Summer Camp Part 2: Alpenrose Velo Challenge

Summer camp part two is finished. Done and dusted. My first time on Alpenrose was…interesting. I think it’s easier to ride a concrete track, or at least to look at a concrete 250m in a much different light than wood. The LA track is a 250m, but it’s inside, and honestly, I’m terrified to get on it after not seeing it for a few months. But, Alpenrose was fun. Really fun.

First thoughts upon seeing it:

“It’s…square?”
“How are you supposed to stay in the sprinters lane?”
“I like it.”
“Let’s do this.”

It helps having someone who grew up on the track next to you the whole time, giving you little tidbits of help and words of advice to deal with the new track, but it also helps to ride on it, test it out, see how fast you can do things, how much effort it takes to climb it, etc. And I really liked it.

First race: 500m.
Once again, the thorn in my side. A true race of…when one thing goes wrong, the whole thing goes wrong. The start was alright, not great, but not horrible, but I sat down wayyyyy to soon. Stood up through the first two corners, and then down. Why? Who knows. I’m not exactly sure. It was asking myself that when it happened. Yet, I took 4th, .01 seconds out of third place. Bummer. But that’s how track goes.

Seconds Race: Sprints.
I qualified 3rd in the flying 200m. That is, after I hit the wall dropping in on the home straight. I was satisfied with this. Most definitely. Improvement over last time, and an official PR of 12.90…not smashing fast, but given the circumstances, I was quite pleased. I won the first round of sprints, which was a three up, one ride. This means there were three of us on the track, doing a match sprint, much like a 5-8 final. The next round was when it got interesting. Those who didn’t make it through the first round went to the “rep” rounds, where the winner would move on. This meant the 6 of us that went through would go through with two others who won the reps. I ended up riding against my other “attack panda”, Dana Feiss, who qualified 4th. In a true match sprint, I wouldn’t meet any of the top 4 ladies until the semi-final round, but because of this format, it came out differently. Needless to say, Dana’s incredible strength out powered me to win the round. Then…I decided to be an enduro, smack dab in the middle of my sprint tournament.

Third Race: Scratch Race
I wasn’t going to do it…mostly because I went straight from the second round of the sprint tournament, right up to the rail for the scratch, and then I would go immediately back to the sprint rounds. But, I did it anyways, didn’t give it any thought, just go. And I came out 2nd. Going into the last lap, I was sitting in the top 10, with a girl well off the front…but I just took off and went for it. I blew by everyone, with no one able to stay on my wheel, and brought it in for 2nd place…done. Couldn’t believe it.

Then I went back to the sprint tournament. Incredibly tired. Legs had nothing. This rep round was between Tela Crane, Alissa Maglaty, and myself, to see who would go on to the semi-final round, and who would get 5th and 6th in the tournament. Needless to say, I had to keep the pace fast, since my legs had no snap left at all, so I kept it rolling, and I watched the other girls. With one lap to go, I tried for it, took off, just to see. But I didn’t have anything. I took the 6th place and let the other two battle it out.

Fourth Race: Keirin
The race I love, and the race I need to learn, but am doing it fairly quickly. The first round, I drew the rail position. #7 on the track, and ended up #7 in the line. Back of the  pack, not my favorite place. I didn’t have a plan, but I had to be in the top two to go onto the second round. But that isn’t what happened. I ended up coming across in 4th, after rolling around the last corner, realizing it wasn’t going to happen. Trying to come up over the top of four riders in corner one of the last lap, I was pushed well above the blue line, creating a huge distance to cover in order to get to the front where Dana Feiss and Jen were. Then I went onto the rep round, which I rode from the front the whole way, winning, and moving onto the final round. The final ride, I drew fifth position, once again, trying to get in the front, but ending up riding in 6th position. As the motor dropped off I went from the back to about 3-4th position, stirring up the riders…my goal was to keep going, all the way to the front, but as riders began shifting and moving, I ended up behind Tela Crane, and rode her wheel all the way to the finish, ending up in 3rd place. I learned from the first round, and I adapted to the next round. I’m very proud of myself for that. And I will continue doing this, building up my knowledge, and getting better and better.

Fifth and Final Race: Flying Lap.
This was just for fun. Literally. Just for fun. See what I could do, also, because I wanted to see what a true 200m could have been, without hitting the wall. The track record was 16.94, and I came in with a 17.18. I couldn’t believe it. I was very very proud. And I was even more proud, when the track  record was then broken by Dana Feiss, with a 16.90! Another record fallen. Needless to say, I took 2nd place in the flying lap. It was fast, fun, and another good learning experience with the aero helmet, and shoe covers.

That concluded the racing. Done and dusted. Better than the first part of summer camp, and hopefully a little worse than the third part. Seattle is next, but in the meantime, I’ve been hanging around Portland with Kevin, racing go-carts, riding around the city, and mailing postcards to my family. I’m pretty blessed to have this opportunity to travel the country and race my bike. I couldn’t be more grateful for all the people who have helped make this happen.

Next up, Seattle, in t-minus 1.5 hours. Onward!

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