Summer Camp Part 1: Hellyer Velodrome Challenge

And so our adventure began. A little later than we had planned, as I was having my new disc fixed on super short notice. My car looked like a clown car. Not only did we have four bikes and four wheels on top of the roof, but Kevin’s frame, three sets of various handlebars, five wheels, three bags, three backpacks, two sets of rollers, one double bike box, seven helmets, and who knows what else inside it. Packing was interesting, holding bags in the car while someone else closes it quickly…reminds me of how I move! But needless to say, it all fit, and we were off. Driving to San Jose for my first HVC.

Dana quickly busted out the 4th of July celebrations, while being slammed in the “Panda Cave”. The drive was quick, an easy five hours. And then we arrived, into our host house, and then to bed. We woke up the next morning, went to the track, and got settled in for what was going to be a very good learning experience.

This weekend was my first real track racing since elite nationals last september in Carson. I was nervous, scared, and didn’t remember how to warm up for track events. But I was excited. Time to put on the fast booties, race wheels, and aero helmet. The 500m, miss and out, keirin, and match sprints were on tap for this weekend.

The first event was the 500m. I’m not very fond of these…something has always gone wrong..wrong gear, bad start…whatever it was, the 500 always had it. But this one was different. I didn’t have a great start, but it wasn’t the worst I have ever had. I rolled it, fast as I could, yet when I came in, I wasn’t happy. I felt like I could have been faster, I didn’t like the start. I was disappointed. I took 2nd, .02 seconds behind the winner, and two whole seconds faster than I have ever done it. I was ecstatic! Who wouldn’t be! After two months on the track, after eight months of nothing, I was flying! Of course, there’s a lot to be improved on, but for now, I will take what I can get. Including the whole $35 for 2nd place.

The miss and out was what it could be expected to be. I love the miss and out, but once again, it didn’t go as planned. Got pinned in with about six ladies to go, and missed out on the cash, and a podium finish. But, it was fun, fast, and good for me to do.

The keirin is my favorite event, the one I love. The one I want to dominate in. But, it’s also the one I have the least amount of experience in, and it showed this past weekend. The first round, I should have made it through to the final, but I didn’t. I took 3rd, when the top two went through. So, I went to the reps. I knew what I did wrong, and after a few words of encouragement, I went into the rep round, took first position, and rode it all the way through, to qualify myself for the final. In the final round, I got the motor, and after some contact on the front, came around, lost the front and was out powered to a 4th place finish. It was a strong learning experience. Every race has been, and will be. The hardest part about it all is having the patience and know that the strength and experience will come, I just need to take it as I can.

The final race day was the flying 200m and match sprints. My flying 200 was less than impressive. Way less. Unfocused, unprepared, and who knows about my gear choice. It was good enough to qualify for the rounds, but what place it was, I still don’t know. I won the first ride, taking me into the semi-final against Tela Crane. She took both rounds, so I went to the 3/4 final round with Dana Feiss. Dana took both rides, and I ended up 4th. I’m proud of myself. I did some moves I haven’t before, and I rode some tough rides. I don’t have the speed the other girls have right now, so getting passed in the final corner of the race is something I am going to have to adjust in my races, and adhere to my disadvantages and make those advantages in the future.

With that, HVC was over. It was time to drop Dana off at the airport and pack up the car to drive to Portland. His home town, and my first trip to the Alpenrose Velodrome. The drive was good. Was a little slow going at first, but we got there in good time, made it to the host house, and again, crashed out, bed time, adios.

And now, hanging out in Portland, getting ready for AVC to start, the second stop of my first summer camp.

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