Race Report: Sprint Night, 28 July 2016

It was a great night to go fast; the air was still and warm and the riders were ready. We had a great contingent of racers for one of the final Thursday sprint nights of the year (two more: August 25 and September 8), including a record turnout of junior riders!

We kicked off the night with a round of 200m TT’s to seed the event. Michael Hart (12.09), Eric Knackmuhs (11.95), John Bott (11.83) and Scott Whiteman (11.77) sat at the top of the list for the men. Since the evening was run round-robin style instead of championship style, this meant they would face each other in the matches a couple times. This made for some creative and risky moves coming from Hart and Knackmuhs. The most exciting match was Knachmuhs v. Hart in round three, which was a well-played game of cat and mouse that Knackmuhs was able to win from behind in the final lap.

The real stars of the show were in the junior category. We had a record turnout for the summer with a full bracket of five awesome young riders. In round one, Charlotte Kumler and Carsten Benge were evenly matched. Kumler initiated the sprint from the start, getting a large gap on Benge. But Carsten hit the gas with determination, making the catch and passing Kumler for the win. Kumler continued to keep her races exciting by jumping first and early, which earned her the win in round three. Young junior Gavin Franklin was riding with heart this evening as well. Up against Kevin Magers and Morgan Wilson in round one, Franklin sat on their wheel until they got the bell. In turn two Franklin took advantage of their effort, jumping and making the pass, and held onto it to take the win. Magers did not let him go uncontested however; in his two-up sprint against Franklin, Magers led again by obligation, picking up the pace as they were getting the bell. Franklin jumped again in turn two, creating a small gap, but Magers reacted quickly. He caught up by turn three and began to make the pass. It was an all-out drag race to the finish, side-by-side, taken by Franklin by a small margin.

We had similar match in the men’s category between Chris Chou and Chris Kirkham. Chou took the lead after a half lap and Kirkham let a small gap open up. Chou picked up speed steadily until they heard the bell, and initiated the sprint in turn one. Kirkham made the catch by turn three, pushed to make the pass, but was unable to come around and Chou took the win.

Since we had a fair number of endurance riders come out to race this evening, there was a good amount of ‘kiloing’ going on as well. Many riders jumped to the pole from the start in order to surprise and intimidate their opponent. Suzan Young matched up with Rena Smock in round one and hit the gas from the start. Smock chased with determination, but Young’s effort was unfading and she won the match. Suzan tried this tactic again in round three again Rachelle Wilson, but Wilson was able to react quickly and follow her wheel, coming around her in the final turn to take the win. Nicole Borem kept her opponents guessing with her cat and mouse tactics taking her races from the rail to the red line and everywhere in between before the sprint was initiated.

Many of the riders who attended the elite sprint clinic last weekend were out here putting to practice the things they had learned from Matt Rotherham, and their confidence and tactics showed in their racing.

See you all next week for mass start racing just before the Velodrome’s biggest event of the summer, USA Cycling’s Masters Track National Championships, begins for a week of stars-and-bars competition for riders from all over the country. Remember to sign up for a volunteer slot and make plans to bring your families and friends out to check out the event. 

Race Report: Individual Pursuit State Championships, 21 July 2016

We kicked off the night with a 200m track record breaking attempt by Matthew Rotherham, a world-level sprinter from Bolton, England. The track record, held by Olympic sprinter Marty Nothstein, was a 10.583. It still stands, as Rotherham narrowly missed it by 0.2 seconds, riding a blazing fast 10.780. He will be at the track this coaching an elite sprint clinic.

A few more sprinters made an appearance at pursuit night; the Men’s 50+ 2km TT began with John Bott (Igo Fasnow Racing) and Scott Whiteman (George Garner Cyclery Track Team) throwing down for their first three laps to get their kilo time, before the true 2km pursuits started. Dean Peterson (Zipp Masters Team), the Men’s 50+ Indiana State Champion, took the gold with an impressive time of 2:28.65, followed by John Balmer (Century Road Club of America) in second with a time of 2:34.84 and John Lazard (Texas Roadhouse Cycling) with a 2:39.31. Like many of the riders who competed last night, Peterson, Balmer, and Lazard all in the final stages of prep for Masters Nationals in a few weeks.

In the women’s categories, Jane Vanni-Noone (Zone-6 Cycling) rode a 2km for a time of 2:52.27, earning the State Championship in the Women’s 35+ 2km, and then rode a second pursuit in the Women’s 3km for a time of 4:43.80 to win third place. The overall champion of the Women’s 3km was Elizabeth Engwis (Scarlet Fire p/b Matthew’s Bikes) with a time of 4:30.63, followed closely by Kristen Coleman (Scarlet Fire p/b Matthew’s Bikes) with a 4:32.49 for second place.

In the Junior Men 10-14, Gavin Franklin came out and rode a steady 1:51.52 to earn the State Championship in the 1km pursuit. In the Men’s 15-18 3km pursuit, Seth Worthington took the gold with a time of 3:52.57, and Ethan Franklin came in second place with a 4:50.52.

In the Men’s 30-49 3km pursuit, Kyle Perry (Texas Roadhouse Cycling) rode a 3.37.43 to win the state championship. Sliding into second with a time of 3:42.78 was David Morse (Above and Beyond Cancer), with Eric Knackmuhs (Scholars Inn Bakehouse Team Tortuga) taking the bronze with a 3:46.32.

Perry, Morse, and Knackmuhs each rode again in the Men’s 19+ 4km to win the gold, silver, and bronze in a second category with times of 4:51.11, 5:03.65, and 5:15.28 respectively. The rest of the riders in that category were very closely matched, making for some exciting heats.

A big thank you to all the riders who came out to ride one of the most mentally challenging events on the track! There was a great spectrum of experience on the fields, and it’s great to have so many new riders coming out as well as seasoned racers coming back. See you next week for the sprint tournament!

Race Report: Sprint Night - 14 July 2016

Full Results: https://www.usacycling.org/results/?permit=2016-1713

The stands were buzzing this warm summer night, as the evening of racing kicked off with a round of 200m time trials. The riders were seeded into groups of men, women, and juniors with competitive times. The fastest TT for the men was ridden by John Balmer (Century Road Club of America) with a time of 11.47, and the fastest women’s seed was Rachelle Wilson (Mike’s Bikes STL) with a 13.05.

The round-robin style tournament ran smoothly. In the men’s category, Eric Knackmuhs (Scholars Inn Bakehouse Team Tortuga) and John Bott met in the first round with a close match, and again in the gold medal round for a cat-and-mouse game. Bott’s jump on the home straight took Knackmuhs by surprise and he won the ride for first place.

The women rode steady, decisive races. Elizabeth Engwis (Scarlett Fire p/b Matthews Bikes),won all three of her heats with crafty tactics, pinning them to the rail until she was ready to sprint, leaving her opponent little time to come around. In her match against Rachelle Wilson, Suzan Young (Igo Fasnow Racing), a soon-to-be freshman at Marian University, jumped aggressively and took Wilson all the way to the line. The official made the call that Wilson took it by inches. Rena Smock (Igo Fasnow Racing) rode well, making the first move in her race against Suzan Young and earning cheers from the stands.

Ethan Franklin and Johnnie Lewis (Team World Bicycle Relief) rode for 9th and 10th place finish. Lewis rode aggressively in all three of his matches, hitting the gas first in this one as well and pinning it all the way to the line for a 9th place finish.

Brian Wind (INDYSPEED Sports Club) and James Abbott rode an exciting second round, with a huge near-comeback by Wind after Abbott created a gap, taking the race by a wheel-length.

Local junior stud Margot Grotland (Midwest Devo Cycling) was matched up against Morgan Wilson, a rider from the St. Louis area, for three close rounds. Grotland took the first ride with an aggressive move from behind, and Wilson won ride 2 with a powerful acceleration from the front. In ride three, Wilson jumped pretty early, but left the door open for Grotland to motor through underneath to take her second ride for the win.

Congratulations to the winners and everyone who came out and raced their bikes hard. And thank you to the fans up in the stands! We look forward to seeing everyone next week for some more exciting races.