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11th Apr 2013Posted in: Blog 0
Spring Series Thus Far

Through the first two events of the spring series, spirits are still high and we’re more excited than ever about our chances on April 20th.

ITTs kicked things off last Wednesday.  All 4 of us veterans had been in the top 10 at some point in our Little 500 careers, so we were hoping to get at least 3 of us in there once again.

Laser started off the “power hour” by beating his times from 2011 (2:28.76) and 2012 (2:27.16) with a 2:26.72.  Seeing him throw down got me fired up, and I was able to channel all that emotion into a 2:26.14, my fastest time ever.

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Laser flies through turn 3

Green was up next, hoping to keep the speed going, but was a little too fired up and set out on a blistering pace that he couldn’t maintain, finishing in 2:30.31.  Kragie was up next, knowing he needed to throw down to score us some points, but also went out a little too hot and came in with a 2:27.92.  All in all we ended up placing 6th, 7th, 11th, and 22nd.  We weren’t thrilled with our times or places, but it was a definite confidence booster knowing that Laser and I were able to shake off our less than ideal 2011 placings (21st and 23rd) and step up on a night where Kragie and Green weren’t feeling it.  Our rookies also gained valuable experience battling the wind and learning how to push themselves, which will definitely pay off come 2014.

We trailed the Cutters by only 2 points in the white jersey competition heading into Miss ‘n Out, so we knew we needed to do well.  The brackets didn’t shake out well in our favor, with almost all of us on the right side of things, but we weren’t going to let that discourage us.

All five of us veterans were able to advance out of our first round heats with relative ease, although due to no-shows some had dramatically shorter heats than others.  Things got a little more interesting in the quarterfinals, which essentially turn into ITTs as they’re only 4 laps long.  Green was able to go straight to the front and dominate his heat.  Chris Craig tried to make a move around the outside after the first sprint, but with his low seeding and a dry track it was just too difficult and he was eliminated.  Kragie and Laser were in the same heat, and worked out a strategy beforehand, but unfortunately got swarmed on the backstretch.  This left Laser boxed in, leading to a disappointing early exit.  Kragie was also forced to do a ton of work and fight his way through the pack, but ultimately advanced.  My heat was pretty straightforward, as I just pulled every lap.

Green was battling some allergies/asthma all day, and was coughing up so much mucus that he actually puked before his semifinal heat.  Certainly not ideal, but if there’s one thing Green knows it’s how to race a bicycle.  Despite being the 2nd worst seed in his heat, he was able to expertly navigate the pack and found himself in the final five.  The breathing issues caught up to him on the backstretch, however, and he was eliminated.  Semi #2 featured Kragie and myself in addition to 2 of the Cutters’ best riders, so we knew we were in for a showdown.

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Survive and Advance

Kragie and I over thought things a little bit on the first lap and found ourselves completely boxed in, complete with me muttering some choice words under my breath, but miraculously managed to squeeze our front wheels in position to avoid elimination.   From there on I squeezed my way to the front and Kragie was able to come around the outside, leaving us in position to dictate the pace for the last few laps.  This proved to be an enormous advantage, as I was able to move over and let Kragie in on 2 consecutive sprints.  On the last lap, we were just full throttle and advanced with enough of an advantage to celebrate at the line.  Probably Definitely premature, but after thinking we were completely screwed it was quite a relief to be moving on to the finals.

We headed into the finals where it was once again 2 Cutters and 2 Betas, with Brian Arfmann from Sigma Chi and Brice Brookshire from Sigma Nu rounding out the 6-man heat.  At that point we were even on points with the Cutters on the day, so the white jersey competition would basically be decided by who placed higher in the finals.  Unfortunately for Kragie and me, the Cutters earned the top 2 spots by virtue of their 1-2 ITT finish, so we had our work cut out for us from the start.

The Final Six

The Final Six

We stayed 4 wide through the pace lap before hitting the line approaching 30 MPH.  I tried to make a move to get around the Cutters and take the lead, but was only able to get around Nixon.  I rode Depasse’s hip all the way around the track, but with a loose track and an escalating headwind I was pretty fried by the time we hit the line.  Kragie was able to survive the first round as well, but Brice put in an excellent attack that left us all gasping for air.  We both tried to get back on, but the cumulative effects of a long day in the heat and humidity set in and dumpster legs kept us from getting in the necessary positions.  Adding insult to injury, Kragie and I both sat up thinking the other would have better legs, effectively eliminating us both in 4th and 5th position.

With the Cutters taking 1st and 2nd in Miss ‘n Out, we trail them by 8 points heading into Team Pursuit on Saturday.  This means that we will need to beat them by at least 2 places in order to win the white jersey, certainly a tall order now that Delta Tau Delta have removed themselves from the event in favor of attending Collegiate Regionals at Purdue.  Regardless of the white jersey implications, this is an event we’ve had circled since our disappointing 3rd place finish last year and we will be looking to throw down a fast run.

Be sure to keep up with the team on Facebook and Twitter as April 20th comes closer and closer!

in _kai_
Eric Anderson
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