47 Degrees of Veloration!!
Woohoo - i survived Burnaby!
It was quite a thrilling experience! The Burnaby Velodrome is an indoor, 200 meter wooden track, with 47 degree bankings...as you can see, it's pretty steep! You need to maintain around 30kph in the corners, or you'll slide down (which a good number of riders did..! I wore my 'No Tumblies' tho.)
Riding on wood was pretty wild, it's quite springy and makes a continous noise...calling it a 'Thunderdrome' isn't really too much of a stretch..it is kind of thunderous, especially with the way the sound reflects off the dome.
The most notable thing was coming out of the corners - you actually feel yourself 'pulling G's', especially at higher speeds - there's a little bump there, and you feel yourself getting 'sucked' into the track. You can see some pics here.
So Mike (thanks for the transport and two pics!) and i arrived in Van on Fri night, and he dropped me off at Brandy's place, who's a good friend and vegan activist, whom i met and lived with at the old Vegan House in Toronto. We went out for some vegan Chinese food, and had these 'drumsticks' which were quite incredible - i haven't had anything grilled like this in the last 15yrs, and it had a crispy 'skin' which reminded me very much of chicken..ahem...legs.. If 'real' chicken tastes like this, i can see why people want to eat them..but the vegan version is quite good too! Leave them chickens and their legs alone people! =)
Saturday morning we got to the track around 8am, and immediately i felt a little intimidated.. It's funny, because it's quite a bit smaller than ours (in Victoria, 333m), but a *lot* more difficult to traverse.. And i wasn't entirely sure how one gets rolling on it....! (Turns out you can get on the apron, and just sorta sling yourself into it.)
It was open track for the first hour, so i suited up, and gave 'er a go.
It felt *really* strange. The wood shifted ever so slightly underneath, and i was paranoid of sliding off (which i'd seen a couple riders do before i even go started! No serious injuries tho.)
I got in a paceline and started to feel a bit more comfortable...but still wasn't entirely sure of the corners...i was still a bit sketchy, and it's hard to look behind yourself, since you want to keep an eye ahead of you! It's also quite a bit more narrow than our track.
The corners hit you very quickly, so unless you're used to riding it, looking behind yourself or around is a challenge.
After 30mins, i decided i would switch to the B category, rather than A, which is what i signed-up as. There were considerably less riders in A (~9 vs 18 in B), but i didn't feel comfortable at higher speeds, and getting out of the saddle felt really weird... (Plus i hadn't been on a track for several months..)
Now for the races, just two events the first day:
SATURDAY (link to full results)
First up was the 200m and sprints, but i decided to pass, since sprints aren't really my thing...tho in retrospec i really wish i did...next time!
Next was the Scratch race, which was only 5km (30 laps) - i really don't enjoy short scratch races, and this was *really* short - don't forget the individual pursuit is 4km..!
I had a bit of a rough time of this one, i hit my aerobic limits rather quickly, and in the final laps got dropped rather harshly..full results weren't counted, but i'd guess i was in the 10th-12th range.
My second and final event for the day was a 16km (80 laps) Points Race - my favorite!
Again, had the same problem with maxing out aerobically - my average HR for the 20min effort was 181bpm..!! I managed to score one point in a sprint, and placed 11th (oh yay.)
I figured out on Sunday what my problem was -- i was running too small a gear! I rode both those with a 47x14, which would be fine on a cool day with breeze in Victoria, but simply not enough for a long race indoors...
The day finished with sprint finals for everyone else. The B racer who cleaned up (Eric Smith from Alberta i believe) posted an amazing 11.9, which would have landed him in third in the A's..!! Fast guy, will have to watch out for him in upcoming years! He's only
Sat nite hung out at Brandy's, and we made caramel and vegan 'Turtles' chocolates..nummers..
SUNDAY (link to full results)
Turned out to be a very full day with six events!
First up was the Keirin rounds. I'd switched up to the 48x14, and rode much more strongly. In the first heat (only one went through) i pretty much tied for second...which threw me in the repechage (second chance!) Eric Smith was #1 of course...
The Rep faired much better - i sat on the wheel of the fastest rider, and in the last third of the final lap powered over her, and cleaned the finish line! Woohoo - i made it into the Keirin finals!! (And the first time i was first over the finish line in a race in Burnaby, yay me!)
Next was a very interesting race, the Elimination to Scratch race. Basically, the first half of the race is a Miss'n'Out, where every other lap the last rider over the line is out of the race. They did this for half the field (9 riders), and then it was an 18 lap scratch race. I basically did a 'Holz' (hehe - local rider reference), where you hang out at the back, and just inch ahead of the last few riders each sprint...often boxing them in too. This worked quite well, and i made it all the way to the Scratch portion! Details on this one were a little sketchy, but i think i tried an attach in the final laps, but got dropped, and finished 6th. Not too bad! Starting to feel like a bike racer again!
The Chariot Race followed, and i was grouped with Mr Speedy, Eric Smith, in the first round, and of course he blew everyone's doors off.. I managed to stay with him for about 8 pedal strokes off the start, then he pulled away...and i watched him gain about 20m, and then he just sat there, and that was that, and i was eliminated, tho i came in solidly 2nd in the heat..drat!
A full Elimination Race (Miss'n'Out) followed - pretty wild with 19 participants! Again, i just hung in at the back, getting the full benefit of the draft, and squeeked ahead of the last rider after each bell, maneuvering into the group and avoiding elimination...15 times. =)
I somehow 'missed' the bell when there were four of us left, and landed in 4th place...which was dissapointing, because i actually still had some kick left in the race and could very likely have made it in the top three were i paying a little more attention..... But i'm happy i did that well, i was very please with how i played my cards, getting out of tight spots, and really 'feeling' the race. (Typically i'd get a spot one or two bikes from the front, and just sit there..not really being too active...)
This lead to the Keirin finals! Unfortunately i got a rather crummy position (5th), and couldn't really do much with it, and ended up in 5th. Still, it was nice to make it to the finals. (The pic is from this race, and that's me in the blue, second from last!)
The second last event was the Win and Out, which is where i had my best moment of the weekend!
Win and Out is a race i usually don't enjoy..every other lap the bell goes, and the *first* person over the line 'wins' and is out of the race..so on the first bell, the first person over the line gets 1st place...then on the second bell, the first person over the line gets 2nd, and so on, 5 people deep..
They did it slightly different in Burnaby, which i quite liked - they made the sprints every four laps, rather than every lap. So Eric Smith of course fires it up, and blows the field apart and secures 1st place. A few more solid attacks, and 2nd and 3rd place are taken. After the third sprint, another rider immediately breaks, and i jump on his wheel! Woohoo! A break! Half a lap later, he pulls up (i presume to let me pull), and i continue the attack - gotta do something! (The race only goes to 5th place, and being ahead of the pack is a very good thing.)
I pull for half a lap and then pull up...and i look back...and i'm all alone! I see there's a good 30m between me and the next rider in pursuit, and i decide to gun it!! Sure, there are 2 laps until the bell, but what the hell!
I charge forward, and put everything i've got into the pedals...i look back every half lap, and no one seems to be chasing too hard, tho they're still there.. I decide to just focus ahead and keep the pressure on...i'm not sure if anyone else has enough left to attack hard and catch me (and i was still not feeling too confident from Sat), so i keep pounding the pedals.
The bell goes, and i'm really starting to feel it.....half a lap left, and the announcer is talking about how the pack is closing on me...faaawk!!! They looked a safe distance away last time i peeked!!
I keep as much pressure on as i can...the white line gets closer and closer...the announcer keeps going on about how much they're closing, and i hear wheels and chains right behind me....gaaah....it would be just my luck that i attack hard like this and get caught at the line..!!!!
I keep it up...my whole body is working to keep the pedals going..i'm almost wiggling....and i cross the line.......but no one is ahead of me... Nor even beside me..!
I look back, and they're a good 40m back... Crap!!!! The announcer did this a lot during races (pretended that the pack was closing on a solo rider when she/he was really quite safe), and i'm guessing what i heard was just the way sound reverberates and reflects off the roof (i could hear conversations in part of the centre where no one was...!)
But, anyway, my attack worked beautifully, and i secured my second 4th placement. Woohoo!! What a great note to end on! =)
Last was the Olympic/Team Sprint, which i did with Scott and Sara Laliberte, but we only got sixth..second O Sprint i've done with Scott tho (him, Marcus and i did pretty well (4th) at the Provincials.)
Mike and i booked it immediately after that, and somehow managed to catch the 3pm ferry, and made it into Victoria at a decent hour (i was expecting to get in around 10pm!!)
I thought that was a great weekend; it was a thrill to ride the Burnaby track, and the competition was great too! Riders from all over, including Alberta and the US (Washington and possibly Oregon), and they were all a blast to ride with - very friendly and good-spirited. Definitely looking forward to more events with these guys, tho i'm guessing i'll ride A next time...now that i'm feeling confident riding the Burnaby Velodrome. =)
FOOD: Since i'm vegan, and food is a big part of that (understatement of the month?), here's a breakdown of what i ate:
On Saturday i had some Natures Path oaty squares with almond milk and a serving of Vega for breakfast. Throughout the day i snacked on orange/pinepple juice, Barbara's Organic Blueberry Fig Newtons, and another serving of Vega and a Vega bar. I purposefully ate light, since i had the Points race right after lunch.
Sunday i had the same breakfast, and again had more juice, Vega powder and a bar, and for lunch i hate half a loaf of Manna bread - it digested quite nicely, and i find to be a great race food.
I meant to eat a few Clif Shots, but never got around to them..heh..
That was my first Burnaby racing experience, thanks for reading! (Below is the sexy new bar tape i put on my track bike...rrrrrr...)