start, a fall and scrape my knee. Hey, the medics needed something to do. My second start was cautious and upright, I take off and 5 laps later the announcer says unofficially I and my competitor have the exact same time, down to a thousand. Timing and scoring official has never seen this in a pursuit and pulls out the rulebook. They go back to the fastest time of the last lap. That is my time. I am now awarded Silver but a fraction of a second. Yahoo!
Saturday Andrea’s age group raced first in the 2K Individual Pursuit. This was a hotly contested event. Andrea improved her time over last year’s performance at Nationals and finished in 5th placed. Saturday was Jo’s last race. The 500 meter TT. My start is not that quick but I quickly gain momentum. The result is a new Personal Best Record by 2 seconds but not fast enough to climb into 2nd so I settle for 3rd place. I also earn enough points for the Best All Around Rider Omnium Award.
Sunday’s races were devoted to team events. The program started an hour earlier and it turned into a long day at the track. Team Pursuits followed by Team Sprints and the Madison Races rounded out the day’s agenda. Andrea rode the Pursuit on a composite team with Gwenn Afton of Virginia and Jane Vanni-Noone of Indianapolis in the 35 plus age group. Riding a solid time Andrea’s team finished with a bronze medal. The next event was the 35 plus team sprint. Up against some heavy hitters Gwenn and Andrea’s goal was to represent their teams and have some fun. This event is a sprinters game, the win normally goes to teams with an explosive start and expert sprinting abilities. Andrea and Gwenn, considered to be endurance riders had no expectations to finish in the medals. Gwenn had a powerful start leading Andrea out for her solo lap. After Gwenn made the exchange at the pursuit line Andrea got out of the saddle and hammered, pretending she was a sprinter. In the cool down circle Andrew rushed up and said, ‘that looked awesome’. That news combined with the fact the announced did not read off any times, Andrea figured they were out of contention. The officials announced a delay in results, as they were figuring out ‘team times’. Happy having ‘looked’ good, Andrea and Gwenn changed and began packing for the trip back east. After results were posted they learned their time was fast enough to put them in second place. One of the best ways to end a hard week of racing.
This was a really good week, had fun, met my goals and exceeded others. Now it will be rest and recover before beginning the process with new objectives, more to practice, learn and go faster.
Many thank yous to everyone who makes our racing possible; EPS/CSS, Shebell and Shebell, OSMO Nutrition, Cannondale, PowerTap wheels, Brielle Cyclery and all the other sponsors. And a special appreciation to Kim Geist for all the coaching time and effort she has given me.