Lost in Louisville

To say the weekend was a disappointment for most of the team would be the understatement of the year. Furthermore, my own riding was so below the depth charts the only thing I can do is take solace in knowing that it cannot get any worse.

 Starting from the back of a pro,1,2 crit is a death sentence. Our fate was sealed when we finished our warm up while everyone else lined up. It should be stated however, that Karim and John Kelly managed decent starting positions and JK made his presence felt in one or two breakaways during the race. Both guys rode strong races and finished well, in the top 15.

The LMPD Crit was a fabulous course held along the Louisville Waterfront Park, a great place to enjoy a summer Saturday. THe 8-corner course ensured that only the best riders completed the event. Many compliments to the organizers and sponsors of this event, which drew teams from OHio, Indiana, Kentucky, Illinois, Georgia, North Carolina and Missouri.

SUnday’s short circuit race took place in Cherokee Park on rolling, twisting terrain that again demaned exceptional fitness and skill, especially when the rain unleashed in a torrential downpour, making the newly paved roads treacherously slick. Chris and I lined up for the 40+ race with about 45 other geriatrics. The field quickly whittled down and split into groups of four or five. Battling a respiratory infection for several weeks now, Chris fought through labored breathing to finish 16th. I fought off the mind deamons who begged me to quit and finished while many others succumbed to the deamons.

It is never pleasant being off the back. Yet when it occurs, it gives reason for contemplating improvement. Where to go, what to do? This weekend illustrated a severe lack of anaerobic capacity for many of us. I’ve lamented the loss of the Indy Southeastway Park Tues. night training crit. for months now and this weekend really illustrated how much some of us miss that type of training.

Although literally right in my back yard, I’ve been slow in finding the SEway replacement. The Major Taylor Velodrome offers great training and racing several times a week. John Kelly is a regular on the velodrome and Karim raced collegiately at Marian, putting in many kilometers on this training gem. Vic Emond owns many District Championships on the velodrome and Patrick Delisle is now also an accomplished track racer.  

Several years ago, Curits wrote on the Truesport bulletin board that, “One year on the track is like 5 years on the road.” The speed, acceleration, anaerobic conditioning and handling you acquire on the track is unparalleled. You can’t get this kind of training on the road. Furthermore, Velodrome Director, Ken Nowakowski, has over 30 years experience in cycling and is always eager to teach racers the velodrome ropes.

Watching my own performance drop while seeing peers such as Bill Bedwell and Brian Murphy improve over the past few years, it is quite obvious the velodrome is the best place to train. And so I, too, have begun the venture into Velodrome racing and training and I highly encourage everyone to give it a chance. Too far away? Don’t tell the guys who come down from Ft. Wayne to train until 10:00 p.m. on a Tuesday night. Big race this weekend? Don’t tell Curtis, who rarely misses a Friday night and still places in the weekend Crits. I’m sure Vic could provide many more anecdotes that illustrate the benefits of velodrome racing.

With plenty of crits remaining on the schedule, the Major Taylor Velodrome should become quite busy in the coming weeks.