What I’ve Been Doing…
After track nationals, I came home, hung my jersey up at my parents’ house, and took three weeks off the bike. When I started back up in late October/early November, it wasn’t what you might think. I was only riding three or four times a week and the other days I was doing a combination of gym, hiking, and core work. Only recently have I quit the gym and started riding every day.
Since we’re talking about the off season, I had to include this picture:
This is the time of year when one of these comes in handy. For some reason, I only get cravings for bad food when I’m not training very much. Underneath the leftover Halloween candy, you’ll find at least one jar of Nutella and some cookies. Combination to the lock box? Only Dan knows that.
In early November, right when I was starting to get back on the bike, USAC contacted me about getting back out to LA to do a team pursuit camp. That’s how I ended up here today, watching the GoPro footage of a practice 3k flying TP:
That’s Ben Sharp there on the right who “had a full head of hair four years ago, and this is what London did to [him]”.
I can’t begin to describe how much I’ve learned this week. I wish I’d known even a quarter this much before I did the TP at nationals! There are two coaches here, Ben Sharp and Neil Henderson, for the five of us, so we’re getting quality instruction.
The first two days of camp, we did a lot of flying team pursuits of various lengths. We practiced enough for me to be able to say I’m comfortable flying around the track in aero bars behind teammates. But today, when Ben pulled up an excel spreadsheet and started analyzing data in terms of deltas and slopes, centers of mass, and accelerations, that’s when I knew this event was made for me.
One of the cool things I’ve learned this week is to watch Ben while he’s standing on the apron. The apron is the dark blue part (see above). It isn’t banked and you don’t race on it. I’ve only gotten to this point because the rest is starting to come naturally. This is called “walking the line” for a coach. Ben explained: we can’t rely on verbal communication in international events because of the cheering of the crowd, so one step = 0.1 seconds. If we’re 0.4 seconds “ahead of schedule”, he takes 4 steps ahead of the start/finish line. And he resets every lap. So if we are going faster then the the schedule but we’ve slowed down since the last lap, Ben will be standing behind the start/finish line. “Schedule” is just jargon for “the predetermined laps times you need to do in order to achieve the desired final time.”
There’s so much more to say, but not enough time to say it! Maybe next time. Thank god I came out to Cali for this week. Otherwise my parents probably wouldn’t be able to get through our entry way any more.