“So how’s the weather in LA?”
“So freaking hot! It was 105 when we left!”
“How’s the snow in Colorado?”
“I don’t want to talk about it.”
It seems, mid-sprint, at the Superdrome Matrix Track Cup, Amanda Cyr and I found a middle ground in weather, with some wind, sunshine, and 80 degree temperatures. Not many of us have conversations mid-sprint, but sometimes a friendship accounts for special circumstances. The bond between US track cyclists is like none-other. A few times a year, we gather at NTC events, local track races, and elite nationals, we hug and laugh, share war stories, racing stories, and memories. Then we go back to our homes in the winter for indoor/base training, until we come out of hibernation the following season, to once again see each other, and begin again. The Matrix Track Cup was the first NTC event on the year, hosting UCI points, equal prize money, and points for the yearlong series presented by USA Cycling.
After unpacking ourselves like clowns in a circus car, Travis, Andy, and I arrived at our hotel in Frisco, after the longest-short flight of my life. We managed to fit two bike boxes, 3 suitcases, 2 backpacks, and my helmet cases in a 4-door sedan. How we did it, don’t ask. The main goal for attending the Matrix Track Cup was to make sure everything was ready for Russia. Racing the men’s and women’s sprint competition was going to mean I would ride two flying 200m for qualifying, multiple sprint rounds, and a 500m the following day. It was to be my final hard days of training before the taper starts. The pre-race travel jitters had already started Wednesday night, when I was up at 1am Thursday morning making myself scrambled eggs and a bowl of cereal, trying desperately to fall asleep. This meant I was more than ready for bed Thursday night. Then I woke up Friday morning to Travis ditching us to go drive a million dollar car. Jerk. (Just kidding. :D)
From 6pm to 11pm, it was go time. After two flying 200m, I qualified 1st in the women’s with an 11.8, and 16th in the men’s with an 11.7. Two different gears, two chances to play around. In my first ride, I had a bit of a scare dropping in out of corner 4, as the wind caught my front wheel, throwing me towards the wall. Thanks to all the pull-ups I’ve been doing, I just kept going. In the men’s round, I rode against a rider who qualified over a second faster than me. I tried to make him as uncomfortable as possible before our ride, but his power and speed compared to mine wasn’t matchable. Sadly, I didn’t make it past the rounds, but I was proud to have qualified for the sprints none-the-less, and beating out 31 men for a position in the tournament. I don’t know many female sprinters in the US who have chosen to race in a men’s competition!
Unfortunately in the women’s competition, we only had two countries represented, meaning no UCI points were going to be given. As the top qualifier, I was also awarded an extra prize bonus for breaking 11.9! BUT there were over 30 women’s flying 200m registered! I think some promoters can look and see that if you DO support women’s cycling, offering equal prize money, we will show up, and we will participate. Even the women’s open field racing the omnium had great numbers. Thank you to the women for racing and showing what we can do. The racing was fun and positive. Racing old friends from the collegiate and elite ranks, juniors and seniors.
Since winning the 500m elite national championship title last August, it’s gone from my least favorite, to almost most favorite event, only because I get to wear my stars and stripes national championship kit from Momentum Coaching Group p/b Atomic High Performance. With no start gates, we were hand held, but had official timing. I’ve got a few horror stories about being dropped, being pushed off, and generally just tipping over while being held, but nothing too bad happened this time. It’s never as stable as a start gate, when you stand up and smack the guy in the stomach with your butt, it’s always awkward and never as powerful as you would have hoped, but I got off good, and rode the best I could. My time was better than I expected, riding a 36.1, to take the top step again, and besting the next place by about 3 seconds (Congrats to Junior, Kirsten Williams, for meeting the US Junior Time standard for the 500m as part of the omnium qualifications!!!). I saw it was better than I expected, but in my world, my best should always be better. Just like in training I always want to set PRs. Thankfully Andy and Travis can deal with me, at least for now.
Overall, a great weekend. I was pleased with my times, where they are at the moment. I’m starting off right where I left off last August at Elite Nationals, while riding an outdoor track. After this next week of rest, I’ll be ready for Moscow. Even though I’m a pain, focused and intense, with the highest demand of myself than anyone could imagine, Andy didn’t run away. He pushed me off the line for each round, changed all my gears, wheels, and bars. He carried every item he possibly could to lighten my load, he took care of all the check-ins at the airport, being a true airport ninja, and dealt with my inability to let other people do things for me. Without Andy and Travis, you never know what could have happened.
So all three of us packed back up into our clown car, headed back to the airport, and are back in LA. In six short days I will be back on a plane, with my Russian Visa in hand, with hopes of meeting the US International Elite time standard.
Thank you to my sponsors, Momentum Coaching Group, Atomic High Performance, Felt Bicycles, CNP Performance, Women’s Sports Foundation, US Olympic Committee, USA Cycling, Pyatt/Broadmark, and DZ Nuts Bliss. Thank you to the Superdrome for an incredible event and for being part of the USA Cycling National Track Calendar. It was run smoothly, was fun, and was the perfect prep I needed to get ready for Moscow.
Also, thank you to everyone who has shown his or her support through the USA Cycling Ride with US Rallyme grant. I’m at 70% of my goal, in the final week of it’s running. Your donations enable me to participate in these events, and travel to Russia WITH my coach. With a trip that’s costing over $6,000, I’ve very grateful for your support in helping me cover the fees, and help meet the standards necessary to keep moving forward. If you would like to donate to help fund the final 30%, please follow this link: