I got to the Home Depot Center Velodrome on Sat. April 21st, 2012 and found out my pursuit team was named the "Gentleman's Team". I had to smile to myself. Made me think of all the strip clubs that are called Gentleman's Club. Not that I would know anything about strip clubs or at least recently. Lol. Use to go with some work friends to Laker games and then hit a few "clubs" in the area afterward. That was a long time ago though. I can't even remember if the gals took all their clothes off but they must have because you couldn't buy alcohol.
|The "Gentleman's Team"- John McKee, Jerry McDonald, Alan Wignall, & Monty Pettus(post race pic)|
The story of the "Gentleman's Team" goes back a few months. Alan Wignall was trying to build a 60+ pursuit team for 2012. He had heard about Monty Pettus and myself from his friend and Paramount member, Howard Miller. Both Monty and I were a go. We figured this would be fun and would make us stronger road riders. Monty wanted to go back to Bend, Or. for national road champions a stronger rider and be more competitive in 60-64 and I wanted to move up from 2 to 1 in the criterium in 65-69. I wanted that red, white and blue jersey put on me at a podium in September 2012. Tall order for me but those were our long range goals. Alan had been on a team in 2011 and had been training almost exclusively at the track and was getting very strong. The search for a 4th person came upon Alan's friend, Jerry McDonald. Jerry is a long time trackie and very savvy about riding at the track and as I learned, very strong as well. The 4 of us starting working together under the tutelage of Roger Young and everything was going great. We were committed to state and natz. About 3 weeks ago we learned that USA Cycling was shaking up their categories and 60+ would not be one of them. 55-64 would be one and 65+ would be another as I understand it. Since Monty is 63 and Alan is 64 this year, they would not be in the same age cat as Jerry(65) or myself(66). Jerry and I would have to find 2 new partners and Monty and Alan would also have to find 2 new partners but for the 1st local LAVRA time trial the original guys would do it together for the 1 and only time. We had trained all aspects of the 3 k pursuit- starts, exchanges, the finish, cornering, riding tight, etc. I wasn't very good at much of this I have to admit.
The event at the Home Depot Center was going to start at 9 am. The 2nd event would be the pursuit and our team was 2nd up. I got to the venue at around 7:15 am and started setting up on the top level of the velodrome with the trainer, road bike, track bike, & bike bag. I set up with my team and other riders overlooking the track. There was a door behind us that we could walk out the back of the building, down a stairs and in the back door to the infield area of the track. Most of the infield is taken up by volleyball courts that is filled all hours of weeknights and all day on the weekends with teenage girls on expensive volleyball club teams. I must admit that they train and practice hard.Their are always parents in the stands looking out for their investment.
The track was open to warm up from 8 to 9 am. We went down and did some warmup laps and a few 3 lap accelerations. Back up to our road bikes on the trainer. Keep the heart rate up. Everyone that didn't have their race bike in the proper gears made the change to the prescribed gear ratio of 92 inches. I had a combo of a 14 tooth cog in the back and a 48 chainring in the front. Back down to the infield and went up on the apron of the track near the start and watched the first group. They were thrown together just before the start and they looked it. One rider was dropped half way through the race and the 3rd who is the timed person fell off on the last lap. That was my biggest fear, getting dropped or how about not getting on at the start and chasing. Yikes.
Our turn came and we set up like we had in practice. Jerry McDonald was 1st on the track. Just above him was Alan Wignall and then Monty and myself. We were slightly staggered with myself the greatest distance from the pursuit line(center of the track) which is different than the sprint line. All being held by volunteers but Jerry. He was in the start machine.
|McKee(can barely see on left), Pettus, Wignall and McDonald at the start- photo courtesy of Pat Benson|
|Wignall, Pettus, McKee & McDonald- looks like Jerry is getting a good draft off of me- photo courtesy of Pat Benson|
|McDonald, Wignall, Pettus & McKee at the start/finish line- Photo courtesy of Pat Benson|
|I can see Monty is already starting to drift a bit to do his exchange and I am thinkng of coming through for my pull- Photo courtesy of Pat Benson|
|My daughter Amanda with Jonathan- 50th anniversary edition of Go,Dog,Go!|
I was coming toward home and had almost nothing. Really out of gas. Alan came by me underneath and then Jerry on my right. Alan was 1st to the line and then Monty came out of no where to finish 2nd. How did he do that?? Lol. Most of you know what a good finisher Monty is on the road. Jerry was 3rd. We were all very close at the end and we definitely got good style points for that. I think we got a 2 second deduction in our time for style. Our official time was 3:59:13. Not great but the first time we had done the whole thing for real. I was really happy. Finished it and didn't screw up!! My lap times were right there with everyone else and my last lap time was actually faster than my other 2. I felt great. Done! Over! What a relief!!
Looking back on the race there is not much we could have done different except go faster here or there like our start and overall our effort got an A grade. It is sad we have to break up for the SCNCA and Natz but onward and upward. We shall see what the future brings. Thanks to my teammates for showing support and encouragement and thanks to Roger for his help. It has been a great experience. Hard but really fun! I had never ridden at the track in tt bars and it isn't all that easy at speed doing the turns and staying tight on the person in front of me. You are suppose to stay 3 to 4 inches from the wheel in front of you and I definitely don't have that down but better than the pictures show. Thanks again to Pat Benson for the great action photos. The post race picture was taken on my Nikon camera and crafted by Gerald Agnew. Gerald will be joining Jerry and and I on our 65+ team. Ricky Shorts will be joining Monty and Alan for their pursuit team. That's all for now folks! Train hard and race safe!