Back to MN

Saturday was an uneventful drive out of Pennsylvania, as we had been kicked out of the apartment that morning. Made it to somewhere just across the Illinois-Wisconsin border, and went to sleep, with plans to wake up and leave early enough to get to Blaine for the District timed events Sunday afternoon at 2:00.

Left as planned Sunday, dropped things off at home, and went straight to the track. It was a bit like having an out of body experience. I would ride, but not feel anything in my legs. They didn't hurt. They didn't feel good. They didn't feel responsive. They didn't feel stale. Nothing. I put on the new fork I got from Soupy, jumped on my rollers, and waited for my kilo heat.

If there was any lack of sensation in my legs earlier, the kilo solved that problem. Coming down the backstretch, all I could think of was Art announcing in T-Town, yelling, "And the bear is on his back now!" There was definitely a bear on my back. Maybe the same one that attacked Ed. It ended, Dan Currell won, Chris Ferris was second, and I took third. Not too bad, but not very fast, either.

The individual pursuit was after that. Thinking back, I don't believe I've ever actually done a 4 km pursuit before. So I guess at a schedule, aimed for 5:00 minutes, and took off. Well, I didn't hit 5:00. I would up with a 5:07 and change, but that was enough to win. Now, when I say "win," I need to qualify that. I won for the category 1/2 riders. But Timmer won it all, going under 5 minutes with a 4:59 as a cat. 3, and Joe Johnson turned a 5:05 and change in the cat. 4/5. So it was a dubious win. Oh well, it got me the endurance qualification I needed for Elite Nationals, so I guess it worked.

In the team sprint, Hans, Franz, and Dan Currell ripped off an amazing ride, with a time in the 49 second range, setting new district record. These guys are targeting Elite Nat's this year, and I think they have a very decent shot. There aren't many people who can produce a ride like that, much less in their first year of racing on the track. Keep an eye on these guys. They may look more like linemen than bicycle racers, but they can sprint with the best of them.

Dan, Timmer, Cullen and I pulled together a team pursuit at the end of the event, and while we went fast enough to win, we only beat Timmer's individual time by less than 3 seconds. More practice is in order...

When it was all said and done, I had spent nearly 6 hours at the track on Sunday, came home, and crashed. Since then, I've pretty much just been sleeping and eating. I'm glad to be back.

Madison Cup, evening session

Alright, it's been a few days...

Friday night saw the duration of the Madison Cup in T-Town. The racing was absolutely amazing. It was definitely some of the fasting riding I've ever done. I ended up racing with Josh Brown from New Zealand, while Soupy and Simon paired together to made a Kiwi Sprint Madison Team. Things were hard from the gun, with the Italians taking control. Josh and I missed two exchanged, and that subsequently went to losing two laps. With opponents this strong, there was no room for us to make any errors, because we couldn't just suffer through a double when we needed to. The opening race was only 60 laps, and the field immediately blew apart, with a select group staying together at the front, and the rest of us scattered around the track, off the back. While Josh and I weren't feeling too hot about having lost two laps, we faired better than Soupy and Simon, who went down five laps and were pulled from the race. They didn't seem too upset about it though... Soupy got to ride the invitiational keirin later in the night, and made a gutsy early move, though nothing ultimately came of it.

Next up we had a pair of individual events. A quick round of rock-paper-scissors determined that, against my desires, I would ride the miss-and-out, while Josh would get the scratch race. My race can only be described as "boneheaded." There's just no other word that does it justice. I couldn't hear the officials while we were at the rail, and was confused as to whether people were being pulled every lap or every other. The first guy gets called out, and I drift to the rear. Someone is still behind me. We go another lap, and no one gets pulled. Must be every other... Another guy behind me. I think I hear my name, and drift to the back. I guess I'm out. Wait. No I'm not. Not yet. The guy drifting back was no longer in the race. He had been pulled, but they had mispronounced his name, he hadn't realized it, the race had been neutralized for a lap, then restarted, and I got pulled. Oops. I was still confused as to what had happened while coming off the track, so I asked Butterworth on the infield, and he explained it to me. He also said that getting out nearly immediately and saving myself for the final madison was a clever move. At that point, staying on laps was a lot more important than scoring points. I just thought it was boneheaded, but what he said made sense. I guess I was just a luckily clever bonehead...

Josh spent a good portion of the scratch race off the front, first with a group, then on his own. The pack was content to dangle him out there, then come flying by with 2 laps to go. What a terrible feeling. Oh well.

The final 100 lap madison was a blur. More suffering, more chasing. We didn't miss any exchanges, but still lost two laps. My 48x14 gear was alright in the field, but too small the sprint and chase with. Oh yeah, and I was feeling blown. Somewhere in the middle of the race, it struck me just how fun this was. Even though I was suffering like crazy, and nowhere near contention for the win, it was fun. The crowds were huge and excited. People who be cheering for me as I was chasing off the back. Spencer Hanley had come in from Philadelphia to watch, and was yelling at me from the rail. I was getting tossed around by the world's best, and having a great time doing it.

I still don't know where we finished. We were four laps down, and had no points, but there were certainly a few teams that were worse off then we were. In any case, it was amazingly fun. I'm glad I got to do it.

Madison Cup, morning session

The Madison Cup started off with a bang this morning. The sprinters are duking it out in a match sprint tournament, and most of the endurance riders took to the track for a points race. There are some seriously fast guys in town. The pace was brutal. I managed to snag a single point in the first sprint before suffering off the back. I spent the next several kilometers of the race yo-yoing at the back. Gapped off, then struggling back on. Eventually a move went off the front, the pack surged, and that was it for me. With 42 of 90 laps remaining, I pulled the plug.

The race whittled the field down to probably about 12 guys at the end. Colby Pearce showed his usual tenacity, taking second, while Anibal Borrajo took the win. Holding things down for the locals was Jackie Simes, who must have pulled off a top 10 finish (I'm not certain of all the results). Quite a showing in a UCI class 1 race. Winning today was worth as many UCI points as winning a world cup. Too bad I got smoked.

The madison events start up tonight, and should be blistering. My own plans have been thrown into flux since last night, when I got word from my partner Tom Hanley that he just learned he has mono, so he's going to need to be off the bike for a few weeks. As of right now, I still don't have a partner nailed down, but it looks like there's a good chance I'll be riding with Josh Brown, a junior from New Zealand who has been riding very well over the last few weeks. We'll see how this all unfolds.

An Apology

I would like to apologize for my last post. What I said was speaking strictly off of rumor. To acknowledge that sort of rumor, from sources who cannot truly know, is at the very least irresponsible. But to publicly broadcast those rumors crosses a line and becomes outright insulting and slanderous.

I never intended to insult anyone, nor to drag their names and accomplishments through the mud. For that, I apologize to everyone involved. To the trainers, coaches, supporters and fans. But most importantly to the athletes. Doing what I did belittles their dedication, talents, and hard work. I am sincerely sorry.

Cycling has had enough trouble with allegations of drug use, and can and should do without my voice on the subject. It is a sad state for our sport when a rider's exceptional performance brings with it suspicions about their ethics. What I did compounded this problem. My statements did more damage to the reputation of the cycling, and that I regret. To those who called me out on my tactless actions, I thank you, and again to all those involved, I am sorry.

-Brian Crosby


No one wants to name names. But there's talk. There's questions about the lack of testing. About a guy who shows up after a long absence, and rides a flying 200 outdoors, on a rough 333, faster than he's ever gone on an indoor 250. A month of UCI events. Several International Sprint Grand Prix's. The best teams and riders from across the globe. Not a single instance of testing.

There's the up and coming American. Up and coming a little too fast, by some accounts. Suddenly he's dishing it out amongst the world's best. He was never in contention before. Now he's showing the internationals a clean set of wheels.

It's easy to read about the doping scandals amongst the European peloton and think that it's so vastly removed from our own racing. Now it looks like I've found myself living right next door to some of it. Sitting 10 feet away from it on the infield. Who knows? I hope I get tested this week. I hope we all do.

Sliding, Suffering, and Flying

Thursday morning was wet. Dreary weather. We almost didn't go to the track, but after waiting an hour, headed out. A warm-up paceline started just as the drops began to fall. Nothing serious. A shallow concrete track. You can ride in this.

We had been riding in the wet for about 20 minutes. Then I heard the unmistakable sound of wheels slipping and skidding, and spokes pinging. A crash was coming ahead of me. Through the process I also heard a very polite, British voice let out a calm "sorry." Kenny Williams had lost his front wheel. Matt Crampton plowed into the back of him. A woman behind him went down. A Kiwi named Julia hit her. Adam, another Kiwi, and immediately ahead of me in line, hit her. I swung up. That was close.

Then poor Jason Kenny came sliding up the track ahead of me. No luck this time. I hit his back, and go flipping over the top. Nothing too serious. A scrape on my elbow, another on my hip. Two broken spokes. My elbow hurt. I swelled up. This is getting to be routine now. Pack up, head home, shower off, ice, ibuprofen, and sleep.

I faired much better than Adam. He broke his collar bone. And he was planning on leaving from here next week, and going directly to the UCI International Cycling Center in Switzerland. Needless to say, he's pissed. Jason Kenny was very apologetic. I think he felt bad about it. As Hartwell said afterwards, though, no one was going to stop until some slid. Lessons for next time.

Friday racing was a double session. A 24 km points race in the morning, and a 10 mile scratch in the evening. There was a keirin interspersed throughout. The points race was pure suffering. I was stiff and feeling dead, riding on the heels of Thursday's crash. My elbow throbbed with every bump. I scored no points, but refused to let myself drop out. Suffering, suffering, and more suffering.

In the evening I started things off with the qualification heat for the 2 km Dash for Cash race. The field was stacked with sprinters, and only the top 10 from each heat would move on. With 4 laps to go, someone attacked. The field let him go. 2 laps to go. I knew I couldn't compete with the sprinters, so I made my move with about 700 meters to go. I got caught on the backstretch, entering turn 3. Maybe 100 meters left in the race. No dice.

The guy who attacked earlier got 11th. Jack Simes (the elder) came up to me after the race. He chewed me out. Told me that I rode a stupid race. It turns out the guy who got caught was one of the guys he's training. He blamed me for the sprinters catching him. Said I gave them the perfect lead out. Yeah, it was my fault. And not the 10 guys who beat him to the line. I'm not on his team. Simes isn't my coach. Screw them, I don't think I'll be working with him any more this week. Not when it's that obvious he doesn't like me.

The scratch race was fast. An average of 48.5 km/h. For 10 miles. At one point, there were 3 separate groups trying to lap the field. All succeeded. I was in the second one. This was apparently too difficult a task for the UCI Commisaires. They screwed up the results, for the second week in a row. The night ended with everyone standing around the registration windows, saying who got laps, and who didn't. The official was content to just take a pen, and write over the results sheet. You could have told her anything, and it would have gone on the results. Whatever. When it all shook out, I got 13th. Not bad, after a week of hard training and a crash the day before.

An easy week, plenty of rest and recovery, and I should be flying for the Madison Cup next week. I talked with Colby Pierce last night. He says there are going to be enough nations represented to make it a UCI Class 1 event. The Italian Olympic team is coming in. That should be impressive.

Sprint Finale

Well, my prediction came true. After a battling through a few more rounds, the final came down to Roberto Chiappa and Ryan Bayley. Neither is at a loss for speed, and the rounds were great to watch. Ultimately though, Chiappa just had too much power, coming over Bayley in two straight rounds to win. He left no room for doubt. I talked with Bayley about it afterwards, and he didn't seem surprised (or disappointed) remarking, "the guy qualified two tenths faster than me, so if I beat him, I'm doing something right." No win this time, but a good show, regardless. Watching those two duke it out, bumping elbows and shoulders through turns 3 and 4, at 40+ mph really made me glad that I'm not a sprinter. Those guys are terrifying.

Ryan Nelman got taken to school by Dan Ellis in the 3rd-4th rounds. Nelman may be getting a lot faster, but he still can't top the international field.

On the women's side of things, Anna Meares lived up to her stripes and accolades, beating Jenny Reed in two rides to win. Her sister Kerry, meanwhile, beat out American masters world champion Liz Reap-Carlson for third.

Meares and Reed probably provided the most interesting rides in the finals, as the men's racing was a pretty straight forward affair, with the fastest qualifier winning in both cases. The same held true for the women, but at least Reed and Meares threw in some drama. During their first ride, the went into trackstands, and the standoff was broken when Reed had to grab the rail, forcing a restart. In the re-ride, they did it again, and while neither touched the wall, it was a brilliant display of handling, with Meares hopping her rear wheel and pedaling in the air to get her feet into a better position. That's one gutsy move, but it may have paid off, as she won the ride.

In the second ride, going down the backstretch on the first lap, Reed chopped Meares down onto the apron. Lucy Tyler had always told me that in a match sprint, "one person is in charge, and the other is the bitch." Not one to take to this sort of thing lightly, Meares immediately chops back up, takes Reed all the way to rail, holds her there for a second, and then lets the race progress. It was awesome. Perhaps it's because she was once again "in charge," or maybe it's that she is scary fast, Meares went on to win the ride, and in turn, take the victory in the tournament.

I shot video of the some of the final rides, but they are all too big to post. I'll try to trim them down and compress them, and get them up in the next few days.

Sprint Rounds

The early rounds in the sprint tournament were this morning. Suffice to say, it's amazing. You needed to ride an 11.1 sec 200 m to qualify, and they took the top 18. It was strange to see Teun Mulder winning his ride. A consolation ride. For 22nd. These guys are fast. I'll let the pictures say the rest.

There were no lack of tight finishes. Here Jason Kenny (UK) beats Adam Duvendeck (Momentum) with a picture prefect bike throw.

Ben Barczewski (T-Town Express) staged the only upset in the first round, eliminating Josiah Ng (Malaysia) in what was probably the closest finish of the morning.

A Mavic 5-spoke rear wheel? You can't buy that...

...but if your bike has a sticker saying "A. Meares" you're not buying wheels. You're getting paid to use them.

(aside: my fastest flying 200 at T-Town was an 11.7 before junior nats a few years ago. Anna Meares qualified with an 11.6 this morning.)

Here's a tactical question for you, (dis): If you're Kasper Jessens (Denmark) and a guy wearing an Australian skinsuit with world champion stripes named Shane Kelly is winding it up a full half-track above you, are you screwed in the sprint?

Answer: Yes

Roberto Chiappa (Italy) has been making it look easy, qualifying first with a 10.41, and here easily dispatching Matt Crampton (UK).

Ryan Nelman (T-Town Express) put on a good show. Here he winds up the sprint, leading out ahead of Matt Crampton (UK), who took an awesome run at him...

...but it wasn't quite enough, and Nelman moved on.

In fact, by beating Jason Kenny here, Nelman eliminated both of the British riders. He has no lack of speed this year.

Stay tuned for more pictures and a full report from the final tonight. I'm predicting an epic showdown between Bailey and Chiappa!

Race and Rewind

So back to Friday night. I've never seen a keirin like this before. It was absolutely amazing. Almost everyone I talked to was picking Chiappa for the win in the finals, but it was Bailey who came up big. He had to advance through the reps to get there, but that apparently took nothing out of him, as he put on a veritable clinic on how to rock a world class field. Sure, having two teammates with you in the final will help, but he pulled this ride out all on his own. I stood on the bridge over the finish line and watched the race heat up in the final 2 laps, waiting for the Italian to launch his move. When he did, late as it was (that was his style on Friday) it was too little, and too late. Even if he had gone 50 meters earlier, I don't think he could have come around Bailey and Co. Those Aussies can fly. Once again, amazing.

I had felt awful during warm-ups, but my legs came to life in the scratch race, even allowing me to throw in a few attacks and work to cover a couple moves. Admittedly starstruck, I had a fun realization at one point that I was rotating in a chase of three to bring back Colbey Pierce with Bobby Lea and Teun Mulder. As it would turn out, not one of use would find a good result in the race, but it was exciting nonetheless. Ultimately, the pack of about 40 that started was thinned down to about half that, and our pace explains why. Average speed for 15 km: 48.2 km/h. Ouch.

I came back into the infield after the scratch race feeling elated. My legs had been terrible earlier in the night, but now they felt great! The madison was coming up, and I knew that I could ride with best guys there and be competitive. A top three finish was definitely within reach. I was riding with Barry again, the same guy I rode the Madison of the Americas with 2 week prior. He pretty well killed my buzz. He came in looking utterly gassed, and explained in no uncertain terms that he felt the same way. So we took the track, my hopes still high, but now tempered. I could see he was suffering in the first few exchanges, one even riding right by underneath me, oblivious that I had dropped down for the throw. Not a good sign. I made a move in the first sprint that got us second place points and bridged us up to the team of Pierce and Lea, with the Canadians coming across as well. Maybe that top three finish wasn't out of the question. . . I threw in Barry, swung up to recover, and came back into the race to find that we were no longer not only out of the break, but off the back of the field. I chase back on, throw in Barry, and then find us even further off the back. This went on and on, over and over, from about 55 laps to go, to about 14, when we were finally caught and lapped by the field. So much for that top three. . .

There were plenty of other teams that went down more laps that we did, but it was still disappointing to get lapped. What really amazed me is that despite having a full crew of UCI Commissaires officiating, the managed to royally hose the scoring. As such, I don't even know where we finished, but I think we might have screwed out of some prize money. Some good did come out of my 40+ laps of suffering, though. David Butterworth, the promoter interested in sending me to Europe to race some 6-Days this fall, was in attendance. He came up after the race, and said that we needed to find me a stronger partner to race the Madison Cup with at the end of the month. The next day, he had arranged for Tom Hanley to be my partner. This guy has no lack of horsepower, as he finished 4th (I think) in the kilo at Elite Nationals last year, and was the top U-23 rider.

The biggest news of the night also came from Butterworth. He said that he has chosen me to be a rider to start in the 6-Day races this fall, and that he wants me to race as many as I can before I set off to Patagonia in January. So the decision is now official on this continent, but we still need to wait to get the final word on invitations from the 6-Day organizers. In any case, things are looking better and better.

Tuesday night racing this week has been cancelled in favor of holding a UCI elite sprint tournament. All of the international riders are staying here for the rest of the month, and the show should be great. I won't be racing tomorrow (This morning Erin Hartwell asked me if I was planning to race it. I laughed at him, and told him that I wasn't that foolish.) but the show should be amazing.

The plan as of now:
7:30 Wake up
8:00 On the bike
9:00 End ride at the track, watch first sprint rounds, ride home
12:00 Shower, eat, stretch
1:00 Afternoon nap
2:00 Read at the coffee shop downstairs
4:00 On the bike for a hard ride
6:00 Shower, eat, stretch
7:30 Arrive at the track to watch the racing
~10:00 Post-race party and food with the riders
11:30 Sleep

This life is great.

The Big Guns

A quick overview of the international riders here for the keirin tonight:

The New Zealand team has a few more reinforcements that have flown in
The British brought a handful of riders (with Jason Kenny and Matt Crampton)
10 Australians (8 men, 2 women, including Ryan Bayley, Mark French, Shane Kelly, and the Meares sisters)
Italian Roberto Chiappa
The Dutch, Tim Veldt and Teun Mulder
Josiah Ng of Malaysia
The two guys from Trinidad, Hassim and Jon
Argentinians, some resident riders, and at least one flew in

The US is bringing in its own, too, with the likes of Duvendeck adding to the mix of the T-Town Express Team riders. Every heat this morning was amazing. Even the reps where incredible. These guys can fly, and find (or make) holes where I swear there is nothing but bodies. I just might be more excited to watch the finals tonight than I am to race the madison...


Tuesday night I decided to try my hand at the cat 2 racing at the track again. I walked to the window, signed in (comped on the entry fee again! awesome!) and looked at the schedule. Keirin night. I just about walked away then and there. In hindsight, I should have. But if they were willing to let me race for free, I might as well help put on the show.

Warming up was an atrocity. My legs felt awful after the thrashing I gave them in Detroit, and the 8 hours of driving back to T-Town didn't help. I put a 94, did a handful of jumps, and tried to get myself ready to race.

My heat came up, and, no surprise, I drew number 1. Right behind the motor. I can draw that position with uncanny consistency. Thus far into the season, I have only drawn something else a single time. Weird, eh? The good news for me was that someone else wanted the motor, which I gladly relinquished, falling onto second wheel. Somewhere in the first lap, a paunchy junior, clearly of the mindset that if you're in a keirin, you're obligated to hit people, drew along side and started fighting me for the position. I gave him a few good flicks, knocked his arms and bars, then thought better of the situation (does this keirin really matter for me? no.) and let him in. I drifted back to third wheel. The motor drew off, I held my position, leaving space enough to punch over the top when the time was right. We hit the backstretch on bell laps, I jumped out of the saddle, came over the top, and won the heat. Maybe my legs weren't so awful after all.

Turns out that was a very wrong assumption. In the points race after that, I took second in the first sprint, and the proceeded to get dropped for the remainder of the race. Ouch. Take that, pride.

Keirin reps came and went, and we started a win and out, with the first place sprint at 8 to go, second at 4 to go, and the rest being sorted out at the end. In short, I led out first sprint, got beaten to the line by some woman named Laura from Australia, and then did a repeat of my points race performance, popped off the back. The pride took yet another blow.

In the keirin final, I had one strategy, and no aspirations of winning. Game plan: Sit on Matt Deiffenbach, and ride his draft all the way to the finish. Matt took up a position at the back of the pack, content to let me sit on (I had told him about this plan earlier). He made his move later than I would have expected, taking me along, over the top. A huge hook was thrown his way in turn 3, sending me all the way to the rail. I kept it upright, stuck the plan, and rode away with a paltry 5th.

At the end of the night, I had a sole upgrade point to my name, and was convinced that the next two days would be nothing but recovery. Hopefully this works out for Friday, because as Ryan Nelman yelled at me from the stands, as I was suffering off the back "How do you expect to race on Friday night if you're getting beat by the ladies on a Tuesday?!"

Detroit 3-Day Wrap

So we were sitting in 4th after the first two days. The standings were tight, with only a handful of points separating us from the lead, but a huge gap opening behind that. It looked like things had become a race between the top 4 teams, with the rest fighting it out amongst themselves. Within the top 4, though, things were getting cut throat.

At the end of the last madison on day 2, an attack was made and a group went off the included Luke and I, the Cody Racing team, and the Canadians. I think I mentioned this before. In any case, Team Black (Austin Carol and Dan Vogt), which was leading, didn't make the break, and in turn, didn't gain a lap with us. Everyone figured that they were just being cagey, letting the contenders work like dogs, knowing that regardless of whether or not we succeeded, they would hold their lead, and in the process, conserve some precious energy. The announcer figured that was what was going on. Everyone I talked to who was racing agreed. Team Black went down a lap, the rest of us picked up 15 points, and they retained their lead.

Things got a bit more interesting on the third day. Rain was spitting on the track all morning, and the start of the racing was delayed by 15 minutes. Not knowing how long the break in the weather would hold, the organizers cut the opening (and relatively unpopular) 1 mile scratch races, electing to start off with a 120 lap madison. Luke and I had already decided to try our hand at sprinting in the early races, and then go for broke in the final. And it worked. We won a sprint, factored into everything, and really put the pressure on the other leading teams. After closing the points gap on the 3 teams ahead of us, we took to the combined miss and out. Not my favorite event, much less on a track this crowded, but it was a good chance to pick up some points. I played the devil, and eliminated more than my fair share of the other racers. When it came down to the end, Luke and I were the only team with both riders still in it. I hung on for 5th, Luke took some nice points in 3rd. Conspicuously absent: Team Black. They were out quickly. A first sign of weakness, or a dosed effort, looking ahead to the final madison? It was any one's guess, but while still leading, the gap was shrinking.

The last madison started with a bang. No one was willing to give anything up, and the attacks were nearly constant. I continued to play my so far successful strategy of attacking 4-5 laps before the sprint in an effort to set Luke up to grab points. It came through beautifully for me, and I was feeling strong, so I started throwing in more and more attacks. And then Team Black cracked. They started not contesting the sprints they had earlier dominated. Then they started losing laps. They dropped out of the lead, eventually falling to 4th, and Luke and I moved up into 3rd. Austin Carol then ran into the back of the rider ahead of him during an exchange and crashed. He was back up and in the race briefly, but all the fight was gone. He withdrew with about 20 laps to go, but Dan Vogt made the gutsy decision to finish out the race alone. What a stud. He lost lap after lap, but at the end of 3 days of brutal racing, to have the mental resolve to see things to the conclusion after your partner abandons is damn impressive. Hats off to him.

Ultimately, we got closer to the two leading teams but couldn't overtake them. We finished the weekend in 3rd (the same as last year) while Cody Racing took 2nd, and Canadians vaulted up the standings for the win. Most impressive? This was the first time Luke and I had raced together in well over a month (and the first time he has raced since Nature Valley) and we didn't miss a single exchange. 480 laps of madison racing, with exchanges happening in just under 2 lap intervals means we made over 240 exchanges, and didn't miss any. Now that's a good showing. Most of the officials, along with a fair number of the riders and spectators complimented us on our smooth technique. All I can say is that we learned from the best, and honed our skills spending hours doing high-speed throws behind the motor. Thanks Bob, you made us look good.

Bob's Reputation

This summer I've seen quite a few tracks, and met more than the normal share of track directors, coaches, announcers, and other mainstays of track culture. And every time they learn I'm from Minnesota, they ask how Bob is. Everyone knows him. From the guy flipping lap cards at Alpenrose, to Des Dickey hanging out on the infield of the 7-11 Velodrome. This weekend alone, not only did Dale Hughes, the director of the Blooomer Park Velodrome ask about Bob, but Roger Young, here from the ADT Center in LA wanted to know how he was doing. What's the most impressive is not that so many people know Bob, or even that they care enough to ask how he's doing, but it's the sly little smiles that creep across their faces as you talk to them about the state of affairs in Blaine (which is, of course, indelibly tied to the state of affairs of Bob). These people know the icon of Bob Williams, track director extraordinaire, and even if they haven't seen him in years, they carry a certain respect for what he does.

Hopefully Bob will be able to keep involved at the track. There are few as committed to the state of cycling as he is. It's hard for me to fathom how much he puts into not only our velodrome, but the riders who embrace it. It takes a special sort of love for the sport to come out on a hot Saturday afternoon and drive a motorcycle in circles for hours while some kid sits in the draft. I can tell you all, first hand, that Bob possess that passion. Even if Bob needs to bow out of the limelight in Blaine, his influence will continue to be felt at tracks across the nation, and I can only imagine, across the world.

Thanks for everything, Bob. You've made riding the track something unbelievable for me and so many others.

Detroit Racing, days 1 and 2

Coming back to Detroit is no fun. This city is awful. So it's a damn good thing racing on this track is great. The first night went pretty well. Despite baking in temps in the mid 90s, and choking of dry mouth from the super low humidity, the racing was exciting. We rode well in the opening 1 mile sprints, took some decent points in the miss and out (which was crazy, with 18 people racing it on a 200 m track) and rocked the two madisons. Things split up almost immediately in the first 60 lap race, we took several laps on a couple teams, and stayed on with the leaders. One thing that has really improved for us since last year is our ability to position in the sprints and rack up points. Unfortunately, this year they changed the format so that lapping the field only nets you 15 points. Winning a sprint is worth 10. Last year laps took precedence, so we played our hand wisely, took a lap, and held on for 3rd. No such luck this year. In the second madison of the night, a 100 lap affair, the Cody Racing team (formerly Spike) got away from everyone and moved up in the standings to second, leaving Luke and I in 3rd, with the team of Austin Carol and Dan Vogt leading overall. Not a bad way to start out.

were still working out. It's funny, no matter how much I feel like I'm suffering in other events on the track, and I can always seem to scrape my act together enough to throw down a good ride in the Tonight we were both feeling a little sapped. I particularly felt like I had no snap, and the racing showed it. In the individual 1 mile opening race, Luke took 3rd. I took 7th. In the combined miss and out, Luke again took 3rd, and I suffered to take about 12th. It's a good thing he was scoring us some points, because I certainly wasn't. Fortunately the madisonsmadison. We had a 60 lap to start out, and held in pretty well, picking up a few sprint points. In the 12o lap race that closed out the night, we won one sprint, and contested most of the others, but in general didn't seem to be positioning ourselves as well leading into the bell lap. The turns on this track are so tight, and the laps so short, that if you aren't in the top 3 or 4 with 1.5 to go, you may as well count yourself out. Probably the best thing that happened is that we managed to take a lap on the leading team, along with the second and fourth placed teams. This gnawed down their lead a bit, but they still managed to hold onto it at the end of the night. We were beaten in the sprints by the Canadian team that had been sitting in fourth going into the last race, and hence moved down one spot in the overall. This race has been a lot more competitive that last year, and all of the top four teams are within striking distance of the win. Tomorrow is the last day of racing, and has some longer events, including a 200 lap madison to conclude the weekend. This bodes well for Luke and I, as we have so far seemed to be doing better as the races get longer. Looking at how the past two days have gone, and how the scoring is working out, I think we're planning on concentrating on the sprints rather than taking laps. If a move presents itself, we'll be all over it, but with the minimal amount of points being awarded for lapping the field, we'll need to play the sprinter game. It's not our strong suit, but this weekend has shown us that we are capable of winning these sprints, and if the longer race really does play more to our favor, things could work out well. We'll see tomorrow. In any case, the racing out here has been awesome, outweighing the fact that I needed to come to Detroit to do it.

More Argyle

This is awesome.

Cleaning House

It's been some hard days of training and racing lately. The Madison of the Americas on Saturday, a crit on Sunday, a long ride in the hills on Monday, and motorpacing session yesterday morning. And then I decided to race the cat. 2 Super Tuesday series last night. I was feeling pretty gassed, but a hard block now, then two days of easy riding, some openers on Friday morning, and I should be flying for the 3-day in Detroit. So I kitted up, registered for the racing, and proceeded to rock the locals. It was sweet.

I attacked with just over a lap to go in the first race (Devil's Scratch Race, eliminate 10, then a 2 km scratch) and catch the poor guy who had attacked with 4 laps to go coming out of turn 4. Crossed the line with plenty of space and hands in the air.

Next was a 5 km points race. Again, I got away on the last lap and handily won the last sprint for second.

In the final omnium event, an absurdly short 2 km scratch. I rolled to the front on the second lap, move up the the rail, and check behind me. Even was just sitting on me wheel. A pack of about 25, and not one of them made a move past me for two slow laps at the rail. Talk about being the marked man. The race was only 6 laps long, and they were content to sit on me, going back in a big wedge, at the rail doing maybe 25 km/h, for two entire laps. Finally I got someone else to come through, started to sprint after a move had gone off, and still took fourth. Not too bad.

Omnium overall: 1st.

There was a 15 km scratch race feature at the end of the night. I lapped the field with 3 other guys, then played the sprint poorly at took third. Oh well, I'd still call this one a success.

No one would give me the time of day at the start of the evening. So I took JT's advice, let my legs do the talking, and made plenty of new friends by the end of the night. Take that, T-Town.