South Bend and the Velodrome
19th Jun 2012Posted in: Blog 0
South Bend and the Velodrome

Throwback kit on the velodrome

After a disappointing weekend of racing up in Chicago and more mediocrity at the Speedway Crit last Friday, I decided to switch things up a little bit.  Working in Indianapolis this summer and living on Butler’s campus, I’m less than a mile from the Major Taylor Velodrome, and have been utilizing that proximity to the fullest.  Track cycling is definitely an entirely different beast from road races and criteriums, but I’m already seeing a ton of parallels to Little 5 and have had some pretty solid results thus far.  It’s been quite a learning experience discovering all the nuances of gear ratios, crank length, and just general strategy that come into play, but I’m confident the new fitness I’m picking up will translate well to the cinders (if I decide to hang around for the 2013 race).

This past weekend was the Subaru Race the Bend Challenge Series in South Bend.  Erik Kiser (’10) and Will Kragie (’13) rolled in from Chicago for a solid couple days of racing and hanging out at my lakehouse.  Saturday’s course through Howard Park had a special place in my cycling heart, as I won my first 4’s race there just over a year ago.  In the 3/4’s race Kiser and Kragie were at the front pretty much the entire race, keeping great position and racing smart.  

Kiser eyes the 3/4 field

Kragie’s streak of bad luck continued, unfortunately, when his rear derailleur met the front wheel of another rider with less than 5 laps to go, ending his race.  Kiser was also disrupted by a late crash, but still managed to fight his way through traffic to take 10th.  Keeping the bad omens going, just as their race was finishing up, a torrential downpour opened up and temporarily suspended our race.  By the time we got to the start line we had all pretty much lost our warmup, so I knew it was going to be an interesting race.  I was able to maintain pretty good position and felt like I raced within my abilities, but still am not even a little bit used to the mass chaos that accompanies the end of a race with the big guys.  No result to write home about, but a good learning experience.

“America” -Erik Kiser

We headed back to my place on Wawasee for some good old fashioned chilling on the pier and a wonderful summer meal.  After dinner we decided to take a journey by boat to visit the Chamness clan, both to hang out with Chuck (’85)/Charlie (’15) and our wonderful athletic director, Fred Glass.  After many Beta brews and a lengthy explanation behind the now-infamous “homie don’t play that” comment (regarding Calipari’s refusal to play our Hoosiers this year), we headed to the classiest establishment in Indiana: the Frog.  I’ll spare details, but all I need to say is that Kragie did the splits on the dance floor.

The next morning we headed off to downtown South Bend for round 2 of the Challenge.  Given our lackluster day on Saturday, we were anxious to get out there and get some better results.  Things got off to a rocky start in the 3/4’s race, where Kiser somehow managed to flat both of his tires in the same turn but still not cause any major damage to himself or the field.  That left Kragie as our only hope, and he delivered pretty solidly.  A break was away for almost the entire race, but Kragie and some others were able to work together to bring it back with just a few laps to go.  As soon as that break was caught though, a rider took a gutsy move and was able to stay away for the win.  Kragie ended up a solid 7th, 1st among the Cat 4’s, and impressive yet again in his first summer of racing.  In the 1/2/3 I had decent legs for the first time all summer and was able to help control things with my Racing for Riley teammates.


Towards the end of the race a group of 2 riders rolled off the front and was able to get about a 20 second gap, so with 12 laps to go I decided to try and bridge.  I figured I’d get some help, but after drilling it for half a lap I realized I was all by myself in no man’s land.  Memories of Mass Ave 2011 came rushing back, and I knew it was time to get my emotions under control and keep a steady pace for as long as I could.  The laps went by and the time gaps kept getting larger, so I knew my teammates must have been helping me out back in the peloton.  Just when I had settled into my rhythm and pushed through most of the pain, the announcer loudly proclaimed “he’s got 3rd place locked up!” with 3 laps to go.  From there, it was all downhill.  Losing focus for just a brief moment started the unraveling, but I still hung on knowing how big of a result this would be for myself and my team.  2 to go, still clear.  1 to go, still clear.  But of course, with less than half a lap to go , the Bissell-Nuvo leadout train blew by me with the peloton in tow, leaving me with nothing but a lot of lactic acid and a pretty cool power file.  That’s bike racing!

Looking ahead, I’m excited to be racing my first “Fast Friday” at the velodrome on Friday, and even more stoked for Saturday’s World Championships of Cycling: The B-town Crit.  If my work schedule permits I’ll be up at the Tour of America’s Dairyland next weekend, and then we’ll see where the summer goes from there.  I’m feeling good about the results and Strava rides our team has been posting, and am anxious to see what we can accomplish in these next few months.  Stay tuned to the blog to find out!

in _kai_
Eric Anderson


Leave a Reply