Posted by: Dana | August 16, 2010

New England Track Championship – Race Recap by Ivy Luhrs

Now is the winter of our discontent…Made glorious Summer by this Daughter of Suffolk;  And all the clouds that low’r’d upon our house In the deep bosom of mine furry head buried deep within the stem of my black Zipp wheeled fixed gear horse .

I’ve spent two years being away from the track and for me this weekend felt like I was back in elementary school after having been out for nearly 2-1/2 weeks with bronchial pneumonia during second grade. I was happy to be back, but I felt lost and out of place. Even the track had changed, the owners had changed, the rules at the venue itself had changed…and now they had decided to paint new lines that brought the pole line out from it’s original position. So all the old lines I used to take two years ago were now a thing of the past and I had no practice time there since. So I used the Marine motto; “Improvise, Adapt & Overcome”  and tried to do my best. The first race was the Flying 200 meter TT, this is a race of two laps. During the first lap you are building yourself up to speed to set up for the bell lap where you need to be nearly at full or close to top speed…..when you are near the 200 meter mark you need to uncork the rest of your strength and do a lung searing sprint over those final 200 meters at full speed. Your time is taken from the 200 meters to go line to the finish. My time was ok considering I haven’t done this in two years, but I knew it wouldn’t be good enough….and I could tell my asthma was rearing it’s ugly head. It kinda set the tone for the day.

When I had raced at this track two years ago, the track was in it’s infancy, as were most of us who raced there so to speak. Sure we had track bikes – but most of didn’t have a lot of experience or a lot of money to spend on all the new speed gadgets that are used in modern track events. So we winged it with what we had and usually had a great time…things worked out well then as two years ago I won the 2008 New England Track Championship.

But at this race now in 2010 Team Luhrs had made a fatal mistake leaving some vital modern equipment at home – my aerobars set up for my track bike and my aero helmet.  Susan who read the race circular which was a bit confusing didn’t realize that only the points race, scratch race (which ended up being scratched, no pun intended), and the flying 200 were to be raced without aero equipment. That left the pursuit open to use of any and all aero equipment and mine stuff was at home. As I mentioned previously, things had changed at the track and this would wind up being a very painful error.

When it came time for the 500 meter time trial and the pursuit, I was severely handicapped. The other racers who were in my league all were set up aero, and I had no choice but to go Merckx. Anyone who tells you that the aero stuff doesn’t mean anything should have been in my place. I don’t know that I would have won that race as I haven’t practiced with my pursuit bars on the track, but I know I would have had a fighting chance. This time I had to be content with third and the bronze.

The next event was the points race. I was so upset at that point that my asthma got worse, and I had forgotten to eat due the stress, so that race resulted in a silver. After that were the finals for the sprints. To add insult to injury while I was watching the men’s points race I all of sudden became very ill, my asthma went into a full blown attack to the point where it was giving me the dry heaves. Susan ran and got me my rescue inhaler and after getting that going along with some extra water my body seemed to settle down and I decided to try and go for it in the Match sprints – what would happen would happen. I was doing ok, but during the finals, the bike just didn’t feel right for some reason that couldn’t really detect – I’m thinking it had something to with the aforementioned medical episode, LOL ‘rolls eyes’ had me in a haze. It wasn’t until after I stopped to get some water after the ride for the silver that I realized that the front tire had been slowly losing air all though the course of the day and was now semi-soft. Shrugs!!! Geezes, and these were brand new never ridden tubulars. Luckily a friend of mine helped me fix the tire later, so I didn’t have to ditch it, but the race did not give me the result I wished.  I’m just glad that I didn’t crash or cause my opponent to because of racing on a semi flat tire.

I know there is going to be somebody reading this that will say, Ivy knows better – Yes, I do, and I’m not sure what to say about that. But all this has made me realize that we need to be more organized when I want to race track; I almost feel like I need a packing checklist – aero bars packed, aero helmet packed, gearing bag packed, etc. along with a reminder to eat, to use my asthma spray proactively, etc. When you have health problems it feels sometimes along with all the equipment and my medications you wind up bringing half the house with you. I guess the fatigue of all that weekend after weekend caught up with Sue and I. But I can promise all of you it won’t happen again. I’m proud of what I wound up accomplishing, I guess I should be happy about that -but I feel as though I let the team down as well as myself because of a greenhorn mistake.

~Ivy Luhrs

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