I spent this past week in Colorado Springs at the Olympic Training center with USA Cycling for a Sprint development camp. The camp was to identify and develop some of the young sprinting talent in the country. I was blown away with the number of talented young riders who wanted to pursue sprinting. It was a great week working with the younger racers and helping to develop their sprinting tactics and form. The whole week I was doing some pre-race prep for the US Grand Prix of Sprinting this past weekend. I got a great surprise on Thursday at the Training Center. Andy at Atomic coatings had finished my chain and cogs and overnighted them to me so I could use them in the tt. The cogs and chain were amazing and noticeably cut down on the resistance on the bike. They also made the bike extremely quiet. I was immensely surprised with just how big of a difference the cogs and chain made. If you are serious about getting the absolute most performance out of your bike you owe it to yourself to give the guys at Atomic a call.
The racing kicked off on Friday morning with the 200m qualifying tt. I was given final ride so I went off last for the 200m. My goal for the trip was to turn a sub 10s 200m. I was able to do this and beat my old PR from Mexico City with a 9.95s. This qualified me third with Bernard first, Kevin second and J in fourth. The top four were all under 10s and all on Felt bikes, pretty amazing.
The first round of sprints went really well and I moved on to the quarter finals that evening. The quarter finals did not go nearly as planned. I raced Joe from Canada who is a great racer and an awesome guy. We were coming down to the line and I was flying over the top passing him when he came up to the top of the sprinters lane and his elbow caught my arm. This caused him to lose control and he fell really hard. I wish Joe all the best on a speedy recovery and I can’t wait for him to be back on the bike so we can race some more. I sadly was relegated on the ride with a poor call from the officials (I can back it up with photos). Though I was upset about the relegation I was really upset to see Joe get injured. The relegation put me into the 5-8 ride. I took out all of my frustrations in that ride and took it pretty easily with a textbook ride proving I did not belong there.
The next session started Saturday morning with team sprint. I teamed up with Nate and Kevin for team sprint. After waiting around for over four hours more than we anticipated we finally went off for team sprint. The start was less than perfect with Kevin and I both having some issues with the people holding us. But we both got on and turned a decent time. Thankfully the time was just enough to take the win over the Mexican team. After a quick nap and food the evening session kicked off with keirin. The session was delayed from the start due to some rain. Once the rain cleared up we began racing immediately which cut warm-up very short. Thankfully I spun on the rollers in the bike room during the delay. The first round of keirin went off with out a hitch except for the nasty headwind on the back-straight. The wind became a major factor for the entire evening of racing but the rain stayed away. The semi final ride went just like the qualifying heat and I lead it out even through the wind to stay out of the crap in the back. I knew the final was going to be a crazy ride. Bernard had lead out all of his rides and it looked like he would do the same in the final. My plan was to get his wheel and try to pass him coming out of the last turn. Right off the start I got Bernard’s wheel and all looked good. Once the motor pulled off though it went to crap. J was able to thread his way infront of me and take second wheel. This caused me to change the tactics for the race. I finagled my way out of being boxed in and made a huge run on J and Bernard coming out of turn two. I went right over the top and was able to get by Bernard coming out of turn four to take the win. It was a sick ride and really made me realize why I love this crazy sport.
Although I had some very unfortunate luck at times during the week, overall it was a great camp and race. I had awesome time meeting and working with the camp guys and working with the coaches Travis and Abers. A huge thank you to Jamie Staff and USA cycling for the amazing opportunity and support through the camp. Also a big thanks to everyone who made the US Grand Prix of Sprinting such a great event. I am really excited to come back next year. I’m back home now and will be racing at the Valley Preferred Cycling Center this Friday in the Golden wheel race. I am looking forward to seeing all the camp juniors next week at Junior Nationals here in T-town, Goodluck guys!