Master A Men Individual Pursuit. Canadian Track Championships, September 28, 2019

It’s been a really fun year to coach Liam, lots of videos on rollers analyzing position and test events/ video sessions at his home track in Blaine, MN. Canadian Masters Nationals was a stretch goal for him, he pretty much hit every process goal we set last fall and won the MN state title this summer. Nice to see Liam put all his eggs into one basket with the individual pursuit on Saturday, risk a bit, and come away with a stellar result. Liams’ report below!

I was nervous all day, I guess because it was my goal race and first race at nationals. And I had no reference point on this track for timing so I wasn’t sure what I could do. I managed to keep myself occupied with a ride downtown, a couple of coffee shops and a good book (no good movies playing). After lunch, I tried to nap but couldn’t so did twenty minutes of meditation because getting everything set. Found a spot in the pens, got the trainer set up, took the bike (with an easy 53×16) onto the track for a bit to get some time in the aero bars, especially on the black line. I talked with Alex Ongaro, the Juventus coach (who also raced track at the 84 olympics and 86 commonwealths), about timing and splits. Got a solid, almost hour, warmup in. The infield was so hot that my skinsuit was sopping wet by the end. A bit gross, but it was kind of cooling while riding. It was crazy watching the elite finals while getting ready – the times of both men and women were crazy good. The masters B category was pretty solid, too – my time would only have been good enough for fourth there.
Towards the end of my warmup, Alex came over and we talked about pacing. He got my bike from the commissars; we got my pedal position set and we walked to the steps to the track. While waiting, he also walked through the starting gate. Sitting in the waiting area with the last heat of the masters B field starting, he had me visualize the start with the countdown. When I was up, he got my bike all set, I got on and waited for the beeps. My focus was just on the track, thinking about staying steady and keeping a turtle.
When the timer went, it was just like every other pursuit. Alex was walking out my splits and I was ahead of schedule at the start. I occasionally caught glimpses of the big display board and could only see that I was green. I’m really lucky to have trained on a track that is so similar to the Milton one – but not exactly the same. I was really fighting with the track in the corners. A little bit off the black line and it wanted to keep me moving up-track. I think I finally got it towards the end. Alex was yelling at me to stick to the black. Almost at the end of the race, I started to see the other rider as I was rounding the corners. I was honestly surprised when the bell went for the last lap – I hadn’t really been paying attention to the lap counter and hadn’t been counting in my head. It was all in and then done. I did a lap or two to catch my breath until the commissars waved me off; Alex grabbed my hand as I got off and steadied me. Seriously pro experience.
I think that I started off a bit too hard – the sub-18 laps that you warned about 🙂 But I don’t think that I went too deep. I didn’t really feel like I was struggling towards the end though it certainly wasn’t easy. Overall, I’m happy with how I raced it. Everything leading into it was right, and everything about the race was right. There’s still a lot of things that can be improved, but other than not having a great handle on the track at speed, I can’t think of anything that wasn’t right about this go at it.