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Noob Report: Noob's First Keirin Race

When it comes to racing bikes, I'm a greenhorn, a rookie, a newbie, a noob. I've raced just five times so far.

I know that people race for seasons and seasons before they get to race Keirin-style. So tonight when I found myself at the line, looking at the bright red motor bike that would pace us out and drawing a number out of a bag for my starting position, I first thought: this is so rad! I can't believe I get to do this! And then I thought: EEK! This is really different than anything I've tried before. How exactly am I going to do this?

Keirin races have standing starts. Left foot or right foot in front? How do I balance and all that? This was my first standing start, and luckily an experienced racer, Brean, was there to tell me what to do and hold me up (and help me shift my feet and weight around a bit---thanks!)

I lucked into the second starting position, so there was only one person between me and the motor bike. When the gun went off I went right in for the sweet spot directly behind it, where the draft is the best. (Thanks to Brean also for the hefty push that helped me get there.)

There I was---close enough behind the motor bike to read the print on the tiny plate above the rear wheel that says "aim here." As we went around, the pace bike increased in speed. We were going at a pretty good clip by the time it pulled off with one lap to go.

In the final lap, I thought: if I could just hold this front position, I just might win this thing.

Then coming out of the last turn, the whole rest of the heat (all three of 'em!) passed me by.

When it comes to racing, I'm a noob. My conditioning level leaves a bit to be desired and I pretty much don't know jack about what's going on half the time.
But as a noob, every day at the track brings an introduction to something awesome: a new style of racing, a different skill, words to shout in other languages (tonight I learned that "szybciej" means "faster," in Polish) and more allies in the bike world to help me along.

My results for the night: 3rd in the scratch race, 4th in Keirin, and 4th in a points race. Nothing stellar, but I feel like I'm getting off to a decent start.

 -Sarah Lu

Friday night lights

In the second lap of my first track race I thought to myself, "I don't know what I'm doing".  Three weeks later, on my second night of track racing I put that first nights experience to use.  The first race of the night was a 15 lap scratch, my best race. I finished sixth after being edged out at the line by Josh from Team Beer'd.  We then had a very short rest while four women did a miss and out and two citizens did a chariot race.  The second race, was a devil's scratch. I was the fifth rider out, which gave me some extra rest.  I felt good for the third and final race, a 20 lap points race.  I finished somewhere in the bottom half of the 22 man field, but was hanging with the lead group for the first 15 laps. Sprinting on three points laps and for one prime wiped me out.  A great night of racing at the velodrome.

Fun Times at Northbrook

We'd like to thank everyone who came out last night for some track fun with us: "Northbrook Garner Bicycle Club,": the "Northbrook Park District,": and everyone who raced or cheered!  We had a great night of racing with a 4/5 men's field so big that it had to be split in half for the first race.  What a way to start the season!

Congrats to Half Acre Cycling riders Sarah, Julie, Dave, Gavin, Josh, Chris, John, and Al for some great racing.


We're serious about our Cat 5s.

As a team that's about 1/3 Cat 5's, we know what it's like.  Our roadies needed more early season mass starts, so we threw a series of crits.  And our trackies were struggling to meet Northbrook's upgrade requirements, so teammate John Cline got involved with the track's committee and offered to help expand the Friday night calendar.  And it worked.

Half Acre Cycling is proud to sponsor the first night of Friday Night Developmental Series racing at the Northbrook Velodrome's 50th Anniversary Season, increasing the season by one week (10%!), and giving all the Cat 5 trackies out there one more shot at that upgrade.  We'll see you at the track on June 5!  Flyer <a href="">here.</a>


no more left turns (this season)

Half Acre Cycling bid adieu to the Northbrook Velodrome in style on September 11, with Adrian and Dave racing in Category 4 and Tim in Category 3.  Add to that more than a dozen other Half Acre riders and supporters, s'mores ingredients, and some fun racing, and you have a closing night to remember.

Half Acre's riders made a strong showing with pack finishes throughout.  Adrian came off the front for a 5th place finish in the Danish Win n' Out.  Dave and Adrian rode together well, working from a smart placement in the back of the field to the front by the end of the race.  In the Category 3 peleton, Tim showed new strength and strategy, hanging back in the beginning of races and surging with good timing at the end.  All three gentlemen closed the season on a high note.

The party was in the infield, too, shouting and cheering for teammates.  Because she had officiated three nights earlier in the season, Julie was invited to join the annual official's race, placing third but winning just for racing in clogs, a short skirt, and kneesocks.

Thus the Half Acre Cycling track program closes its first season.  We're looking forward to season 2, hoping to add even more depth and talent and continue to support friendly, dedicated riders.


How We Do: Thursday at the Track

A few weeks ago, I rode up to Ed Rudolph Velodrome, or as it's better know, Northbrook. I made the decision to not race track this season but I was there to support my fellow teammates David Bowers, Adrian Silva and Ed White as they battled it out in Cat 4 and Cat 3. I managed to get some video while I was up there.

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