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Photo credits: Dana and Portia of Harvard Cycling and Michaela of QCW pb Breakaway Bikes

For July 4th weekend, Michaela and I drove up to NYC to attend the track clinic taught by Pink Rhino’s Brean Shea as well as a bunch of other cool doods from Pink Rhino and QCW’s Travis Rabbitt (!!!)

THE CLINIC

I’m not going to go into a lot of specifics that were taught, other than: follow the rules that they tell you at these things, because they’re important. Also: DON’T EVER STOP PEDALING – you will fly over your handlebars. Or injure your knee. While I stress the importance of these rules, imma be frank wit y’all and admit: it got a little long at times. I will not fall in love with something bike racing related … unless you give me a chance to go fast … and maybe win šŸ˜‰

I will say that I learned a lot on Saturday, and it helped me feel much more comfortable on the track; that Brean Shea has excellently coiffed hair with secret hair products (only revealed to those who attended the clinic), as well as well-articulated sentences (due to his educational past). He is, more importantly, an amazing teacher, backing up verbal explanations with demonstrations. Travis also helped the newbs understand pace-lining with great guidance.

We also met Dana of Harvard Cycling, who it turns out shares a lot of my same acquaintances from the Chicago racing scene! Um, as does Brean! Small world šŸ™‚

THE RACES

THERE WERE MORE WOMEN SIGNED UP THAN MEN!!! WOOOOO !!! In fact, there were so many that we were split into an A group and a B group (phew!) We did a bunch of different races, and here are a few highlights:

Miss and Out (last person to cross the finish line every lap is out until the last 3, who duke it out for placings): Literally a few minutes before the race, I’m asking around: “um, so what’s the strategy?” Travis pointed out Roz of Team Vulpes in women’s A race, who was in front, and who mostly stayed in front for most of the race. “She’s really strong, and knows she can handle it, so it’s a good way to control the field and not be last.” Other things to note: it could also mean getting swarmed from behind. Neither Michaela nor I handled the strategy very well for this race, and we were out within a few laps. We were very impressed with Dana, who hung out in the back and higher on the track, conserving energy, but just barely managed to sneak into the next lap just ahead of the eliminated racer. She made it to the top 3 for that race – nice job Dana!

Points Race (every 3 laps, a sprint for points. Most points wins): At last I could sprint! I didn’t win every sprint lap, but at least one of them, I did pull off a nice attack at corner 3 for one of them, sprinting into first for that points lap. In the final 3 laps, I found myself in front with Isabel of KruisCX p/b Repucom in front, Rosael of Pink Rhino in 2nd, and myself 3rd. This was ideal (I thought), as these women had been consistently placing well for the other races. I yell: “Let’s go 1-2-3 ladies! If we work together we can do it!” Isabel and Rosael both sped up, but then I started to notice a gap between Isabel and Rosael. I didn’t think much of it, thinking maybe Rosael was getting tired, but it kept growing, and while I was vacillating between deciding to chase down Isabel or not, it grew to a quarter lap, and by the time I realized Rosael was blocking, Isabel had won! Very nice move on both their parts. As I always say: not the strongest, but the smartest people win races.

Team Sprint: I got put on a team with Brandon of NYU, Allie of KruisCX p/b Repucom, Zach of Marian Cycling, and … Kate(?) of MIT Cycling. I was to go first (least experienced / potentially slowest), a combination of people in between, with Zach as our ringer with 2 laps (as it needed to be 6 laps, but we only had 5 people). Instruction: “So all you need to do is not fall over after the standing start, go AS FAST AS YOU CAN for one lap, pull off in the correct zone, and you’re done!” OK, I could totally handle this. A standing start into a sprint wasn’t that different from a CX holeshot, really. I did as I was told, and everyone must have put in a super hard effort, because WE WON! Mmmmm, Peanut Butter.

Results: I placed 3rd in the Women’s B – in my first Track Race Omnium! And my adopted team won the team sprints! I’m also super proud of Michaela who put in a strong effort in her first time ever bike race! I admit (having had the chance to sprint numerous times now), that track racing is pretty exciting šŸ˜€

Many Special Thanks to Travis Rabbitt for convincing me and Michaela to come do this clinic/race, as well as the enormous amount of effort he put into organizing. Thank you Brean for your excellent teachings as well as the rest of the Pink Rhino crew – y’all rock. Congratulations to Isabel and Rosael for excellent, smart racing. Also: photo credits go to Dana and Portia of Harvard Cycling Club and Michaela of QCW Cycling p/b Breakaway Bikes.

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