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Road trip!

Well, it was more of sky trip than road trip, but I put in too many miles last week. On Monday evening I caught a red-eye from Honolulu to Salt Lake City, hopped on a plane from there to Minneapolis St Paul, then one more flight to Omaha, NE. All in the name of work. Nothing quite like going from 85F to 30F overnight. Fortunately I spent most of my time indoors in meetings at the HQ of the company I work for. Going to Omaha, I was quite excited at the prospect of consuming a big juicy steak which I’ve heard and damn good. Unfortunately the dinner was a set menu and we got served chicken and broccoli on day 1, and pizza on day 2. In hindsight I should have not eaten anything and headed out for a steak after. Next time!

After the work portion of my trip was done I hopped on a place to LAX via MSP arriving at midnight, then drove south to my hotel in Wilmington. I should have gone to sleep immediately but Hangover 2 was on TV and I got sucked into that for 30mins. I eventually hit the hay at 1:30am, got a few hours sleep then headed out to the Velo Sports Center in Carson to ride the 250m indoor velodrome.

When I got to the track I met up with Giddeon Massie (Olympic track cyclist – 2004 and 2008 games) who agreed to give me some advice on my standing start. Instead of dragging my track bike from Hawaii to Nebraska and back to LA I shipped it to the track before I left and had to quickly throw it all together to get the most use out of the 8-10am Elite training time slot. Sharing the track with only 2-3 other riders (1 Olympian, and 2 US national team members)¬†was pretty cool! After riding re-familiarizing myself with riding around a velodrome Giddeon had me do one start to see how bad I was. Sure enough, it wasn’t pretty, but hey, you’ve got to start somewhere! He explained to me what I was doing wrong and what I needed to do right, then did a start which I filmed and watched back in slow motion together. After that I did a few more starts aiming for correct technique. Not perfect, but now I’ve got something to work on before Elite Nats in August!

After my track time was up I drove south to visit the Oakley HQ at Foothills Ranch. I met a couple Chinese guys that work for Trek in Beijing outside the entrance so we took some photos of each other. I was hoping to get on a factory tour but that would have conflicted with my evening track session. I had to suffice with a look around the entrance and lobby, which was still cool as the building it definitely one of a kind. I also managed to do a walk-in warranty of some M-Frame lenses which had cracked so that made up for paying a few tolls on the highway!… Which reminds me, it is nice to drip at 80+mph on smooth highways with NO POTHOLES. We need to get the contractors that do CA roads to come and fix O’ahu’s roads!

In the afternoon I inhaled some lunch before heading back to the track to ride from 5-9pm. They had a “racer” session from 4-7 geared towards riders interested in racing vs. just getting the velodrome experience. From 7-9 is Roger Young’s session. Both are run by Roger who has competed in the Olympics, won Gold at the Pan Am Games, and coached numerous Olympic track teams. The 7-9 session is structured and split into a fast group and slower group with instructions provided by Roger over a mic while he’s riding with the slower group or towing around the fast group on the moto. This all happens with music blasting in the background. It’s a pretty unique experience and I wish we had something like this here in Hawaii! The closer we got to 9pm my legs were increasingly fried due to the amount of time I’d spent at the track. You can ride a bike all you want, but riding on a velodrome requires slightly different muscles, plus throw in the fact that you’re riding at high cadence without a break and you’re body will start to break down!

On Friday morning I really didn’t feel like going back to the track. The prior days travel between 4 states and a few times zones with a screwed up sleep pattern had caught up with me! After lazing around for 30mins contemplating going back to sleep, I dragged my stuff out to the car and back to the track. It’s not every day that I get to ride a velodrome and I needed to make the most of the limited time I had! The last big of riding on Siberian pine wasn’t the best quality, but it was still time on the boards and I was riding up to the top railing on turns before I packed up my bike to FedEx it back to Hawaii.

It was a slightly crazy trip but a lot of fun and I made a few new friends in the cycling world. I can’t wait to go back!