Sunday, December 26, 2010

Latrobe carnival.

With Rosebery being rained out my first carnival was Latrobe on boxing day. First ride was 2k handicap heat. I rode off 80m and no one behind from 40m or Marvulli on scratch caught us and we caught the front markers pretty quick. Unfortunately, some sketchy riding from the Malaysians had me having to go the long way out of a box and I just missed qualifying for the final.

Next up was my 3k wheel race heat. Had a good start and the middle marker group I was in was making ground on the quicker front makers as we dodged those who had been dropped. In the traffic I got a bit gapped off and spent a good portion of a lap trying to un "s" my "d". Just as I was about back on I realized I was towing a Malaysian up, so I swung up assuming he would pull thru, but be just pulled up and then I had to reaccelerate to get on and just after then the back markers, who I forgot about, flew by and it was too late to jump again to get on. Legs were good but I'm still figuring out the clusterfuck that is the wheel race. After that was a keirin where we all almost ended up in the grass at the top of the track, oh yeah, there's no rail/fence at the tool of the track. There is about 5m of grass then a drop off to the bench seats around the track. Anyhow, Simon van Velhooven was in my keirin as well as Leif Lampater. I put a huge gear on since I assumed Leif would go early and get it up to speed. Well he tried to, but wasn't very sneaky about it do he shut it down and we had a 7up match sprint weaving up and down the track for a lap before things got moving and that gear was too big to start up then. Some skinny kid caught Simon by surprise tho and he missed the final too.

Last race of the day for me was the scratch. Apparently I was the top seed in the B group. Not sure how they seeded me, but to be fair, I'm not an olympian, sixday star, junior world champ or many of the other impressive titles some of these blokes have, so I'll have to win my way to the A field. Since I was just on the cusp I figured that wouldn't be too hard but then I realized half of my field were SASI riders. South Australian institute of sport. The other half of the field couldn't figure out how to organize around that. SASI just sent one rider after another. At some point I took a good pull to just about reel in one of them and no one else pulled thru and a group SASI riders sat two wide blocking. Like really sitting up an no one seamed to care. Bogus.

Hoping for better luck and smarter racing on the boards at the Launceston Silverdome on Dec 27. Plus I get to ride a madison against the world champs! Ha.

Monday, December 20, 2010

For those not on facebook.

(Jorge mainly)

A photo album that will be expanding. Posting photos from my phone to the blog is currently a pain. Til I get better at technology this will have to do.

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=96415&id=1451673788&l=7856ab178b

And this news paper article is pretty over the top. It was the entire back page.

http://www.theadvocate.com.au/news/local/sport/general/the-american-mean-machine/2030943.aspx

Saturday, December 18, 2010

I'm in Tasmania!

Yeah, right?!

The most stressful part of my trip so far took place at check in at PDX. Apparently you need a visa to travel to Australia. To be honest, I still don't really know what a visa is but the nice woman from Alaska airlines in Portland checked me in to LAX after not being able to reach anyone on the phone from V Australia to inquire about the other parts of my trip. She also waved my baggage fees for my double bike box, wheel case and heavy suitcase so I wouldn't have to pay baggage twice once I, hopefully, got cleared for travel on my flights to Tasmania. After some Internet sleuthing (iPhone is now officially worth it) and phone calls to u.s. agencies, I found out that I could apply for a visa online for $20 and most are approved immediately. I'm 50/50 on having trouble entering countries with out hassle. Trinidad was a breeze, but everyone there is in a constant state of 'liming' meanwhile Canada still gives me a hard time every time I go there, eh. Luckily my visa was approved instantly, I exhaled deeply and things started to look up.

The rest of my travel experience was remarkably stress free. Aside from long layovers, which I'll take over rushing from gate to gate any day, everything was quite wonderful. I was only charged $50 excess baggage by V Australia. I found vegan food at LAX, I forgot to request a vegan meal on my flight, but the ├╝ber helpful flight staff scrounged some up for me, the Boeing 777 was a delightful aircraft complete with mini tvs in he backs of the seats in front to you packed with plenty of episodes of 'my name is earl.' I took the train to downtown Sydney on my layover to walk around, see the opera house, harass some couriers and get food before heading back to catch my flight to Launceston, Tasmania.

Quarantine in Australia and Tasmania is understandably strict, being islands with big farming industry. I was a little bummed I couldn't bring the remainder of my mixed nuts into country, nut they didn't have a problem with my surplus of clif bars. At the Launceston airport they didn't have a quarantine checkpoint but a guy with a dog that walked over and smelled the checked bags as they came thru the conveyor off the plane. It was unreasonably cute.

I was met at the airport by athlete coordinator Rick Martin and a newspaper reporter and photographer. Luckily I wasn't dressed like a bum on the plane and after a short interview and photo shoot Rick and I departed for my host's house. I just assumed that I was staying in Launceston, the 2nd largest city in tassie, but instead I found out that my hosts lived an hour away in Devonport, which means I had to cancel my massage for the next day in Launceston. Devonport is a cute smaller town but not sure how much trouble there is to get into here. I am staying with the Minehan family. Sam, their older boy at 17,
races bikes so I have a ride to all the races while I'm here. The Minehan's are super nice and accommodating. We are only a few blocks away from the Devonport track which holds the only two day carnival.

My second day we went to the Silverdome in Launceston for what I thought was going to just be a training session but instead there was racing that night. My body was definitely not ready for that but I got to do a couple wheel races and keirins and a pretty fast scratch. My hips and butt were not happy but the track was nice. I got a massage the day after and and then the following day we went to Rosebery for the first carnival only for it to be rained out. I think I'm headed to Launceston to ride a crit today. Big carnivals start on boxing day!