Junior Track Cycling Velodrome cycling for junior (18 and under) riders

August 19, 2005

Kim Geist Worlds Diary – August 16, Road Wrapup

Filed under: Cycling,Diary - Geist,Junior Worlds — Administrator @ 11:12 pm

8/16

I am writing this last bit from the comfort of home. Yesterday was an extremely long and tiring travel day, complete with many mix-ups and delays on the flights coming back to the USA. However, these set backs didn’t really bother me too much because I was on a bit of a high coming off of a good result from the road race two days ago, in Austria.

Although I was not expecting much from myself in a hilly road race, I figured I would lay it all on the line and hold nothing back since it was the last race of the championships. Many of the other girls must have felt this same way because the riding was very aggressive. In many ways, the race reminded me of riding the Wachovia Liberty Classic this year in Philadelphia. I have to really thank my team, Victory Brewing, for giving me the opportunity to race in Philly because I think that experience really let me remain calm and let me concentrate on really riding the race smart. Instead of panicking when the group rolled away from me a little on the larger climbs, I was able to fall into my own rhythm, grab a wheel, never push into the wind, and easily rejoin the group. And, I was comfortable taking the bumps and unkind words in other languages that were abundant in the middle of the group.

Again, the race reminded me of the European racing, as seen on TV. When a median strip came up in the road, there was an official standing in it complete with whistle and flag, warning the riders of the hazards. Usually, though, there was at least a couple girls who ran into it in some way or another; half the battle of the race was staying upright and on the road. Many times girls would drop chains up the steep climbs or get pushed into the gravel on the side of the road, and this made the race all the more challenging. The only really close call I had, though, was on the steepest climb on the last lap when an Austrian rider dropped her chain in front of me and had to put a foot down. She was very close to the right side barrier. I tried to squeeze by with some speed but ended up putting my shoulder smack into hers when I rode by, thus causing me to loose a bit of balance. I ended up coming to stop, although still clipped in, holding the barrier to my right side. After a taking a second to realize what just happened, I gave myself a mighty push and turned over the gear to get rolling again on the uphill. I fortunately grabbed a wheel over the top of the climb and rejoined the group once again on the other side. On these climbs, and even the backside of the course in the woods, there were a lot of spectators that were very supportive. The other thing that reminded me I was in Europe was when a spectator ran alongside of the group, shouting words of encouragement, when we were riding uphill. I was disappointed when they didn’t offer a friendly push, though.

So, to keep a long story short, I survived the race until the last lap when I moved straight to the front under the one-kilometer-to-go banner. I was surprised, when I got there, to find there was really no organization by the teams with four or five girls still left in the selective group that remained as the main field. The only lead out that seemed to be in the works was with Australia. Amanda Spratt, also from the track, had one teammate working for her. So, I pushed my way onto her wheel and took it for the ride. Her teammate left her hung out to dry way too early, with at least 700 meters still to ride. I kept right on her hip, even through some other girl’s handlebars being pushed into my own hip. Right when I saw the 300 meter sign, I could feel the rush around the outside begin to close in, so I knew that the time to go was then, or I would fall subject to the wave of riders already sprinting toward the line. I took off, in my biggest gear, and almost held it to the line. The Lithuanian rider nipped me in a photo finish. There were two girls that snuck off the front in the closing couple of kilometers in a counter-attack to a larger group that went off in the beginning of the last lap. So, I finished in fourth place, four seconds behind the two leaders. I was ecstatic with the result. Although, now that it has sunk in, I really wish my throw of the bike at the line would have been enough to hold on for another medal. But, fourth place is pretty good for a trackie on one hilly course with 84 of the best road riders in the world.

Shannon finished the race a little further back, having gotten caught behind a gap caused by some slow climbers on the third lap, which was one of the hardest out of the five. In the guy’s race, Chris was the top finisher in 29th place. Tejay also finished the race in 96th. They suffered through nine laps of the tough course and rode strongly to finish it out. Now that it’s all over, everyone is enjoying bad-for-you food and all the things we have refrained from indulging in leading up to this block of racing. I am glad to be back home, but enjoyed myself in Austria and would easily take another opportunity to travel to Europe, again.

Later,
Kim

August 18, 2005

Kim Geist Worlds Diary – August 13 (Road Worlds Begins)

Filed under: Cycling,Diary - Geist,Junior Worlds — Administrator @ 8:39 pm

8/13

Yesterday was the first race in Oberwart. The time trial was dead flat, but fairly windswept. For the women, who started to roll down the starting ramp at noon, the conditions were wet and cold. Shannon, who was the first rider off, probably suffered the worst of it, as her entire ride was spent in the heavy rain. When I went off, eighteen minutes later, the rain was still heavy, but it lightened up throughout my ride. The men, who all had later afternoon start times, had clear skies greeting their arrivals to the course.

In addition to the rain and cold, other things really reminded me of the European cycling experience. As seen on TV, each rider rolled out of the starting tent to the cheering of a fairly good size crowd. As the riders entered the course, a team car, complete with stickers denoting their country, then followed them. Then, even along the course, there were spectators cheering us on, or spray-painting messages on the roads. The experience was good albeit my ride did not hold up so well against the more specialized road girls.

Having really put most of my efforts into riding well on the track in the pursuit this season, I was not surprised to finish so low in the final results for the time trial. Even though it was flat and fast, the time trial is quite a different animal from the pursuit. Only being a minute and a half off the pace was pretty good for me, so I am happy just to have had the experience of one international time trial behind me; it is something I can learn from.

As for the USA’s other riders, Shannon finished in 30th place, a few seconds faster than me. Chris and Tejay finished 14th and 29th respectively in the men’s field. I think all would have of course been happier with a high placing, but we all understand that we rode our absolute hardest and cannot really ask for more.

The road race will conclude this year’s world championships, tomorrow. Our team rode the course today, and it seems to be very challenging. There are some tough climbs that come up quickly one after another, followed by some fast and somewhat technical descents. The run-in to the finish is flat and fast, and if a group arrives together there, the crowd should be treated to n exciting sprint. The USA will only be starting three men and two women, so we will have small teams compared to some of the other countries. Maybe, however, since we have remained somewhat anonymous to this point, those countries will underestimate our abilities in the next race.

Kim Geist Worlds Diary – August 11, Track Wrapup

Filed under: Cycling,Diary - Geist,Junior Worlds — Administrator @ 8:38 pm

8/11

The first half of the junior world championships is now over. All the countries have packed up and moved out of the velodrome. Most riders have returned home while the endurance trackies have relocated to Oberwart, about an hour and a half drive outside of Vienna. I am the only rider from the USA track team to be taking part in the road racing in addition to riding the boards. I believe most of our riders were a little sad to be leaving the track, especially since we have an older team this year and the majority of us are wrapping up our careers as juniors.

On the last night of the championships the USA was represented in the women’s keirin and scratch race. For us, aggressive riding highlighted the racing. Most notably, after Natalie failed to advance through her first heat in the keirin, she entered the repecharge where she fended off a Ukrainian rider who was about twice her size and had set a really impressive 200-meter time in the sprint tournament. The Ukrainian basically head butted, leaned on, and just plain rode into Natalie for lap upon lap, trying to take her spot on the track. Natalie really impressed a lot of onlookers by holding her right to the wheel. Unfortunately, the Ukrainian had too much speed and Natalie was relegated for passing on the blue band later in the race. But, the Ukrainian faced the same punishment for her overly aggressive tactics, and she lost her advancement through to the next round, too.

In the scratch race, I also tried to race aggressively. Training for the pursuit, my sprint on the track is quite lackluster. So, the tactic was to get off the front of the race in numerous fashions depending on the situation. When the German rider attacked in the opening laps, it was my opinion that it was too early to go. However, she gained enough of a lead, that within a few more laps, she was less than a quarter of a track behind the main field. I really thought the race for the rainbow jersey was over, but when I attacked hard in pursuit for a medal, the group really got rolling. After another of my attacks proved unsuccessful, I watched as the field swallowed the seemingly secured winner around the third turn of the last lap. An Australian sprinter ended up taking the win while I floated across the line in thirteenth place, tired from my efforts.

From my point of view, the scratch race is really a race of chance; anyone can win. This really proved to be true in this year’s edition of the race. I took chances in attacking hard, but luck was not on my side. So, now I will try my luck on the road.

Kim Geist Worlds Diary – August 10

Filed under: Cycling,Diary - Geist,Junior Worlds — Administrator @ 7:00 am

8/10

It is already the last day of competition at the track. Time has moved by quickly, especially since I have been fairly busy every day, as can be seen by the lack of any writing since the racing has begun. Some things have changed since the evening before competition. Most notably has been our health. Rich has gotten sick with some invader that has affected his stomach and energy levels. Because of this he did not fair well in the points race and skipped the Madison, also. Holloway has also been suffering with a sinus problem that is very persistent in making him feel sub-par. And, lastly, I have been battling it out with some allergy or the onset of a cold that has been with me for about four days now. Despite the health problems, we have attempted to push on through it all in the racing.

In a short recap of the past three days of racing, Holloway was the first to impress the rest of us here at the championships. In the scratch race the first night, he played the race out tactically well to his strengths and went off the front with about twelve laps to go in the race. After being joined by others, and taking the strongest pulls throughout the breakaway, the group gained a sizeable amount of about a half a track. This gap stuck until so very close to the end; a charging field caught him with two laps to go. I think Holloway had the whole USA team on the edge of their seats and got us off to a pretty good start.

After Holloway’s ride, the next exciting racing came from Ben. In the keirin, Ben made it all the way to the finals. However, he lost his chance for a medal when he hit the wood hard. I was not there to watch this race, but I know he came out with some nasty splinters that had to be removed by a doctor. It’s an unfortunate thing when something that is simply bad luck happens so close to the end, but, as they say, it is bike racing and you just have to except it and move onto the next bike race.

After my qualifying ride in the pursuit yesterday, I had to accept some disappointment, also. I rode a strong pursuit, but it was simply not fast enough in the overall scheme of things. After last year’s medal, I set a goal to become a world pursuit champion this year, but I fell short. In the qualifying, I rode to a fourth place time. Since they deleted the first round competition from the program this year, I was stuck in the bronze-medal ride. It was not the ride I was hoping to return to in the evening, but I had to accept that two other girls would be returning to the preferred ride, instead. Therefore, I arrived at the velodrome last evening to ride for a bronze medal. I rode a little faster than the qualifying time in the morning, and won the medal by a convincing three seconds. It was a bit bittersweet in that I was happy to be on the podium, but not too happy about which step I was standing on. There’s still more racing to go though; there’s more bike races to come.

August 17, 2005

Kim Geist Worlds Diary – August 6

Filed under: Cycling,Diary - Geist,Junior Worlds — Administrator @ 8:37 pm

8/6

Competition starts here at the velodrome tomorrow morning. Suddenly, today, everyone in the USA team camp has seemed to turn a bit more serious toward the racing. Miraculously, I am not the only one shooting the evil eye at the guy goofing off in front of my wheel.

This switch in attitude is a good thing since the competition at the world championships is so intense and everything is being set to begin. There are more teams and more riders in total attending this world championship than last year’s. This would make sense since last year’s trip to Los Angeles could have been too expensive for smaller European countries compared to a shorter hop over to Austria. Just while we were eating our lunches at the velodrome this afternoon, we saw an Iran team. We have also witnessed advertising banners being hung around the track and dernys being lined up in the infield for the keirin racing. It has begun to look like there is a bike race coming to town. Also, the podium along with its backdrop and small shrubbery has taken its permanent place in the infield. Looking at that spot gives me goose bumps.

At the world championships, the UCI assigns each country to a group with a few other countries. Each group then is assigned an hour and a half allotment on the velodrome for training, which they share with the other countries in their group. Tonight we will be sharing the track as one of the last groups for the day. Since it is the last training session before the first session of racing, all of us will be pulling out the equipment we will use on race day, such as the double discs and the aero helmets. I have used my designated race-day equipment already when I rode a simulation pursuit the other day. For me, my equipment showed no problems, as I set a personal best time. For everyone else, though, tonight they must make all final preparations.

I do not compete until the third day of the championships. Tomorrow, however, Holloway will race the scratch race, Cindy will race the 500-meter, Rich will race the points race, and Ben, Schnabel, and Spenser will race the team sprint together. In other words, Natalie and I will be the only ones not racing. I believe we will have an opportunity to cheer on our teammates, though, from the stands. I wish them all luck.

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