Strava Member Larry Nolan traveled down under in late October to the UCI Masters Track World Championships in Sydney, Australia. He cleaned up, taking home 3 gold medals and setting a new world record in the 2km for the M50-54 age group. What follows are excerpts from the blogging he did between races. You can see the full text with photos at http://www.teamspecializedracing.blogspot.com/
Larry shared with us by email how Strava has helped him attain success over the past several months: “Through Strava I’ve been able to gauge some of my comparable rides, something I did through perception in the past and is now a bit more quantifiable.” Kudos Larry!
Masters Track Worlds – Day 1 (Oct 19) 14 hours of flying to Sydney for the UCI Masters Track World Championships and very little sleep (how do people sleep in an upright position? I can’t!). I arrive at 7am, get to the hotel at 9am, build up my bike and get on the veldrome by noon. The 500m (aging does not suit all of us!) is the first event and I’ve signed up not expecting to do well but to a) gain valuable experience with the start gate, b) to do some opening efforts for my goal event the next day and c) improve on my horrible start in 2008.
Since I had not signed in until a few hours before the event the organizers popped me into the first heat to make it easier if I was a no-show. My 35.8 second effort was the time to beat until the last two heats and then it was crushed. Dave LeGrys from Great Britain won in a world record time of 34.4!
Awards ceremony time and he’s not to be found… he was outside smoking! Yes, he’s a chain smoker and a world record holder too!
Masters Track Worlds (Day 2) Oct. 20 2,000meter pursuit is on the schedule. I’ve been waiting for this event for 6 months (when I decided to return to Sydney) and I’ve been training for this one for something like forty years. I say that because the 2,000 is optimally suited to my physiology. It took me 10 years to learn that and it’s also one of the reasons why I like to coach people, so that they might reach their goals sooner than later.
Onto the race: As the defending champion I’m in the last heat. I not only have the advantage of seeing all the times to beat but I also get the adrenaline rush as the times start to fall. I received another gift when the organizers placed last years 2nd place finisher James Host (Chicago, Ill) in the 2nd to last heat, so now I get to see his time and only need to beat either the competitor across the track in my heat or the most current best time (top two go into the gold ride). Save something for the final, right? Well, it turns out James has a 2:20 in him and sets a very high bar. Yikes, I did a 2:20.119 last year. Do I have a 2:20 in me today just 30 hours after arriving in Australia? Let’s find out, shall we?
As I mentioned, the 2km suits me well because I have a weakness in starting out too quickly and that’s a price that you can not pay back in a 3km or 4km event. But, in the 2km the penalty for starting out too fast is not as great. Yes, I started off too fast. Wouldn’t you? This is the world championships!
Kenny Williams is coaching me through this ride but its his wife Annette that I am thinking about. Wait, that doesn’t sound right (he he). Seriously, Annette set the world record for a 45+ year old woman for 2,000m at 2:31. That’s a smoking time and she would have placed 11th in the M50-54 age group. Back to the story: before the ride Annette is telling me about her new tactic with 2kms. Simply, when she is going out too fast, just continue to throttle it! Instead of backing off, she drives it and hopes the blowup will hold off until late in the race.
So, when I hear “six-oh” from Kenny I know that I cannot hold this speed for the whole eight laps but I stay on the throttle. Turns out that I am up on my schedule (to qualify) and simply decided to roll with it. I qualified first in 1:17.051, a new 50-54 world record.
James Host and I face each other in the final. He appears more nervous than me but he doesn’t realize that I’m exhausted and wondering what’s in my tank! I thought Jim might set out for a scheduled ride (consistent is better than blazing) but he decided to go blazing and hit the first four laps really hard probably hoping to throw me into his game but I stuck to my pace and ended up with a fast ride, a Kookaburra stuffed animal, my gold medal and world championship jersey.
Masters Track Worlds (Day 3) Oct. 21 “Reunions” – that’s how some competitors describe these track championships and I have to admit that I have a lot of fun when I come to these things. The majority of the world would think us odd for taking vacation time to do something like this: race, eat, sleep, do it all over again the next day. I mean one comes to a beautiful place like Sydney and we’re racing in circles, not walking to see sights, sitting on our butts whenever we can and generally have a whole lot of fun doing it.
Day 2 (October 21) was scratch race and team sprint day. With a record breaking 430 athletes, Day 2 was a 16 hour day of pursuiting. Yikes, no wonder the UCI wants to close down the event! Some groups had their qualifiers in the morning (we had thirty seven riders in two heats to pull 24 into the final). I qualified.
Next up was the team sprint where Reid Schwartz (Chicago, Ill), James Host and I did our best but only managed an 8th place finish.
Twelve hours after the qualifier we’re back on the track for the final. I’m exhausted as this lack of sleep is catching up to me. The awards ceremony for my pursuit win ended around 11:30pm and I was up at 5:30am, simply wide awake with my mind racing about all this racing. I got up and worked. Okay, so I’m tired and I cut a deal with myself. If I win the scratch race I’ll pull out from the sprints and reward myself with two days away from racing. Sold! But, winning is tricky with this BIG S on my back! Americans James Host, Aubrey Gordon and I talk about not chasing each other. That’s sort of like teamwork, right? James gets into the early move and it looks promising with the 2nd (James) and 3rd place pursuiters (Stephane Le Beau) up the road. Well, Didier Ramet from France bridges across and now the trio is rolling away. After a hard chase by Bernardo, Upton, Rutherford and others the trio is caught but thankfully almost everyone is gassed. I’m talking 30 laps of almost 30mph speeds. 50 year olds can motor! The group is caught with about 8 laps to go, we do our little slower speed dance, I get a close encounter with a guys rear wheel and with 3 laps to go I hit the front. I can’t wait to see this video but for some reason no one attacked and I was able to razor my sprint to the line for the win.
check out: http://photoaction.net.au/site/#/gallery/uci-m5-scr/uci-m5-scr-8107/
for a nice shot of my vee!
A full night of scratch racing, some of the best I have ever watched. Note: Rumor has it that the 2010 championships will be held in Lisbon Portugal. Now, there’s a place I’ve not been! Reunions… I love them.
Masters Track Worlds Day 4, 5 and 6 When I did the sprint tournament in 2008 I felt like I had been in a 15 round boxing match by the end of my 9 full out intensity rides. I scratched on the sprints at the last minute and after watching these great athletes slug it out for two long days (Day 4 and 5) I have absolutely no regret.
Moving on to Day 6 and the final day of the 15th annual UCI Masters Track World Championships (Saturday, October 24, 2009) my head was all over the place for the upcoming points race. I was confident because I had won this event in each of my five championship attempts. I was relaxed because I had already won two titles and I knew the rest days would help me. That being said, I didn’t have all that much confidence with my new sniffly nose and drizzly shits, nor with the most competitive field I had ever faced.
Our morning qualifying ride was cancelled as there were only 23 athletes interested in points racing (lots of sprinters on the list were pulling out), so we moved straight into the final late in the afternoon. I snuck in a nice (very rare) nap and felt slightly better. Sixty laps or 15km in total with sprints every 10 laps. My plan was to not take the win on the first sprint (uses too much energy), not let Steve Daracott (Australia), Bernardo Figueroa (Colombia), Stephane Le Beau (Canada) or Robert Upton (Australia) get up the road without me.
We were rolling it pretty good from the beginning, and when the first sprint lit up I got in line but there was a surge over the top and I didn’t place. I made a silly move after the sprint and rolled away. What a waste of energy. 2nd sprint came up and I was out of position again. We’re heading into 30 to go sprint and I have one point! Time for a quick self-talk… okay, I can still win this if I take the remaining sprints –and- slow the pace so that I’m not attacked. Thankfully I wasn’t attacked by my main rivals and was able to mark the current leaders/ contenders (Stephane and Bernardo). I took the 30 to go sprint, was 2nd in both the 20 and 10 to go sprint, and 4th in the last sprint to win 13 points to Stephane’s 11 points and Jim Rutherford’s 8 points. That, teammates and friends, was one of the most difficult wins I have ever fought for!