Thursday, October 06, 2011

Rumbling Lumber

Play by Play in L.A.
J.Fritzgerald B.

Pat Benson,
Erika Fulk,

Arriving on the 24th Jake could sharpen his teeth on the wooden track in the "NATIONALS PREP RACE" featuring more than a few National Medalists. Racing on the steep wooden banks of the Home
Depot, ADT Sports Center was key.

Aclimating in an omnium consisting of a Points Race, a Miss and Out, and a Scratch, Jake took it to 'em from the start.
Lapping the field, in the points race, Jake said "Hello!" Then in the Miss and Out, he held until the final 3 but then was the first to go. Finally in the scratch race, he sat in until a heroic flight. With three to go he made a quick solo dash to catch a previous break that he all but caught just as the field caught both of them. Four guys rolled by him in those last 10 meters and Jake got 6th.

The night added up to 2nd place overall at "The Prep" and Jake won $60!
We were encouraged!

The following two days were mainly about rest, but transporting items one bike load at a time to the infield or practicing with his Team Pursuit Team for an hour kept him loose on the track. Our hotel was a few thousand yards around the corner in a warm climate. It was mellow.

The first day of the ELITE NATIONAL TRACK CHAMPIONSHIP Omnium began with the Flying Lap. With the flying lap began the bad news. We just didn't seem very fast at this year's event. All the work seemed to be not paying off.

As the Omnium events passed, so did one opportunity after another to do well in the multi event part of NATIONALS. Finally, "Double D" the mechanic showed up, having just driven down from Portland, he laid hands on the bike and discovered the problem: a cone bearing had cinched down and become too tight to even be made turn by hand.

We were all shocked. We looked around at each other aghast.

After fixing it, Double D carried Jake's bike up to the start of the Team Pursuit with Austin Carroll, Al Urbanski, and Zak Kavolchek. They rolled a 4:32 in the qualifier and a 4:29 in the Final, and won a Bronze Medal. They rolled about 53kph.

53 Kilometres per hours
is equivalent to
32.9 miles per hour

This bit of success combined with the "cone discovery" was just enough good news to send Jake proudly into the Points Race Qualifier/Final progression. And in both races he finished 2nd! But in the Final he finished 2nd by lapping the field with defending Point Race National Champ, Dan Holt.

When they caught the back of the pack, Jake crossed the line first for 5 points, and threw his fists in the air.

"I actually thought I had won," Jake said after.

Sunday Afternoon, the next day, the Madison with Al Urbanski as partner was the order. Both guys fairly green, but skilled, they held on to the leaders while most of the teams were pulled for being lapped.
Finally they were the last place team left, holding on to the leaders while one lap down, they finished 9th.

Nobody felt too bad about that.

Two medals, a full schedule of racing, and a few technical mistakes later, Jake was sure he was a stronger, smarter bicycle racer than the year before. Now with some key connections and a bigger resume, Jake is looking for a shot with the pros.

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