I missed my March blog deadline with Track Nationals prep and what not, so we are going to pretend the month of March never happened because I can’t remember what happened anyway. I’ll just fill everyone in on Track Nationals Instead!
I’ll start the morning we left. Monday morning at 4am was wake-up, the flight was at 6 (I think). The Crew (Adam and Erin Attwell, Sarah Van Dam, and I) rolled on with no issue and flew direct to Toronto. Can’t remember when we arrived but that doesn’t really matter. When we got to the Track it was the Ontario’s session. Luckily the Ontario kids and coaches are amazing, so they let us roll around and spin out our airplane legs.
The next couple days consisted of eating, riding, and playing cards (in which we discovered Erin is WAYYY too competitive). Any track time we had we were pretty much working on pacing for our 2km Individual Pursuit (yes, I pace 2k’s for any trackies out there) and getting used to the different track.
Racing started Friday morning and everyone was pretty jittery. The only rider not riding Friday was Adam, which part of all of us envied. Friday was team events, Team Sprint (3 riders, 2 for women, each one leads one lap and timing stops when the last rider completes their lap) and Team Pursuit (4 riders who ride 3 or 4km timing stops on the 3rd rider to cross the line). My Team Sprint consisted of Ethan O, Tyler Davies, and me, and did surprisingly good for all first year U17s. Our first ride Qualified second only 15 hundredths of a second behind. which meant we rode in the gold medal final. Everyone stepped up big time for that final. Ethan, Our starter, took half a second off his start and Tyler took off 3 tenths. I was the odd man out and stayed the same.
The team Pursuit was far messier. The team consisted of Quinn Storey, Eric Inkster, Tyler Davies and Me. It wasn’t amazing and I ended up having to pull for 7 of the 12 laps. It did work, however, because we got into the gold final in that as well. The other team in the final, teams of Ontario, was extremely dominate. They caught us and passed us within 8 laps. Then Continued to break the Canadian record. That wrapped up day one so we went back to the house and, shockingly, ate and played cards (which Erin beat us in and then lectured us on how it “sucks to suck”)
Saturday Morning was by far the tensest morning of the weekend. The Individual Pursuit was first up and everyone was extremely nervous. Erin was up first of our clan and smashed her’s, setting the new Canadian record. Then Adam who raced interestingly and got disqualified but made us all cry from laughing in the process. Sarah was up a little bit before me and has the worst self-assessment of fitness I’ve ever seen. after complaining about her schedule being too fast and not sure if she was able to do it. She raced and went 5 seconds faster than schedule. But her schedule was too fast…
I was last up of our clan and was going to aim for 17.4-second laps. which works out to a 2:23 2km. However, I was somehow convinced that I should do 17 flats. a 2:21 2km because “it’s a nice and round number.” It was absolute hell but I managed it. My lap splits never varied a tenth off 17 flat and I set a Canadian Record of 2:21.056. I was second to the last ride in the IP and Justin Correa, a rider in the final ride, was riding to win. At the first kilo, he was a second and a half up on me. Fortunately, for me and unfortunately for him he cracked in the last 500 meters and came in second.
The 200m qualifier was shortly after and the times showed it. I wasn’t able to crack the national record I set the year before, and nor was anyone else. The Match sprints went very smoothly for me. I was able to win almost every race tactically and save as much energy as possible. Once I reached the semi-final and the finals, I had to work to get my tactics to prevail because the other riders often understood what I was doing. The most obvious would be when I was in the final against Joel Domingue, a Quebecois rider who didn’t mind a little contact. I dove underneath him, pushed my shoulder into his and said, “let’s go up.” he replied with,
No, let’s go down.” and began pushing me down the track. I ended up winning the match sprints taking the first 2 rides of the final. By that time, I was thoroughly exhausted and yet still had a points race to go. It was 60 laps with a sprint every 10 laps for points. I won the first two sprints and used the second to lead into an attack. wasn’t the most amazing Idea. Sydney Flageole-Bray was with me on the attack after getting second in the sprint and he was way stronger than me. After 6 or 7 laps sitting at about half a lap on the bunch, he dropped me. Then continued to take a lap on the field, gaining 20 points. In the end, he had 29 points, I had 23, and 3rd had 7.
Our legs were brutally sore that night. The hot/cold baths helped a little bit but at 4am the next morning, I awoke with the burning sensation back in my legs for 2 or so hours. No sleep for me after that!
Sunday’s session opened with 500m and kilometer Time Trials. I was the last heat and the leading time was still over a second of my PB I set last year so I wasn’t that nervous. Sitting on the start line, I said to my coach, “I’m going to do a 33.5” which is almost a second faster than the Canadian Record. He replied with “sure.” I had a great start and was feeling really good. My opening lap was extremely fast; an 18.9 which was faster than the U19 qualifier for worlds! My second lap was also fairly fast, and I ended with a 33.6. Which broke the Canadian record by 7 tenths.
The scratch race was up after that. There was A LOT of team tactics going on which was quite annoying but there wasn’t much to do about it. A 2 man break went with 8 to go, which I shouldn’t have let them go, but whatever. At 2 laps to go, they had half a lap. When I launched my attack at about a lap and a half, I was closing that half lap by a good amount. At the finish line, I wasn’t more than 5 meters behind.
The last race of the day was delayed by power shortages, but the elimination race was eventually raced. Not being a medal event, I was going to play the devil. I was planning on darting across the line 2nd last so the person eliminated would think they are safe until I sprint over them. It didn’t work out that way. Before the neutral lap even ended the rider in front of me overlapped wheels and fell and I had nowhere to go. My only crash of the weekend, which was pretty good however, I couldn’t return to the race because of a headache.
That was my Track Nationals, I came out of it with 4 gold, 2 silver, and a bronze. I stood on every podium and now hold every U17 Canadian record. YAY!