T-TOWN 2011!!!

There is something about Trexlertown, PA, that keeps drawing me back year in and year out to race and train at the Valley Preferred Cycling Center. I’m not sure if its the 40+deg weather that is always guaranteed at this time of year, or the abundance of international riders, or just the atmosphere of the track, but I always have a ton of fun in T-town!

This year the racing schedule worked out really well for me. The two big sprint races (International Sprint Grand Prix, and Keirin Cup) were both on consecutive Fridays, and fit perfectly into my preparation for Nationals coming up at the beginning of August.

I was pretty nervous for the first race, having not really tested my legs in quite a while. Training lately has been based quite a bit around getting stronger and more powerful, so the speed is lacking a bit. Anyways, the qualifying went well, considering I think I may have had the worst technical ride of my life in the 200m. Despite this, I went on to finish third overall, a pretty good result for me coming in front of riders from New Zealand, Poland, and the USA.

After a hard week of training and motorpacing, it was Friday again, which meant it was time for the prestigious Keirin Cup. Last year I came 3rd in this race, so I wanted to improve on this result. The first race went according to plan, qualifying me for the semis pretty easily. In the semi-finals, I didn’t get the push I wanted off the line, which meant that instead of my preferred position near the motor-bike at the front, I was stuck at the very back of the line. As soon as the motor-bike came off I got myself out of this position, but wasn’t able to come fully around the line of 7 riders. Crossing the finish line, I found myself in 4th, right on the boundary of qualification. It was a close race, with 4-5 of us in a very tight area. After crossing the line, the riders in front didn’t hold their line. I had nowhere to go, with riders right beside me, as my wheel got hit and taken out. I left quite a bit of skin on that track, but luckily all the injuries were superficial and should heal relatively quick. After some serious scrubbing of the wounds but the paramedics (and me ready to pass out), I felt like I had to get myself to the line of the finals since I had qualified and see what I could do. I probably raced a bit more timid than I usually would have, but found myself in a good position, and crossed the finish line in 3rd place again! I was happy with the result given the circumstances, but I know I could have done better had I raced more aggressively.

I’m back home now, trying to get this road rash healed up. It should be another couple days before I can really train effectively, but that should give me a good 7-10 days before Nationals to get me back in peak form.

P.S If you want an amazing pizza, we found a 30 INCH!!! YES THIRTY! diameter pizza at Joe’s in T-town. (It barely fit in the back seat of the car, and had to be put on an angle to get through the doorways at the hotel)

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Pan-Am Prep

I’ve been getting a lot of questions lately about why I didn’t go to Worlds this year so I guess I should answer that first.
The short story is that after a series of unfortunate events, our starter, Stephane, got injured and was unable to ride his bike for some time. After many discussions with coaches and other teammates, it was decided that the best plan moving forward would be to take a step back, and try to recompose ourselves for the next big event, the Pan-Am Championships in Medeillin, Colombia. It was a hard decision to make, since our training throughout the entire year had been focused at getting ourselves to our peak condition in time for the World Championships. However, this gave some of the younger Canadian riders a chance to gain some valuable experience at an international event and did give us a chance to go through a hard training block in preparation for Pan-Ams instead of tapering for Worlds.

After a few weeks of hard work, I went home for a bit…for just enough time to write exams, and present our final year design project at Poster Day at McMaster University. While it was definitely a stressful time, it all went really well, especially with our group winning the first place prize for our project, “Projecting Into the Future: A Self-Adjusting Interactive Projector System”.

Of course I also enjoy giving myself extra work to do, so I applied for an NSERC undergraduate research award, and got it! Near the end of my trip home I met with my supervisor and learned what I’d be doing. While I need to do lots of research to really understand the concepts, I’m super excited to start working!

The last day home, my Nonnies and some cousins came over and we had a bit of an Easter/Birthday party for me, since I’ll be missing both in California. I was running around most of the time getting packed to come back here, but it was still nice to have them over for a visit.

Back to cycling: As I write this I’m sitting on the back porch of the rental house overlooking the ocean.

We’ve just got sprinters back here this time, since Canada is just sending a sprint team to Pan-Ams this year. It’s going to be pretty exciting having such a big team (5 males, 1 female) of solely sprinters. We’re all super excited to go to Colombia, and do our best to pick up as many Olympic qualification points as possible. Now, since we’ll be racing on an outdoor track, we’re just crossing our fingers that the 10 days of forecasted rain in Colombia stops before we get there!

World Cups #1&2

Well I know it’s a bit delayed, but heres the run-down of how the first two World Cups of the Olympic qualification cycle went.

This was my first time in Australia, and man, what a beautiful place (except for the darn hay fever!). I was hoping to see some kangaroos, but apparently they don’t live in the big city of Melbourne.

We arrived early to Melbourne so that we could get in some good quality training and really get over the jetlag before racing, but of course before we knew it, it was race day. And then race day came and went just as quickly. One minute I was showing up to the track, and next I was on the start line. The entire day was a blur. Overall the team did pretty well. A new Canadian Record wasn’t too bad considering we had decided to switch up our order one week before we raced.

After Melbourne it was back to LA for one week, before getting ready for the next World Cup in Colombia. During that week there was a lot of recovery, while still trying to keep our speed up. During a time like this, there’s a really fine line between recovering from a 15 hour flight, and trying to stay fast for the next race.

Colombia is always an interesting experience. One day on our way to the track, our taxi driver spoke perfect English. Surprised, Travis asked how he learned. Needless to say we weren’t expecting him to tell us that he used to live in Miami, was a player in the drug business in the 80’s and is only back in Colombia now following a 14year prison sentence!

The racing in Colombia went even better than Melbourne. Again, we set a new Canadian record, coming EXTREMELY close to breaking in to the 44 second level. And we were also quite happy with our 5th place finish, since we earned some decent qualification points towards London 2012, and put a gap into our competition for qualification (all the teams from North and South America). The individual sprint went well too, setting a new PB in the qualifying. I didn’t race all that smart tactically though, but then again, I was up against World Champion Gregory Bauge.

 
Velocidad Varones
 

Following Cali, it was straight home to try and relax and enjoy Christmas break with the family for the little time I could. Luckily, I had gotten most of my Christmas shopping done online and in airports, because as soon as I got home, I got sick and was stuck in bed for days, getting better just in time to enjoy Christmas meals at my Nonnies on Christmas eve and Christmas day.

I’m back in LA now trying to find my legs and get ready for the next World Cup of the season in Beijing. I can’t believe we leave in 10 days!

PS. Check out the Photos page. I uploaded a few from Cali.

200 mts Lanzados Varones

Recap

Wow, where has the time gone. It just struck me today that I haven’t updated my blog in what seems like an eternity. Quite a bit has happened since the last update from T-town, so I’ll try to catch you up with the basics:

I decided last minute to come home from T-town a bit earlier than planned, but of course for a good reason. I got home with 10 days to go before my sister, Elisa, and (my now brother-in-law) Luciano got married. Needless to say, there was a LOT of work to be done getting ready for their big day. I spent the ten days running errands and helping around the house and probably not spending enough time on the bike. In the end though it was all worth it. The wedding was beautiful, and everyone had a ton of fun. Oh, and I would have caught the garter had I not been body checked to the ground, ending up with a fat lip haha.

It was then only a short amount of time before Nationals. I knew I had to get in form, and get there QUICK. Before I knew it, the entire family was driving up to Quebec. We spent one night in Montreal on the way visiting family, before completing the journey to Bromont. We stayed in an amazing chalet type house, which by the way, is definitely the way to do it. Full kitchen, family room, and bedrooms for everyone. Just a litttttle bit more comfortable than cramming into a tiny hotel room, and eating fast food for a week. The racing was not my best, but I came away with a medal of every colour. A gold in the team sprint, a silver in the keirin, and a bronze in the sprints. I was very excited to see that some of my family from Montreal even made it out to watch the keirins on Sunday.

Fast forward one week, and it was already time to head back to school. But not for long. Only one week of classes before I made the move to LA for the winter. The team has a beautiful house in Seal Beach, only blocks from the ocean. This is definitely the place to be to train. The track is only a 20 minute drive away, and then when it’s time for recovery rides, we head over to the path that goes along the beach for an easy cruise. The trainer we have been working with in the gym is only blocks away too.

We have had 4 weeks of hard training, doing intense sessions on the track, and some very heavy lifting in the gym. I’m writing now in the middle of our first trials, to decide who is going to be sent to the first World Cup in Australia. Up tomorrow is team sprint trials. I’ll let you know how that goes in my next post.

Keirin Cup XXV: CCA Report

release by the CCA

July 28, 2010 (Trexlertown, PA) – The Canadian Track Sprinters have been in Trexlertown, Pennsylvania for the past two weeks training in the sun with riders from all over the world. Last Friday’s race was the Keirin Cup XXV. The heats contained 8 to 9 riders and it was the most tactically smart riders that advanced.

Thomas Hums (Sudbury, ON) has been on a steep learning curve with the quality of athletes attending the races. In round 1 and again in the repechage, he charged from the back to the front, but needed to be more aggressive to claim territory and to have more leg speed for the accelerations. “I learned valuable lessons from the Keirins though. I can’t go from that far out and I have to be more assertive among other technical and strategic flaws. But live and learn!”

Allan Leparskas (London, ON), a member of last year’s Junior Track Worlds team has also been training and racing down south.  “The first heat I missed my chance to make a move with a 4 rider high wall in front of me. In the rep I pushed a huge gear and I was home free but Stephane (Cossette) was following me and nipped me at the line. Not the best I could have done but I wasn’t disappointed.”

Joseph Veloce (Fonthill, ON) was the best placed Canadian in the men’s Keirin.  “After a slow start in the first round, getting caught behind some dangerous riding, I altered my game plan to lead out the next rounds. I qualified for the finals against a stacked field, including several Kiwis on the Commonwealth team, Polish, Dutch, and Italians. Again I lead out the race, and with one to go Eddie Dawkins, eventual winner, charged over the top. I accelerated and held on to third place overall.”

The depth of the women’s field was not as large, but provided great competition.  There were three heats with the qualifiers heading straight to finals.  Florence Laplante-Lamarche (Ottawa, ON) qualified second behind Yvonne Hijgenaar, from the Netherlands. “It was cool to get to race the Keirin, a race that I really enjoy but don’t get to race very often. The atmosphere was awesome too. There were lots of people watching and cheering us on.”  In the end, Laplante-Lamarche finished 6th with Monique Sullivan (Calgary, AB) in 3rd. Full results can be found at <http://www.thevelodrome.com/>www.thevelodrome.com.

Laplante-Lamarche is training for the upcoming Junior World Championships in Montichiari, Italy August 11-15, where she will be joined by Allison Beveridge (Calgary, AB), Scott Mulder (Vancouver, BC), and Alex Cataford (Ottawa, ON).

http://canadian-cycling.com/cca/media/news/2010/0727_track_veloce.shtml

http://canadiancyclist.com/dailynews.php?id=19743

http://pedalmag.com/index.php?module=Section&action=viewdetail&item_id=18723

T-Town!!!

As I write this I begin my third week here in T-Town, Pennsylvania. I’ve come down with the rest of the Canadian sprinters for some training and weekly racing. It’s amazing how much more fun training is when it’s with team mates.

The day before I made the 6 hour drive down to PA, I got a call, informing me that my brand new LOOK 496 bike had arrived in Oakville. It was a bit of a rush trying to get to Oakville and then get this bike built up, but it was definitely worth it. That same night I went out on the road for a standing start effort. As I clipped in my foot going down the driveway, I could already tell how much better this bike was than my last.

The first Friday night racing was all endurance events, so I’d rather not give too many details as to how that went. Instead I’ll just fast forward to the following Tuesday. Just as we finished our last motor effort in the morning, Marty, the head of the track, came over and told us that he was putting on a sprint tournament since there were so many international riders here. We knew it would be a long day, but we would never pass up the opportunity to get some good quality racing. After a slow start in the first round, I was put in the 4-up repechage. I was able to win my next two rides against Polish and Dutch national team riders to put me in the 3-up finals. By this time, my legs were really shot from the long day of training and racing, and it showed, with myself finishing 3rd.

Friday night was the prestigious Keirin Cup. Seeing my ‘odds’ of winning were 12 to 1 according to thevelodrome.com, I was determined to prove them wrong. After a slow start in the first round, getting caught behind some dangerous riding, I altered my game plan to lead out the next rounds. I qualified for the finals against a stacked field, including several Kiwis on the Commonwealth team, Polish, Dutch, and Italians. Again I lead out the race, and with one to go Eddie Dawkins, eventual winner charged over the top. I accelerated and held on to third place overall.

Stay tuned for an update next week after the sprint tournament, The Fastest Man on Wheels.

Back to Blogging

Well I have been home now for what seems like a record amount of time. I believe it’s even been more than a month now! I can’t believe where the time has gone. Oh wait I know: account for two summer courses, one part time job, and then of course training… I’d say I’ve been keeping myself pretty busy for the past month.

As far as travelling and racing goes, this is down time for me, but I am still training just as hard as ever. In less than 3 weeks, I will be heading back to LA, trying to earn myself a spot on Canada’s Commonwealth team. It’s not going to be easy, but this is one event I really want to go to. It would be an amazing experience as my first multi-sport games. I’ll keep you posted on how things go.

As some of you know, I competed at the Pan-American Championships a month ago, in Aguascalientes, Mexico. First off, I have to mention what an amazing track this was, built by Canada’s own Peter Junek. It was fast, smooth, and still sticky enough to allow some good technical sprints.

Just to recap the racing briefly:
Racing started out with the team sprint event. The Canadian team didn’t have very much luck, with myself getting held up in the gate (why don’t they have beeps in Mexico ????), and then 1.5 laps into the race, Stephane’s rear disc flatted. He did really well to keep himself on his bike. Not even 10minutes later, the commisaires were calling us back to the line for our re-ride. We did all that we could to delay the process, but needless to say, we didn’t have the best of rides as we were still out of breath from the previous race. This qualified us for the disappointing bronze medal ride. Despite our bad luck, we went into the bronze final ready to show everyone how fast we were capable of riding. This time, I got out of the gate cleanly, and pulled off a new PB, and fastest starting time of the evening, at 17.6s for the 250m lap. Unfortunately our time as a team was not good enough to earn us the bronze so we settled for 4th.

Up next was the keirin. I’d say for the first time in my keirin racing career, I rode somewhat smart winning my first round, qualifying me for the semis. However, in this next round, I was up against some bigger riders, and got into a bad position early on. I was unable to recover, and so only qualified for the 7-12 final. Again, I managed to ride smart to an 8th place finish, an improvement on last year’s championships.

The last event was the sprint, where I had a surprisingly fast 200m time of 10.1, qualifying me 3rd. There’s not much else to say about the sprints other than I had some really good technical rides, and some really bad rides. I ended up finishing the sprint competition 6th. Again this was an improvement on last year’s result, but I was hoping to do a bit better with my fast qualification time. Congrats goes to teammate Travis Smith who not only qualified 1st in the sprints, but had some great rides and won the Gold medal!

  • "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit."
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