I love Portland. The scenery is so beautiful, the food is so good, the track is so ... unique and the track community is so awesome. Candi and Mike "Two Beers" Murray really know how to run a track. It's such a pleasure to race there. Too bad I can't stand rain otherwise I would make a case to move.
Josh "Mad Cow" (not to be confused with Jame "Mad Cow" Carney) and I returned to Portland for the Alpenrose Velodrome Challenge after our Six Day Coup (or something like that) and apparently brought the hot weather back with us. Sorry! Josh and I separated at the airport so he could get the car and I could get the bags. I got the bags and dragged them to the curb, got a call from Josh that he was on his way in our vehicle. Turns out they were out of whatever smallish SUV we had reserved (traveling with bikes is awful for the environment) so they upgraded him ... I see him about 20m down the road and, holy crap, I felt a wave of air as the "vehicle" was pushing the atmosphere towards me. Cars parted, pedestrians ran in fear ... Josh had arrived in our monster truck. As Josh said "it was as big as all outdoors". Indeed. Let the weekend begin!
Elena and Daryl (and Ollie and Daisy) were our awesome hosts (and dogs) for the weekend. And they were totally stoked to see our monster truck pull up. We decided to do it justice and go to a redneck bar, complete with 80's cover band, on Saturday night. We fit right in!
Anyway, I digress. I went to Portland to race my bike at the AVC which draws some of the best Men's and Women's fields outside of Nationals. Racing started on Friday but my first race wasn't until Saturday night which meant for a lot of sitting around both days. On Friday, Josh did his first Kilo in years and did pretty well, considering he hadn't practiced with his new aero bars. We cheered Elena as she Eddy Merckx'd (no aero bars) her 500m. Then we went to eat somewhere.
Saturday was my first race, the 5 mile Scratch. That's 40 laps on Alpenrose. We had 20ish racers in our field. It was a great field, many really strong racers were there. The officials informed us that they were going to give out $3, $2, and $1 to the 1st-3rd person across the line each lap. Meh. Women usually don't jump on those lap primes the way men do. So we started out and basically pacelined for 20 laps, maybe more. It was pretty funny. I did my share and never let myself drift back further than 8th or so place. At some point, maybe with 10? to go Jen Triplett jumped off the front. No one really did anything at first but then we started to chase. I can't remember when we caught her but a few more people launched when we did. My memory is kind of rusty but I think we caught one of the attacks and then Hanan Alves-Hyde attacked and that stuck. With 2 to go I was in the first 5 in the chase, primed to move up and then with one to go I found myself behind someone I couldn't get around since she was shifting up and down the track and slowing down. Oops. Well I ended up launching out of turn 4 and passed a few people to finish 5th, just nipped at the line by Kendi. (Should have thrown my bike!) I also did the Madison with Elena, who had done the Six Day with Megan Dean, and we had a blast.
all photos by Amara Boursaw, Wheels in Focus
Sunday was the busy day. I was scheduled to do the Keirin, Miss and Out, and Points Race. A lot, right? First up were the Keirin heats. I love Keirins. I love them so much that if I could do one race forever it would be the Keirin. For that reason, Josh thinks I'm truly a sprinter at heart. Hmm, I don't know about that. Anyway, I knew there were certain people I had to watch, but a lot of the others I had never raced with before so I wasn't sure what to expect. In order to keep this report relatively short, I'm going to sum the Keirin events up really fast with minimal text and photos (all by Amara Boursaw). I'm also not going to give away what I did wrong, since I learned it the hard way and that's what everyone else should do to. :)
Keirin heats. Top 2 advance, everyone else to repercharge. I finished 3rd in my heat = off to the rep.
Semi Finals. Top 3 advance to Finals. I managed to win this bad boy. It felt good, hence all the pictures.
Finals. Erica Allar, Jen Featheringill, Annette Williams, Shelby Reynolds, Tela Crane and me. Fun times. I really wanted to get Jen's wheel right off but apparently so did everyone else and I ended up 4th wheel. The motor pulled off and the race was fast. We were single file for like a lap which is pretty nuts and just means we were really chugging. I ended up 5th. Not great but not awful.
I should say that the Miss and Out was after the Keirin heats but before the reps. Since I wanted to do well in the Keirin I scratched the Miss and Out. It was a tough decision but seems to have turned out for the best.
Up later in the day was the Points race. We started and I knew within 2 laps that my goal of a top 3 that weekend was out the window. My legs felt really heavy and I just didn't have my normal snap. Slowly a few of the other Keirin finalists, Shelby and Annette, pulled out. There were a few attacks which stuck for a few laps and would get caught and then a group of 3 or 4 got off and I tried so hard to chase them back with 2 others but I was cooked. We were so close and I felt so bad for sucking but what can you do? Eventually the rest of the field caught our chase and I was promptly in the back of the pack. Oh man, I wanted to quit so bad but I rode through the pain. At one point Jen Triplett was on my wheel and I felt so bad because at that point I was a really slow wheel to be on. She sensed it and got around me and I settled into the yo-yo that is being on the back of the field when you're cooked. Off the back, back on, back off, back on. The break was eventually caught, when I don't remember. I found energy somewhere and I tried to contest a 4th place at some point and failed. I also managed to overcome the lead brick legs and finished 5th or 6th in the field sprint at the end. I ended up 8th, a real bummer. To make myself feel better I like to say that I finished 2nd out of the Keirin finalists.
So that was the weekend. I had a blast and got to catch up with some people I haven't seen in a while. I learned that Zak likes to do a booty dance at the line in Keirins. Elena and I danced to LL Cool J in the backseat of Daryl's car, because ladies love cool J. I got to see some track records broken, congrats to Per (Kilo), Amelia and Andrea (Team Sprint) and Kelyn, Adam and Travis (Team Sprint) and Travis in my mind you're the real record holder for the flying lap. The AVC is really a well run and fun event. I encourage anyone serious about track racing to attend. And that means you Chicago! I'll be back next year for sure.