Team Pursuit Recap and Race Day Preview
22nd Apr 2014Posted in: Blog, Featured Posts 0
Team Pursuit Recap and Race Day Preview

It’s no secret that team pursuit is my favorite event of the spring series.  Our 8:49 last year is still probably the coolest experience I’ve ever been a part of, and to this day I struggle to put that night into words.  We had wanted to win that event badly for years, and finally pulling it off last year was a huge accomplishment that gave us enormous momentum heading into race day.  This year, however, the guys approached the event with no real expectations heading in.  Our 2013 squad practiced team pursuit runs at least twice a week – Chris, Kyle, Joe, and AJ had never even laid the bikes down on the track prior to the event.  The goals were simply to keep it clean and leave it all on the track, and I’m pleased to say that both of those things happened.

Dialed In

Dialed In

All four of the guys were completely dialed in all day, which was great to see after the success that Chris and Kyle had the previous day at Miss ‘n Out.  After a solid warmup, they lined the bikes up and waited for the horn to sound.  It was pretty bizarre seeing everything set up and not wearing a skinsuit for the first time in 5 years, but like with everything all year, I’ve learned that you feel almost all the emotions of a rider when coaching.  The guys looked like veterans getting on the bikes and ramping up the speed, and were just a few seconds behind the all-veteran Phi Delt team through the first lap.  AJ ripped off a monster pull to keep it hot, and they were ahead of where I expected them to be through 2 laps.

Inexperience started to show through shortly thereafter, however, and after a few more laps the Phi Delts were closing the gap and we were down to only 3 riders.  Even as they could hear the Phi Delt crowd roaring louder and louder each lap, the guys stayed within themselves and kept the pace consistent.  With 4 laps to go they were only 4 or 5 seconds away from being caught, but then Kyle and Joe just took over and were actually able to ramp up the pace.  Phi Delt lost their 4th rider, and suddenly the catch which appeared all but certain was now looking less and less likely.  The last 3 laps were a true display of grit, and after executing a textbook finish, our guys stopped the clock in 9:34.44, just 7 seconds off Phi Delt.  BKB would go on to win the event in 9:16.31, claiming the spring series competition and the white jersey that accompanies it.

Knight leads through turn 3

Knight leads through turn 3

Our 6th place finish wrapped up an unbelievable 3rd place overall finish in the spring series, a feat which I don’t think anyone foresaw a few weeks ago except for the 5 of us.  Four rookies throwing up that kind of result is absolutely unheard of, and I could not be more proud of the guys.  All four of them posted stellar results throughout, and heading into race day their confidence is at an all-time high.  Chris winning ITTs and MNO was huge, and I’m stoked to watch them throw down this weekend.

All the pieces are falling into place at just the right time, and now all that’s left to do is put some finishing touches on the race bikes and hope the taper goes according to plan.  I told the guys back in August that if they bought into the program and put the work in, there’s no reason they couldn’t be competitive on April 26th.  Well, here we are just 4 days out, and I don’t think there are any teams out there writing us off as a bunch of rookies anymore.  I half-jokingly busted out this Gandhi quote in the fall, and watching it come to fruition so far has been thoroughly entertaining:

First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”

The first 3 have definitely already come true, we’ll find out about the 4th on Saturday.

If you haven’t already, be sure to register for the 50th anniversary celebration being held Friday night at 6 PM.  Additionally, we’re still a little behind on donations, so any support you can throw our way would be greatly appreciated!

Coaching these guys and watching them turn into legitimate bike racers over the past year has been one of the most amazing experiences of my life. I hope you’re all as excited as I am for what will certainly be one of the most wide-open races in recent memory. If we play our cards right, I’m confident it will be another historic day for Beta Theta Pi.

in _kai_
Eric Anderson

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