Sunday, July 15, 2018

Tuesday Night Show

Five time National Champion Zak Kovalcik inspires a Junior.
Traditionally the Masters/Juniors Individual Time Trial Night, the 2018 Portland Velodrome Committee authorized Tuesday Night Time Trials, Pursuits and Junior Scratch Races for a Junior Track Cup Series.

Typically the least attended race night on the Summer Track Calendar, promoters offered Scratch racing to create another pipeline of development to Mass Start Racing. Authorities felt Masters were not interested in Scratch Racing.  2018 Promoters dutifully acquiesced, despite months of promotion.

Despite the loss of Masters Scratch racing in 2018 on Tuesday Nights at Alpenrose Velodrome, spirits soared with a surprise visit from Five Time National Champion Zak Kovalcik who came out to see how we do, (and show us how it is done with a casual 36.47 in the 500m)

Kovalcik a long time bicycle messenger rose from the beginning ranks to reach the very highest levels of international racing. Famous for wild last minute,  come from behind chases, he is considered to be one of the gutsiest endurance track racers in America today.

Out at the track on the Tuesday night, quiet night at Alpenrose Velodrome, Zak was the star of the show. Laughing so loud, one could hear his location up on the track wall, hidden in the porta potty, or even from way up in the parking lot. His charisma was firing up all sectors of the promotion.
He even stopped to help juniors fix their bikes!

Zak seemed to be thrilled to be back.  He was back where Coaches like Brian Abers had made a big difference in his life. Back at Alpenrose Velodrome, where Zak once set the unbroken  Ten Mile Track Record, in a  Scratch Race.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Moving on Track

Bicycle racers, Josh Morris and Mateen Richey were discovered as 3rd graders in an after-school, community center cycling program at Blazer Boys and Girls Club.  (see here)

Elder High School age teenagers like Kent Ross, ran the program and could spot the young talent easily. As little children, Josh and Mateen loved to ride their bikes, and it was apparent. (see Mateen coached by Kent here)
Very little has changed. Despite their super motivation, Joshua and Mateen's training regime, and developmental arch has been kept gentle by some standards. Josh and Mateen's coaching staff decided to limit their racing to the individual OBRA events. Growing their big time race savvy slowly, they stayed safe and motivated.
Reunited, as taller people.
Pack racing was practiced in team practices. Fun little races kept the key lessons coming.
Individual Time trials don't teach a ton of pack savvy, but they improve power and legspeed. More importantly, they teach one how to handle themselves in the parking lot, and at the registration table.

Once the Individual Time Trial racing was learned, they were transformed to stronger students of speed. They were ready to graduate to higher challenges. Our velodrome was the perfect University.
Alpenrose Velodrome can be a daunting spectacle for new comers, but our Juniors who practice mass start events on Saturday evenings, are familiar. Having raced publicly only as individuals, until recently, our Juniors were finally ready to not crash out the whole pack.

The OBRA Junior Track Camp, promoted for OBRA by the team PDX Devo, was a perfect place to enter the public eye in Track Racing. After months of road riding and easy gear (72 inch) track practices, Cyclisme ramped them up quickly over four weeks to larger gears. ( 76, 81, 84 inches )

When Josh and Mateen stepped out to participate in the OBRA Jr. camp, their results were top notch.
Great Coaches made quick use of their skills as examples.

Making friends and riding at the front, our guys were well prepared for the foray into pack racing and public life.
Our guys spent all their strength to learn new tricks at the camp, then entered their first Thursday/Friday mass start events.
There Mateen reunited with his old coach Kent Ross, now an ex National Collegiate Champ.
Then the next day, Josh and Mateen entered the Blue Ribbon weekend track omnium promoted for OBRA by Coach Phil Saunders of the team, BBC, and WON STUFF!

Tired, but fast enough. Life is good,