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15th Apr 2013Posted in: Blog 0
Team Pursuit Recap

There is no better way to display collective strength, coordination, and precision than a team time trial.  That is exactly what we set out to do in our last Team Pursuit run. With feelings of ambivalence towards the outcomes of both ITTs and Miss N’ Out, we knew we had to approach this event in a highly disciplined manner.

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“Swooping”

SMOOTH—is the word we used in the days and hours leading up to our 5:00PM run against the clock. We were the only team on the track as our scheduled opponents, Delta Tau Delta, opted to compete with the IU Cycling Club at regionals.  This was the perfect test run to assess the smoothness of the Laser to Kragie to Anderson to Green pace line with each of us working at the front for a full lap. There was a decent amount of wind blowing sporadically throughout the late afternoon so we decided to trade pulls coming out of turn 4.

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The well-oiled machine

The tail wind in the front stretch really helped the rider pulling off the front to recover and get back on the pain train. Anderson did a suicide pull around lap 12 and jumped off before Laser, Green, and I finished in a respectable time of 9:02. Later on, after Cutters v. Black Key Bulls battle, we knew two things: 1) We landed a spot in the finals and 2) the Cutters did what they needed to do to secure the white jersey on race day.

As we warmed up for the finals at 8:36, a feeling of calmness surrounded the four of us. We knew what we had to do and we knew how to do it. With a successful first run, we decided to recreate it with one exception—go even faster. After running a route like NFL tight ends and “swooping” onto our bikes, we were off and running with Laser getting us up to speed nicely.  Once settled in, there was nothing to do but let the Beta machine go to work.  Our friend Miles Johnson of Phi Kappa Psi was yelling to us as our lead against the Cutters increased lap after lap.  We were comfortable, and we knew we were going to win if we stayed smooth.

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Laser finishing strong

Anderson gave us another monster effort at the front before exiting around lap 12 at which point the Cutters’ scent was strong—only a straightaway’s distance from us.  I got to the front with 1.5 laps to go and instead of pulling off in turn 4 as we had been doing I yelled “HANG ON” and heard Green (2nd wheel) say “HANG ON LASER” before pushing it hard through the front stretch. I put my head down as we prepared to round turn 2 and saw my teammates’ shadows fanning out behind me in perfect form.  Just like that we turned a comfortable and smooth 8 minutes and 49 seconds to win Team Pursuit.

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Kragie and Green after the W

Anderson said once during our Panama City Beach training trip, “there are few things in the world more enjoyable than a well-run pace line.” Both of our runs on Saturday were the result of diligent practice and riding each other’s wheels for hours on end. We said almost nothing to each other for the duration of that final ride. The silent understanding between the four of us is a powerful tool that we have sharpened over time and it will serve us well in 5 short days as we enter the 63rd running of the Men’s Little 500.

All in all, the finals of Team Pursuit was yet another chapter written in the stories of the Cutters and the Betas. Together we are “gentlemen bike racers” as Depasse once put it. Our mutual respect stems from the passion surrounding this race. I will never forget Jim Kirkham and Jason Fowler yelling at our team to GO GO GO against their own guys under the lights during that one Saturday night in April…

in _kai_
William Kragie
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