Saturday, March 31, 2012


What a great week of "racing" at the Cycling Centre this week!    With the Track Cycling World Championships taking place April 4-8 in Melbourne, Australia I thought it would be fun to show our support by doing some racing inside at the Cycling Centre.  The goal was to have fun, but to also perform with some race nerves and start to get our competitive spirits fired up as we head in to race season, and to learn more about track cycling; especially with a world class velodrome being built just up the street from where we are now.

Canada has a shot at two medals at the London Olympics in the Omnium with 2 time World Champion Tara Whitten (pictured) and Zach Bell who won bronze at the test event in February.  We started off our week by also doing an Omnium of sorts, though instead of taking 2 days we raced all 6 events in 2 hours.  Winners were picked by who put their hands in the air first when the time was up and points were awarded based on finish results, just like the real deal!

There were 3 different groups who participated in the races and it was exciting to see how the competitiveness of the riders came out as they realized they were in the hunt for a medal.  The end results were all pretty close with the final time trial being the deciding factor in results - just like the pros!  We started with a flying lap (2 min of gradually building up speed with 13 seconds, or 250 meters, all out), then the points race (6 min with sprints every 2 min), elimination race (last one to put up their hands had to stop pedalling), individual pursuit (3:31 or 3 km at 95% effort for the women and 4:24 or 4 km for the men), scratch race (5 min effort), and finally the time trial (500 meters for the women or 34 sec. and a kilo or 1:03 for the men).  There was some smack talk, sportsmanship, cheering, focused looks of determination, and even some smiles.

Later in the week we did a sprint tournament, so much fun!  I think this might be my favourite workout of the whole season!

We drew cards to decide who would race against each other in the first rounds, the red card leading and the black following.  The rules were, the black card had to match the leg speed of the red card until the sprint was initiated.  Either rider could initiate the sprint.  Once the sprint was started, riders had to keep going all the way to the finish line.  The race was  2 min long and the sprint could go from the line for a maximum of 2 min (though no one tried this tactic), and had to be at least 10 sec. long.   Everyone got in to the competition, determined to advance to the next round and a chance at a medal, and the races were close.  Believe almost everyone posted personal bests for high cadence!

The winners were chosen by their peers based on who held their leg speed from beginning to end, if someone surprised their opponent with their jump, who had a better race face, and when we couldn't decide and had to go to a "photo finish" the riders played rock, paper, scissors to determine the winner.

There were some clever tactics, pairings trying to distract their competitors with cleavage and funky hair, taking advantage of a glance away, as well as great commentary and encouragement by those who were in between races.  Everyone did so well that they were all rewarded with stickers.  Can't wait until next year!

In the meantime, here is a video of Paul and Dale racing for the Bronze medal!

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