Dates: 11/1/2014- 11/2/2014
Location: Carson, CA
Race Type: UCI Class 1 Track Omnium
Rider Name: Colleen Gulick
The Los Angeles Grand Prix was a two day class 1 UCI event. I chose to compete in the omnium, an event that I can best describe as the decathalon of track cycling. Over the course of two days there are six different events, with the first rider in each event earning 40 points and decreasing points for the following places. At the conclusion of all six events (and everyone must race every event to be placed) we were ranked according to the sum total of all of our event point earning to determine the overall winner. I had competed in this race last year as my first omnium race (it’s a relatively new discipline). So, I was hoping to improve up on my 8th place from last year. With world class, and Olympic medalist, competition I knew this would be my hardest event of the year, by far.
The first race was the scratch race. I was excited to race and, because of that, I was a bit too aggressive. I tried to bridge to a break and did not make it. I recovered and tried again, unfortunately to no avail. So, I sat in and went for the sprint finish. Unfortunately, I had underestimated the pace of the race and chosen a gear that was significantly too small. So, it was a struggle for the sprint finish but I managed to squeak out a 14th place. This meant that I had some ground to make up for the next 5 events. About two hours after my scratch race I had the individual 3k pursuit. I was extremely pleased with my progress in this event, earning a PR by 6 seconds!! The results of this race were clearly lumped into categories with the Olympians posting the top 4-5 times, a few second time gap, then the world cup riders all posting very similar times, a 9 second gap, then the final 8 riders posting slower but similar times. I placed as the last rider in the middle “world cup rider” group… which was significantly better than last year and promising for the future. The evening of the first day I raced the elimination race, which is by far my favorite. : ) I earned a solid 7th place.
After a decent night’s sleep I returned to the track for the second day of racing. My first race of the day was the 500m time trial, where I cheerfully placed 6th with my second best time ever. The second race of the day was the flying lap, where I was a bit disappointed with a 13th place. However, at this point in the race I was tie for 10th overall… a large improvement from the disappointing 14th place in the scratch race. The last race of the day, and subsequently the event, was by far the hardest: a 100 lap points race with sprints every 10 laps. The event would have been painful to watch let alone participate. I won’t bore you with how the point scoring works for the points race (it’s a bit funky in an omnium) but basically, you can make incredible gains (and losses) in just a few laps of this race. Thus, it’s extremely important to put your best foot forward in this last race. Unfortunately, I did not perform up to my own expectations for this race. Although it was a disappointing note to end on, I was very pleased with my progress in the pursuit, 500m and even the flying lap (where my placing was not top 10 but I had a PR). As the last race of the season, I am excited to have seen significant improvements and have things to work on in the off season to make 2015 even better. : )
I owe a huge thank you to Teresa, Toni, and our sponsors for supporting my racing this season! I am looking forward to another season of sporting the orange and blue of Team EPS/CSS p/b Shebell & Shebell! : )