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Old 09-05-08, 11:50 AM   #1
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Cinderella Story (Full Version) - Velodiva Wins Track Nationals

It is truly a fairy tale and a dream that comes true. Velodiva won the women’s 2K pursuit ages 55 – 59 in the United States Masters National Track Championships. It is an amazing accomplishment by a great athlete. Everyone in our racing club, bike shop, training partners and coaches are so proud of her. And me her bike slave, now called a Soigneur, could not be happier for her. And I get to hang out with the National Champ all the time.

What are the benefits? Besides the prestige of winning the race and being national champion, she wears the national championship jerseys in races for one year. New team kit jerseys will be adorned with red white and blue stripes on the collars and sleeves for life. She has free lifetime membership in our racing club.

On the podium


Background:

Every year USA Cycling holds National races to determine the best road and track bike racers in the country by age group. This year the US Masters (over 30 years old) National Track Championships were held at Hellyer Velodrome in San Jose, California. For one week, the best track racers fly in from all over the US to compete in several events to determine the best. The US Nationals fall under UCI rules and UCI Commissionaires are present to administer the event.

How in the world did we get ourselves into this?

It started with the Beat the Clock "Day at the Track" event on August 16. We had such a blast riding TT road bikes on the track, with Velodiva finishing first in the road bike category for the events she did (2K, 3K and 4K pursuits). We looked at some track pursuit times for both the district and national races and realized that she was competitive with the current and past winners. Since the race was local, it was an easy decision to enter. The tougher challenge was to find track bikes, practice on the track with real track bikes, train for National Championships and be race ready in 11 days.

It was my job to make it happen. I informed the coaches we planned to race in the track nationals and we needed a training plan and equipment. Buying equipment was not a practical option. The great thing about the racing community and the racers who participate is the camaraderie and shared goals that motivate us to compete. Within 24 hours, we had two riders who loaned us track bikes in our size so that we could begin training immediately. The next weekend before the race, we were at the Velodrome to take a beginner clinic. Riding on the track was no big deal. We tweaked our training and planned to go to the track on the weekend before the race commenced with our coach for a practice session to check gearing.

The events:

We chose two events – the 500 meter time trial and the 2K pursuit. Both events are raced on the track in heats with one rider starting at opposite ends of the track and chasing each other. In essence, you ride on the track by yourself. The 500 meters is a full out sprint from a standing start. We used a 51/15 gear. The technical aspect is the ability to accelerate from a standing start and immediately negotiate the curve while standing and sprinting after the first curve. Then you drop to the aerobars and keep accelerating. The 2K pursuit is a sprint to start and then settle in at an all out maximum effort for 3 minutes.

The bikes:

A kind and generous friend from Five Rings (who also participated in the BTC event) loaned Velodiva his Cervelo P3C track bike – with a few adjustments it was a pretty good fit. Hermes had a Felt track bike. Track bikes are fixed gear with no brakes or free wheel. Everything about them is beefy versus a road bike. For example, the wheels are bolted on with real nuts and you use a wrench to tighten the nuts. No quick release skewers. The wheels are 32 spoke, disks or carbon tri or quad spokes. The lateral acceleration in the turns at full power at 40 mph or more requires more mechanical strength. The bikes are still light since there is no rear cluster, brakes, shifters, or multiple chain rings.

Velodiva's Track Bike


The UCI:

Every bike had to go through UCI inspection. They had their UCI jig setup and a scale at the home and back stretch with a commissionaire checking bikes. I heard this was the first time that they did this at the track nationals. Well, there was some chaos as racers found their bikes to be too light or seat setback / aerobar setup out of spec. I saw a couple of guys tape allen wrenches to their top tube to meet the weight requirements. In reality, the inspector could have not accepted that solution because you cannot add weight that can be removed while riding.

Hermes going through UCI inspection


Velodiva’s events her narative:

My goal for the 2K was sub-three minutes, so I was happy with my 2:59.65. I used a 51 x 15 which felt right but it is clear by my splits that I need to really work on the start. First lap was 35:04, with subsequent lap times of 27:53, 28.66, 29.53, 29.34 and 29.32. My pursuit person faded after 3 laps and I easily passed her on the 5th lap. Next year (assuming I do this again!) I will have faster competition as Jane Rinard, the 50-54 2K pursuit winner, "ages up" to my category. Jane turned in a time of 2:46.

I also did the 500 m the day before for practice and placed 4th (out of 5) with a dismal time of 50:13. (My 500 meter split in the 2K was 49:02 – a bit better). The winner was Allyson Vought with a time of 44.08. That said, it was a "PR" given that I never did or practiced a 500 m before – and I did get a medal and a place on the podium. Doing that event was also a good way to get my nervousness under control, and I was able to put those disappointing results out of my mind for the next day's 2K.

Velodiva in action




Hermes’ events:

My goal for the 500 meters and 2K pursuit was to beat someone. Hopefully, it would a man in my age group. The 55 –59 age group is one of the toughest and is populated by former National Champions and State Champions and generally very experienced track racers. I was pleased with my 500 meter result. - 46.12 seconds beating another racer by 1.56 seconds. This was great experience and the first 500 meter track race of my life was age 59 in the US Nationals and I beat one guy. Life is good.

In the 2K pursuit, the goal and situation was the same. However, now I am an experienced track racer. I line up on the home stretch with my competition on the back stretch. As the 5 beeps count down, on the long tone, I am off. Immediately, there is a double gun shot signaling a false start. The announcer says it would be great if the riders do a U turn on the track to speed things up. A U turn on the track. Hey, I just learned how to get on and off of this bike 7 days ago. I am going around. I did not see how a U turn was possible and even if it was, not by me. I came around and got back into position. This time, we had good start. My tactical plan was simple. Accelerate up to speed like I did in the 500 meters and then settle in for the first lap. On lap 2, I eased off every so slightly. On lap 3,4,5, and 6, I stepped on the gas increased speed each time. Laps 5 and 6, I was still accelerating and bleeding from the eyeballs. When I heard the bell on the final lap, I gave it everything I had. My time was 3:03.34. I beat my man by 2.74 seconds. Also, beat another guy by 3.31 seconds. I am really happy with my result for my first two track races. It was a great experience and shows it is never too late to try something new.

Hermes in action




What's next? The Worlds in Sydney next year. I mean how can you top winning the Nationals as your first race?

Last edited by Hermes; 09-06-08 at 02:54 PM.
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Old 09-05-08, 12:02 PM   #2
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A rainbow jersey? A possibility at least. Good job................do you need a mechanic?
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Old 09-05-08, 12:30 PM   #3
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I how it just keep getting better for you guys. Nice story and good luck in future races.
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Old 09-05-08, 01:52 PM   #4
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Thanks for sharing your story with us.
Very interesting. You for sure need to do it again next year.
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Old 09-05-08, 03:52 PM   #5
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Your post increased my knowledge of track racing by 99% (I already knew bikes were used). Thanks and congratulations to all.
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Old 09-05-08, 04:46 PM   #6
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Bravo!

And here's to many more!!!!
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Old 09-05-08, 05:05 PM   #7
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You guys need some old groupies?
What a great achievement - thanks so much for sharing!
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Old 09-05-08, 05:14 PM   #8
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Felicitations!
Wish we were that young again . . . Now go for the tandem title!!!
Pedal on!
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Old 09-05-08, 05:19 PM   #9
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Congrats to the both of you for meeting and axceeding you goals, for winning, and
most importantly...for enjoying your hobby/sport together.
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Old 09-05-08, 05:33 PM   #10
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Fantastic!!! I know you guys are real proud. ------ Lp
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Old 09-05-08, 10:20 PM   #11
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How exciting for you! It inspires me to push on.
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Old 09-05-08, 10:39 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maddmaxx View Post
A rainbow jersey? A possibility at least. Good job................do you need a mechanic?
I saw one guy wearing a rainbow jersey and there may be others. We were there for Tuesday and Wednesday and racing continues through Saturday. However, participating at Worlds is a logical but significantly more difficult next step.

Hey good mechanics are hard to find. Absolutely.
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Old 09-06-08, 08:57 AM   #13
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I saw one guy wearing a rainbow jersey and there may be others. We were there for Tuesday and Wednesday and racing continues through Saturday. However, participating at Worlds is a logical but significantly more difficult next step.

Hey good mechanics are hard to find. Absolutely.
I met a really nice woman in the 60+ category from Colorado - she was wearing the rainbow world championship stripes on her jersey which she won just a couple years ago. And she was tough!!! My inspiration - good thing she ages up to 65+ when I reach the 60+ category.
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Old 09-06-08, 09:14 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hermes View Post
I saw one guy wearing a rainbow jersey and there may be others. We were there for Tuesday and Wednesday and racing continues through Saturday. However, participating at Worlds is a logical but significantly more difficult next step.

Hey good mechanics are hard to find. Absolutely.
Oh..........you need a good mechanic..........
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Old 09-06-08, 10:01 AM   #15
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On the podium



What's next? The Worlds in Sydney next year. I mean how can you top winning the Nationals as your first race?
We call it pothunting over here- I ask you- the second and third look as though they have just done a hard ride.

Just because you have trained better than the others- are fitter than the others and don't look old enough for the class doesn't mean you have to show up the Established riders in your group.

Well done and the rainbow is your next challenge. But watch out- give it another 30 years and Victoria will be in your class.

And Hermes- Looks like you will have to talk to the bank manager- or find a good sponsor. New bikes are on the cards. Skill like this just has to be taken to the extreme.
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Old 09-06-08, 10:22 AM   #16
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You guys need some old groupies?
What a great achievement - thanks so much for sharing!
+1
I'll be a groupie?
Velodiva's groupies - makes me feel like a leering old man, somehow not quite right.

What an inspiration!
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Old 09-06-08, 10:32 AM   #17
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This forum has taught me how YOUNG 50+ folks can be -- IF we eat well and take care of our bodies. The older members of our seniors bike group truly amaze me!!
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Old 09-06-08, 11:20 AM   #18
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This forum has taught me how YOUNG 50+ folks can be -- IF we eat well and take care of our bodies. The older members of our seniors bike group truly amaze me!!
Very much so. Granted sometimes Mother Nature can throw a wrench or two into the plans but if you don't give in to the urge to sit around and eat to excess there's no reason why 50 and up can't be just as much fun as 30 something.

Well done on the racing to both of you. As a racer (not bicycles.. YET) I know how it feels to be in the pits and feel the pressure and comraderie. It keeps me coming back for more. And it's always a great day when you exceed your own expectations.

Uh... is it just me or does 'diva's leg muscle tone look a lot harder and more pumped than Hermes' in the start line shots.....
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Old 09-06-08, 12:57 PM   #19
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When Velodiva's in the picture I'm never looking at Hermes legs!..
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Old 09-06-08, 08:27 PM   #20
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Wow! No wonder you're on cloud 9!

Your victory is impressive. There's no stopping you now!
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Old 09-06-08, 08:44 PM   #21
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Hi,

Great story for both of you. Makes me think that I should give it a shot.

Was my teammate, Allyson Vought wearing her pink and blue skinsuit or was she in a SoCal district champion skinsuit? I ask because she is listed as unattached on the results page.

Now that both of you are Hellyer experts you need to come down here and race at the ADT Event Center.
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Old 09-06-08, 11:23 PM   #22
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Hi,

Great story for both of you. Makes me think that I should give it a shot.

Was my teammate, Allyson Vought wearing her pink and blue skinsuit or was she in a SoCal district champion skinsuit? I ask because she is listed as unattached on the results page.

Now that both of you are Hellyer experts you need to come down here and race at the ADT Event Center.
Below is a podium shot of the 55 - 59 500 meters medal winners. Allyson just accepted the National Champion jersey. I do not remember exactly but I think it was pink. (Velodiva on the far left in Webcor.)

The ADT center is totally cool. We would love to ride / race on it. We do get down to LA so it may be possible. The first week in October the Elite Track Nationals are held there.



We went to the track this evening to watch the match sprint races and the points races. In the 60 - 65 points race, our team got first and second. The points race for the 55 -59 was totally insane. The speed and the sprints were amazing. The announcer noted that this year there is very little spread, if any, between the 2K pursuit times of the various age categories. "Aging up" buys you very little. Tonight in the gold medal matched sprint heat 40 - 45, we clocked the winner at 40 mph for 200 meters.

Last edited by Hermes; 09-06-08 at 11:44 PM.
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Old 09-06-08, 11:41 PM   #23
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I never received so many roses in my life!! Red, white and blue (or close to it) roses from Hermes and yellow roses from my coaches Dmitriy and Vladimir. If possible, D & V were even more excited than me! I owe a lot of thanks to Hermes, my coaches, my Webcor teammates and training mates for their inspiration - they had more faith in me than I did. I am just happy I didn't disappoint them.

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Old 09-07-08, 12:03 AM   #24
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WOW! Most excellent work you 2!
Great Stuff Velodiva!
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Old 09-07-08, 04:29 AM   #25
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What an incredibly fast rise to glory! Congratulations.
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