|Gorgeous bikes, down HWY 5.|
My friend Rich Rozzi invited me to carpool with him, so that made the decision easier, and we drove down Saturday morning. That afternoon we got to ride in their open-track training session. I rode my new Dixie Flyer BTB that I had built up just after Track States (it arrived too late for that). It handled superbly, and it allowed me to focus on my form instead of worrying about the bike.
On Sunday morning we got up at 5:30 a.m. so we could have plenty of time to eat breakfast and schlep all of our gear to the velodrome for the LAVRA races. The track opened up for warmup at 9:00 and we were soon prepping our bikes and doing some efforts on the track; I started in a low gear for warmup (49x16; 82.7"), then switched to my race gears (49x14; 94.5") and Zipp wheels.
|The Velo Sports Center lobby.|
So the standard tournament format matched me, the second-slowest seed, against second-fastest seed Ethan Boyes (who qualified with 10.99), and Rich against the first-seed rider, Nate Koch, a candidate for the Olympic 2016 games (who qualified in 10.92 seconds).
Rich tried his best against Nate, but not too surprisingly couldn't beat him; it's very hard to overcome a speed differential of 1.5 seconds!
I didn't feel too much pressure racing against Ethan; I just wanted to do my best and learn the differences of riding on such a track; the biggest one being that we can't just roll through the steeply-banked turns without slipping down! I wanted to make Ethan earn his win too, even though I drew the second spot, giving him the 'pole' (lead) from the start. But I feel I did well, as I seized the lead from him immediately, and ramped up the speed to make passing harder. But while I still had some reserve he passed out of turn 4 just before the last lap and held me off.
|Rich, Ethan and Dana (on rollers).|
|Lunch , complements of Ethan!|
So in the end I had a blast, and was so happy with how my bike handled and my own riding that I drove home in a great mood. I'll definitely be going down there again!