2014 Race Results
I felt very excited for this year as Bob and I qualified for the Para cycling national team last November at the track nationals. Now as part of the national team we had to attend certain races, follow the performance plan created by our coach and reach certain times for the races at the national events.
The year started off slow as our times for the first few races were not too fast. Even though we won the first time trial in Kansasville the time was slower than last year. Bob and I had only rode together on the tandem back in March at a national team training camp. The camp was held at the Olympic training center in Chula Vista, CA.
Our times started to look better at the 30K time trial in Kansasville. With this time I felt we were going in the right direction and was excited for the upcoming US Para cycling road nationals held in our backyard…Madison, Wisconsin.
I felt at a minimum we would finish 3rd or 4th. There were two other teams which are difficult to beat as they are very good and much younger than Bob and I. The 28K time trial went well and I was somewhat shocked when I found out we finished 6th. Maybe it was just one of those days and we were not firing on all cylinders.
The next day was the 72K road race. The course was a 3.4 mile loop. This course had a unique stretch. After coming down a moderate size hill were we were reaching speeds of 45+ MPH, a left turn had to be made. Then within 30 yards a 180 degree right hand turn had to be made. Then there was a short incline and a false flat to the finish line.
On the second lap of the race Bob and I took the lead for a number of laps. Somewhere on the fifth or sixth lap the two teams I mentioned earlier took the lead. At that point there seemed to be three groups and we were in the second group which was made up of three tandem teams.
On the second to last lap Bob and I decided we would drill it and hopefully leave the other 2 tandems to fight it out for fourth. That didn’t work as they were able to hang with us. We then decided to wait to the very end of the race on that false flat. As soon as we got to the false flat Bob and I gave it everything we had. We were in the middle of the three tandems. We could tell the tandem on our left started to drop off. Yet the tandem on our right was hanging with us. It was the closest race I had ever been in. We beat them by a half a wheel to take third. What an exciting race!!!
Now that the road racing is basically over it is now time to prepare for the track nationals. All we knew was it would be held sometime in November. Once we participated in the 40K time trial in Kansasville, it was time to shift gears and focus on track racing.
Once or twice a week Bob and I trained at the track in Kenosha. As we got to the end of September the weather started to become less and less favorable for training on the track. It was either raining or very strong winds. If it wasn’t raining Bob and I would then take the road tandem out and go for rides that include intervals as if we were on the track.
As the month of October passed, the less and less Bob and I were able to do any training outdoors. It was the end of September when the dates were announced for the US Para track nationals. They would be held in Carson, CA on November 1st and 2nd. Bob and I were feeling good about our chances to bring home some hardware.
We went out to Carson a few days ahead of time to get in some track time. We both really love this Velodrome as it is indoors and there is no weather that could affect the results. Plus it has a wood floor and 45 degree banking. At a minimum a tandem has to be going 22 mph in order to stay upright on the track. Otherwise the rear wheel starts to slip down the floor.
The first day of racing was the qualifications in the morning and finals in the evening for the 4K pursuit. After the qualifications were completed our time was good enough to make the finals. There was a 1.5 second difference between first and third. In the finals we would be competing against the fourth place team for the bronze medal.
Bob and I decided, “Let’s go out in the finals and give it everything we have as if we were doing the Kilo.” The 4K pursuit is 16 laps versus the Kilo which is only 4 laps. We figured if we took this approach there was a good chance we could pass the other team in four laps. Once a team is passed the race is over. That is what we did…drilled it like we were doing a Kilo and we passed the other team on the fourth lap and won the bronze.
The next day was the Kilo event. As the event was approaching both Bob and I were becoming more and more nervous. Not sure why, and it has been a long time since I felt this nervous about a race. I hope this will help!
Once we were up on the track in the starting gate I was totally focused on what I had to do. Make sure my body position is correct coming out of the gate and then for the next four laps. The first ¾ of a lap we are standing and then we sit for the remainder. I felt totally in synch with Bob. This ride was one that I felt my body was in the perfect aero position as well. As we crossed the start/finish line Bob yelled out “YES!” I knew what he meant…we won the Kilo. That’s right, we won a national championship! Boy, two years ago was our first championship and now we have a second one. An awesome feeling, to be on top of the world! The year started off slow and finished on a great note.
I would finish with saying I could not have done this on my own. There are so many people that provide assistance and encouragement. That is my family, friends, sponsors (Wheel and Sprocket), and my pilot’s wife Lynn for watching the four kids as he is racing with me, my pilot Bob, and let’s not forget the Almighty Lord!