The National Track Calendar (NTC) kicked off this last weekend starting in Frisco, Texas. Frisco to Frisco- give or take 30 degrees. Jennifer Zierke and I decided to commit ourselves to racing the NTC this season and are representing our local Velodrome, Hellyer.This was the first of six races that are part of the NTC spanning from California to Indiana.
We headed out Wednesday night after work and tried to pass time as our flight was delayed by a storm. We later learned that there were huge tornadoes that hit an hour south from where we were staying.
Jen watching YouTube videos of cats…what did I get myself into??
Evidently the saying, “go big or go home” doesn’t apply to rental cars here in Texas:
Our host provided us with Metromint! She has such good taste!
The next morning we assembled our bikes before heading out to ride on the velodrome.
Jen’s pretty helpless when her boyfriend Keith, or a master’s racer isn’t around…
What Jen and I look life after wrenching on our bikes.
Checking out the Frisco Superdrome.
My dad always calls Velodromes, Thunderdromes so I think he’d be pretty to happy to hear there’s one called the Superdrome. I don’t know if he fully understands that I just race my bike and don’t go around jousting people on it.
I loved that we were immediately greeted by one of the officials polishing his gun at race day check-in… welcome to Texas!
Though we flew out to contest the endurance cup we figured we might as well take part in the match sprints on Friday. Our racing started with a flying 200 meter- not exactly an endurance riders strongest suit. Racers participate in a flying 200meter to get times, they then match up the times in order to seed the sprints. I placed 4th in the 200m and was able to win my first match. I lost my second match and went into the repechage round which selects positions 5th-8th. Another racer and I went toe to toe at the line that had to be decided by the finish line video. I came in second by less than a 1/10 of a second!
Match sprints: “It’s like water buffalo, as soon as one of them farts the rest of them go!”
We helped keep the ‘summer camp’ tradition alive by painting our nails in between heats.
After having our fun pretending to be sprinters we got our bikes ready for the next morning’s Individual Pursuit, the first race part of the NTC. As I was switching out my handle bars I over tightened the headset and snapped it right off! I don’t even know how this is possible, I’m a cyclists- you know we don’t have upper bodies!
Yes, that’s a saw and a hammer in the picture. Things got pretty desperate at 2 am.
Our amazing host family helping me try to fix my bike.
Around 2am we finally were able to wrap things up and go to bed, but not before Jen yelled out from the other bed, “ Korina….we’re sprinters!” I think Missy and Dana might still have a thing or two to teach us 🙂
3k: We went into the Individual Pursuit pretty blind- I’ve only ever done one IP and being on a different track I didn’t have a goal time or pace. My goal was to go into the IP steady and slowly pick up the pace throughout the laps. Jen and I both cheered and yelled out all of Michael and Beth’s go-to comments. “Breath, steady” and other encouragements throughout each others race. We placed 2nd and 3rd, loosing only to stud Catherine Moore who will be a force to be reckoned with Master’s Nats- don’t say I didn’t warn you. Texas is a lot hotter and more humid than what we are use to back at home so we made sure to stay hydrated. Thank you Fluid and Nuun for keeping us hydrated and going throughout the weekend!
Flying 250: I wish I started racing as a junior. Not to have all of that extra experience under my belt or anything, but because I love junior gearing and racing in a baby gear would have been my jam. So when I pretend to be a sprinter and put on the big girl gears, well, the planets simply aren’t aligned. Since track racers are sometimes super secretive about what gears they’re racing in I’m just going to say that I was basically in a 112. Give or take. Aka way too big of a gear to turn over in that short of time. I love how much there is to learn in track racing and how much you can learn from trial and error. I’ve had a lot of errors in the trip so it’s safe to say I’m learning a lot!
I have family who lives out in San Antonio and they were sweet enough to drive up and come watch me race. My aunt Lisa and cousin Jeslyn were such a blast and great distraction from the races. My aunt loved the aero helmets:
Thanks Limar for the helmet!
Our Hellyer Jakroo Skinsuits were a great talking piece. People would always come up and ask about our skinsuits, ask if it’s our local track, share stories about their Hellyer adventures or had heard about our Team Pursuit program!
Points: I was tested for ADHD as a kid and learned that I have it. I’ve never taken any medication or anything but having ADHD as a bike racer means you get bored just sitting in a pack. I hate negative racing and will probably never be a ‘pure sprinter’ because I don’t think I’d ever want to conserve THAT MUCH energy. But I will say that the points race is my Ritalin, it’s my peace. I love that there’s always something going on, I love having to mark riders and keep track of who has how many points. I love that there are sprints every few laps and that the race just keeps getting harder and harder. I was off the front with another rider through the first sprint and I out sprinted her to pick up top points. We regrouped with the field shortly after and keeping the pace high shelled riders. As we entered our second sprint we ended up catching two riders who sat in-between the pull and the stayers so I had to drop down behind the rider in front of me to avoid crashing into the lapped riders. I still managed to take 3rd in the sprint. With a few laps to go I started thinking about how I wanted to final sprint to play out. I attacked with a few laps to go and was able to get a 1/2 lap on the field and take the sprint and the overall win!
Elimination: Jen took Larry Nolan’s advice to heart about getting to the front. You’ve never seen a cyclists get to the rail as fast. I had noticed that I had become a marked rider so to prove this I sat 7-8 bike lengths behind Jen at the start. Sure enough, everyone lined up behind me leaving that gap between the two of us. I stayed up front throughout the race and attacked at the final bell to take the win!
I was happy to have won two races in front of my family. I always think of those stupid bike racer memes when I talk to non cyclists friends and family so I’m happy that they have a better idea of what I do.
Scratch: Hot off her TT at the Amgen tour of California I knew Lauren Stephens would be the one to watch. The scratch race was 40 laps, which in my mind was a perfect opportunity to be aggressive and try to initiate moves. I kept attacking to initiate a break, Lauren followed and we were quickly riding away from the group. Jen bridged bringing two others with her, one immediately fell off pace. The four of us worked together to take a lap on the field. Lauren kept things active even after we re joined the group. The field was more worried about their omnium standings so didn’t seem to be concerned about Lauren riding away. Jen and I were marked on the other hand, every attack there was at least two riders quick to follow. We both kept being aggressive knowing that the length of the race would play to our strengths. Jen attacked and the sprinters just looked around like, “so which one if you is going to chase that because I’m not”. After a few laps with the field or ‘sprinters lounge’ I realized that unless I made a move those two were going to ride away to the finish line. I attacked and separated from the group with four laps to go. I caught Jen on the bell, Lauren having caught the field, therefore placing Lauren first, Jen second and myself third. This was the final event for the NTC so Jen and I were able to go 1-2 in the NTC endurance omnium with her leading just 1 point ahead of me. It’s going to be a good season of racing!
I’m not going to say that this is “Bike porn” because that’s a really creepy thought when you think about it. Honestly, who is pulling up pics of bikes when doing the “business” ?
But I think we can all admit that this is one good looking bike with some pretty sweet Fast Forward Wheels
500m: As if the Texas heat and humidity wasn’t enough they had wind! Worse than Davis wind! These were nasty 25+ mph gusts that make you wish you brought more than a disk. I had to start in the headwind section, as if a standing start isn’t hard enough but was able to get into my bars through the tailwind section, hooray for circles! I ended up placing 5th which solidified my Matrix track omnium standing in 2nd.
Overall I had a great experience and fun time racing. I learned not to stress over the variables you can’t control. Always bring spare parts, you just never know.Traveling can be more stressful than the racing itself. There’s always something you can improve on, and recovery is key.
Thanks to the Hellyer Velodrome Community for supporting us through this adventure and all of our amazing sponsors:
Jakroo Fast Forward Wheels Rocktape Enduro Bearings SportVelo Hughes Allmart Insurance Limar Helmets Selle SMP Saddles Betwixt Chamois Cream Clif Bar Clean Bottle Rose Garden Health Zealios Sun Barrier Albabici
Next up we’ll be heading to Blaine, Minnesota for Nature Valley Fixed Gear Classic June 6th-8th!
Thank you Betwixt and Zealios for providing me with the best chamois cream and sun barrier there is!