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Thursday Night Track Report

10 lap tempo - I might've gotten a point in the first or second lap, have to wait on full results to get posted. After that I dropped way off from too much time at the front and finished somewhere around last.

5 mile race - Hung with the group and stayed on a wheel 95% of the race. with two laps to go, I thought Josh Arends, Josh Hughes, and I were organized enough toward the front and I could tell everyone else was thinking about position for the sprint already because no one was moving over the top anymore. I decided to go for it knowing I wouldn't last for 2 laps, but might be able to string the field out and hopefully one of the Joshes would get my wheel as I went. Not sure how that played out in the results, because after about 3/4 of a lap I was gassed and pulled up, finishing last as customary.

Belgian Win-n-out, aka the race for 5th, then 4th, then 3rd...etc. - After the neutral and 3 laps, both Joshes were on the front, so Josh A decided it was his time and went with Josh H right on his wheel resulting in 5th and 4th places respectively. By this time in the night it had gotten quite cool out and I had not brought anything warm to wear, resulting in no longer being warm/warmed up - I think you know where I'm going with this - middle pack finish.

Room for improvement = plenty.
Knowledge gained = most definitely.
Will bring trainer and jacket next time = affirmative.

_--Gavin Gould_


A track racer born? Well, maybe just a racer.

Today I attended the Women's Track Clinic and had my first experience riding a track bike.  Besides learning the ins and outs of track racing and that riding a track bike is not as terrifying as I thought,  I learned a few other important things.   A little training goes a long way and a good attitude goes even longer.  Last year I put my butt on a mountain bike for the first time and each race was both my fitness training and learning time.  Results, what are those, I was happy to cross the line in one piece and did so usually in the bottom.  Then came cross season.  I'll try it once turned into six and there was a small curve upwards in the results.  A hard effort once a week seemed to be doing something.  Over the winter I attended Pedaling with a Purpose twice a week, my first attempt at workouts/training.

So here we are, a new season starting, more ladies in the scene and on our team, great support and energy out there, why not try more types of races.  I have to be honest, I mostly joined the team because I liked the social aspect of it all.  Sure I liked riding my bike but having an excuse to eat and drink more was even better.  The racing was just a vehicle for those rewards.  But as I've gotten a few races and rides under my belt in the last month I find that I'm no longer that pokey gal who needs to walk her bike up that hill or can't ride the lakefront path without needing to be in traction the next day.  Hmmm, that training did something, it made me stronger.

Here's where I find myself.  I've got more strength literally to push myself harder but now I need to find the attitude.  Today I loved hearing the other ladies saying 'this is so much fun', 'I want to just get out there and go', 'I'm competitive and want to get better'.  Besides in Apples to Apples I've never been a competitive person.  Sure we all want to do well and winning always feels better than losing, but it's a drive I've never quite developed.  Fear?  Laziness?  Stigma?  But I find myself now in a crossroads.  Whereas last year it was about getting over the fear of the unknown this year is starting out to be discovering what kind of rider/racer I want to be.

What's my point?  Ask me in a few months.  All I know now is I need to accept that I've become a better rider which in turn will make me a better racer.  I don't see any podiums in my future but I do see some hard efforts.  Amazed and honored am I to be riding with such great women and I hope that we all can strike that balance of commradery and drive both in ourselves and each other that I am now trying to embrace.    As for the track?  We'll just have to wait and see.


-Erica Chianese


Women's Track Clinic!

Francine and the awesome folks at Alberto's have announced this year's Women's Track Clinic for Sunday, April 18.  This clinic is a great way to learn the basics-- how to ride a track bike, what the lines on the track mean, how races work, and more.  Don't miss it!  <a href="">Leaflet here.</a>


Northbrook cross, super stars, ...

Half Acre Cycling took Northbrook Cross by storm, with our two superstar riders once again shining in the juniors and 4b's.  Evan came to his first cross race with <a href="">great determination</a>-- and didn't take last!-- and <a href="">Jacob scored a $20 handup</a> in the 4b's, more than a week's allowance, from what I've heard.  And their dad Al scored a 2nd place in the highly competitive Masters 50+ field.  Topping it off was our highly successful heckling section, including <a href="">Helge, making his small-screen debut.</a>

Congrats also to Ariel and Jeremy for finishing their first 'cross race ever, and to the rest of the Half Acre Crew for racing with heart-- we 15 riders line up for a total of 17 races yesterday.  AND we provided a full 50% of the officiating support, to boot.

Check out Jeremy showing off that track moves work for CX too:

!! (image: <a href="">Luke</a>)


50 track races…

I wanted to do a lot of track racing this year. I wanted to really get to know the sport. I figured the best way to do that was to just dive in and race, then race some more. The stars aligned. Schedules were checked and arrangements made. I was determined to do 50 individual races this season.

Beginning May 14th I began racing between three different velodromes each week, rotating between them (Ed Rudolph Northbrook Velodrome, Major Taylor Velodrome Indianapolis and Washington Park Velodrome Kenosha) until I found a rhythm. I ended up driving to Kenosha on Tuesdays and then to the Major Taylor Velodrome in Indianapolis on Thursdays. I figured I would be able to race 50 individual races by the end of the season.

On August 18th I did my 50th race of the season with a 5th place at Kenosha during a CAT4 unknown distance race. This has been a great season for me. I have met some incredible athletes of all ages. I have witnessed some really scary events. I have gone from a CAT4 to a CAT3 at the Major Taylor Velodrome. I participated at the American Velodrome Challenge in Indianapolis holding my own against riders in Category 1-3. I figure, by the actual end of the season somewhere around August 28th, I will be over 60 races. I have no idea what I will be doing after, probably sleeping.

-John Cline

Friday Night Tr-action!

Another Friday night at Ed Rudolph Velodrome in Northbrook. Relatively small fields, but we were well represented with Chris, Josh [recently upgraded to cat 4], and myself in the adult race. Chris's son Cullen made his track racing debut - it was also his first time on a fixed gear! He rode very well for a first timer and put in a great effort racing with the juniors.

As for the old dudes races, we started it off with an 8-lap tempo. I hate tempo races, and it ended as a nice warm-up for all three of us.

Our next race was a win-and-out with 3 laps prior to the first winner. In the first lap, Anton from Turin took off and no one seemed too interested in chasing for a $5 prime except me. He had 8-10 bike lengths on me coming out of turn 2, and I needed to win something other than just my upgrade this season. I got out of the saddle, applied the watts, and took the lap and the $5 prime by a wheel or three. Chris was following and was able to stay out for the next lap's $10 prime, and an official who got confused on the lap count mistakenly waved him off as the winner.

The evening's last contest was a 20-lap points race. Having spent myself in the previous sprint, I rapidly moved to the rear of the pack. Things started to spread out a couple laps in, and a gap was forming ahead of the 3 guys I was with, so I took off from them into a group of 4 or 5 that Josh was in and we started to work together to chase down the lead group. After a couple rounds of half-lap pulls I noticed that a couple of guys were fading. Then a field prime was announced, and not having much left in the tank I yelled for Josh to go and he did so with gusto, handily winning himself $10.

We may not have won the races, but we made our presence felt and all finished in the money.

-Gavin Gould

45, 46, 47...

HAC trackie John Cline has been putting some serious travel time in this year to get out to where the action is.  Tuesdays at Kenosha Velodrome, Thursdays at Major Taylor Velodrome, sometimes a weekend training session at a track or a Monday at Northbrook... he's nonstop!

We're incredibly proud to congratulate him on his great results and cheer him on to his 50th race this season.  That's right, 50 races since the start of racing in May.  Yet, as mindboggling as it is, John's not done yet.  Something tells us he won't be hanging up the cleats 'till they shut the tracks down this fall.  Dedication is an understatement!


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