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cannondale optimo track

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april_17_2013_hellyer_wednesday_night_track_racing-1

As previously mentioned, it’s been hilariously windy all over the Bay Area recently.  It seemed to die down a bit as the night went on, but for the most part, turn 2 was the windiest section of the velodrome.  Either way, today’s races were set up a bit differently than the 2 previous weeks – Larry Nolan wasn’t there as a race organizer, and things were delayed quite a bit even for the opening Cat5 race.  19 of us were on the warmup track for a long time.  Lots of familiar faces out today, but there seemed to be a bit less people in all the groups.  Either way, Tim, Fergus, Uri, and two other guys from Chica Sexy were out, as was Alex, Josh (not Jake), Percy (who has his 3rd kid on the way, ballin’), and a new guy I met today named Mario, were all in attendance.

Scratch: 10 laps.  Alex went off the front for the first 4 laps, but was eventually caught.  I was watching everything go down from the back.  Muscle Milk Cat2 road guy apparently took the win.

Miss and Out: I had better positioning this week, and was at the front for about 2 laps before people started coming over the top.  I think I lasted about 6 laps?  An improvement over last week’s 3 laps, and the first night’s 1 lap.  Maybe by the end of the season, I’ll give myself a real opportunity to actually race.

Points: 12 laps, points every 3.  On the first sprint, the whole group pretty much exploded.  I was caught off the back, which was stupid, and rode to catch up to the main group up ahead.  By time I caught back up, there was another sprint for points, and the group started riding away from me.  Not ideal, so I opted to just exit on the back straight.  Or I could’ve just continued to race, knowing I’d probably never catch up to them.  Fail.

Snowball: 1 point for the first rider across the line on the first lap, increasing in points per lap, 10 points for the first rider across the line on the last lap.  Somewhere in the middle of the race, the group began to split.  Two riders were off the front initially, but I guess they were brought back.  I was somewhere near the back riding horribly, as usual.  In the closing laps, the pace started getting all fast and such, and on the bell lap, I was basically off the back of the main group, watching everything go down.

I really need to ride more, haha.  Fun times, either way.  Definitely glad I made it out.  Also, in previous weeks, the commute has been 2 hours and 15 minutes, whether it be 101 or 280 straight down.  Today, I took 280, 85, 87, and then a series of streets to get to the velodrome, and it only took me 1:45.  Proud day.

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april_10_2013_hellyer_wednesday_night_track_racing-1

april_10_2013_hellyer_wednesday_night_track_racing-2

Firstly, I have no idea why isitup.org is telling me my blog is up when I can’t even log into the back end.  I’m typing this via e-mail, and will hopefully be uploading it in the near future.  Damn technology.

Anyway, the crowd was a bit smaller this time around at the track.  I drove 280 down to get to the velodrome, which was seemingly faster, until I was caught up in traffic down in San Jose.  Still took me an hour and 45 minutes to get down there, same as 101.  Upon arriving, I registered and pinned my number to my side.  It’s pretty convenient just having one number for the entire season, I have to say.  Lots of familiar faces out today including Fergus, Marc, Tim, Uri (Chica Sexy), Jake, Al, Zach, and Gabe (BRITEsport).

Scratch: The wind was pretty heavy on the beginning races today, but died down a bit as the night went on.  I was playing catch-up for most of the race, and landed somewhere near the back at the end of the 10 laps.  Not ideal, but at least I was hanging on…Could’ve definitely done better, oh well.

Tempo (Snowball): This time around, it was 10 laps, but each lap, the amount of points for the first rider across the line went up as the laps kept going.  1 point for the first lap, all the way up to 10 points for the final lap.  The pace for the first couple laps wasn’t too bad, then started picking up in the middle, dropping riders off the back.  Again, I was stuck in no man’s land, fighting the wind to get back to the main group.  Failed to gain any real momentum or make any moves near the front.  As I rode around the warmup track before the miss and out, I saw Zach make a sick move on the 8th lap of tempo, scoring 9 points on the 9th lap, and almost holding the lead into the 10th lap.  Unfortunately, he was nipped at the line.  Sick power move though, I need to do more like that from the outside of the track.

Miss and Out: Last week I was the first rider to get pulled.  This week, I made it 3 laps in before getting pulled.  Progress, but barely.  Personal fail.

Points: 12 laps, points every 3rd lap.  The pace for the final race was much more intense than previous ones, and I found myself off the back a couple times.  Should’ve definitely been passing slower wheels on the outside, but somehow, got caught behind one every single lap.  Somewhere in the middle of the race, a guy just sat up for an unknown reason, which just caused a bunch of riders to swerve around him.  Then on the 2nd to last lap, someone’s front tire rubbed another rim, with both riders almost going down, but somehow keeping it together.  Definitely could’ve been a bad accident…

There was two accidents that occured when I was there.  One cat5 rider touched his front wheel to someone’s rear and went down in turn 1 – accident didn’t seem too serious.  Then on the p/1/2/3 miss and out, a rider went down on turn 3 – the ambulance came to see that the rider’s injuries were tended to, but I don’t know the final outcome of his injuries.  I just hope they weren’t too serious.

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april_3_2013_hellyer_wednesday_night_track_racing-1

april_3_2013_hellyer_wednesday_night_track_racing-2

april_3_2013_hellyer_wednesday_night_track_racing-3

The track is awesome.

It’s 11:02pm but I’m going to type this up quick before I forget all the funny details.  Huge turnout at the velodrome, a lot more than usual, I heard.  The Cat5 men’s group was 20+ riders deep, and there were 4 categories total: Cat5 men, juniors/women, Cat3/4 men, and then the P/1/2/3 men’s group.  $15 for 4 events: scratch, tempo, miss and out, and points.  I showed up a tad later than most because I was stuck in traffic for quite a long time.  Apparently 101 isn’t the best way to get down to San Jose on a Wednesday.  Definitely taking 280 next time…carpooling if possible.  Anyway, after showing up to the track, throwing on the shoes and helmet, I was off to warming up.  Spinning around near the edge of the track seeing a ton of familiar faces: Fergus, Tim, Steve (Chica Sexy), Gabe, Zack (BRITEsport), and more people I’m forgetting.

Scratch: 10 laps, first rider across the line gets points.  I was not in the best position for the scratch, which was my own fault.  And soon I realized that most of my effort through the short race would be dodging slow wheels and riding up the track to pass people.  It was a lot of fun though, first race of the day, definitely a good opener.  Lots of weird movement from some people, which made riding and passing a bit hairy at times, but no crashes, so just a solid experience either way.

Tempo: 10 laps, sprint points every lap with the first rider getting 2 points, second rider getting 1…?  Again, a race where fighting for position is key.  About halfway through the tempo race, I realized that I was (again) getting caught up with slow wheels, and (again) spending a lot of energy to catch faster wheels up farther in the bunch.  No crashes, no complaints.

Miss and out: 19 laps (I think) because our field was 22, with the last rider getting pulled every lap.  Once there are 3 riders left, it’s 1 lap to go until a sprint finish.  In this race, positioning is everything.  I know because I was the first rider to get pulled just 1 lap in – pretty damn sad and embarrassing, but yea.  I had the general idea of the race in my head but all of that kind of went out the window once I saw 3 riders in front of me like a wall, with no where to squeeze in.  I wasn’t nearly as fun watching this from the warmup track, but oh well.  Next time.

Points: 12 laps with points awarded to top 4 riders (5, 3, 2, and 1 point, I believe) every 3 laps?  Again, with pretty bad positioning, I ended up near the back and had to fight on the outer edge to pass up people.  At one point, I was slightly off the front, but got burnt out with 1 to go.

I might’ve gotten tempo and points descriptions’ mixed up.  Someone will probably correct me later.

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march_23_2013_hellyer_saturday_morning_beginner_sessions

Fun learning time at the velodome, once more.  With track racing starting on April 3, and only 1 more beginner session left to complete before being able to race, I was excited to say the least.  Rob rolled by the house with his boy Tye, and we were off to San Jose.  There weren’t as many people at the velodrome as 2 weeks ago, which was nice for a change.  Beth (I think was her name) would be our mentor for the day, and ran through a couple drills after a 40 lap warmup.  The session ended with a 6 lap keirin, which was awesome.  Pretty happy with how the session went, it was lots of fun, and the weather was perfect!

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march-9-2013_hellyer-saturday-morning-beginner-session

I’ve been meaning to get out on the track.  Actually, I probably should’ve started out on the track rather than on the road, racing crits and road races.  There’s something very fundamental about riding around an oval on a track bike – it just makes sense and it’s not dangerous like a closed street course.  There aren’t any bot dots, cracks in the road, sidewalks, or anything really hazardous to worry about.

So when Rob called me yesterday wanting to know what was up this weekend, I knew exactly what to say.  Hellyer Saturday morning beginner session.  With Wednesday night track races starting in April, I knew I would have to get in my 3 training sessions soon.  Admittedly, I’ve been slacking off the riding a bit, which hasn’t helped too much, but I’m hoping by at least attending the sessions, it’ll keep my mind on the right track (no pun intended).  There were a couple drills and training routines which allowed all of us to get a better grasp on velodrome riding.  I found it helpful to have some racing experience, but riding the track bike on the track just seemed to feel right.  Unfortunately, I unclipped out of my non-drive side pedal at one point, which could’ve ended with me just face-planting into the asphalt, but somehow, I was able to recover and ride down into the apron.  Not sure what happen there…

1 training session under the belt.  So glad to have made it out, big thanks to Rob for driving.

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I picked up the new track bike from the shop today:

Most of the parts are from the S-Works Langster.  My first day at the track should be next Saturday – stoked!

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The Cannondale Optimo filled the gap between the CAAD6/7 and the CAAD8.  Though it lacked the aero sculpted seat stays, it had the same hourglass stay shape, power pyramid down tube, and threadless 1 1/8″ integrated headset.  It utilized a Alcoa alloy that was lighter than previous 6061-T6 frames.  A handful of Optimo track bikes were made, this is one of them.  Pre-Taiwan mass production Capo track bikes.

It’s a 54, but has a 1cm shorter top tube (effective) and a head tube that’s 1cm taller.  A formula for an aggressive, stiff track setup.

The langsters will be sold shortly.  Stay tuned for the build.  Full Cannondale stable complete.  Permanent CAADerday!

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