Moscow, Russia. 5885 miles from home, just being there was sure to be an experience let alone racing at the Junior World Championships! Going into the trip I could not have been more excited, except for the flight that seemed never ending. I am completely and entirely thankful for the support from Team Specialized Racing, The Northern California Cycling Federation (NCCF), the Northern California Nevada Cycling Association (NCNCA), the Northern California Velodrome Association (NCVA), in addition to the numerous individuals who made this once in a life time experience possible.After surviving the roughly 15 hours of flights it was utterly amazing to be able to ride on one of the fastest tracks in the world along with experiencing world famous land marks such as Red Square and the Kremlin. The track in Moscow is a true 333 meter track made of Siberian Pine with banking of 11 degrees in the straights and 41 degrees in the turns. The track also features fairly short straight-aways for its size, creating very wide and smooth turns which contribute greatly to the speed of the track, along with the 10 meter width and the mid-turn, several stories drop from the rail to blue band. But enough with the geeky technical information of the track, as some are probably asleep. Just understand this track is fast. The 200m record was set here (~9.5 sec)
I was in Moscow for the points race which would be 72 laps of fast, hard, active racing with sprints every six laps and to prepare for this I spent more time than I would ever want looking at the back of my dad’s scooter helmet and back than I would like. This proved to be extremely helpful as the race averaged a brisk pace of roughly 32 miles per hour, realize that that was for 24 kilometers with sprints every 2 kilometers.
Typically in a points race, the racing starts off a bit conservative but this was throttle on from the gun. I made it my goal to stay within the top 7 or so through out the race because the only direction this race was going was forward. The way racing should be. I also planned on keeping a cool attitude for the first half, roughly, to avoid having a weak finish as the last sprint in all points races serves as the tie breaker. However with a group of four getting off the front within the first 7-10 laps and cooperating and eventually taking a lap and gain 20 points along with the points they picked up along the way. This meant having to start racing aggressively a bit sooner than planned. However with the racing being so active and most break attempts not succeeding, choosing the right time to make the aggressive moves was tricky and required patience and precision, it was a track race after all. Then with roughly 34 laps to-go I went down (only my second crash on the track in seven years, perfect timing huh?), but thankfully was able to get back in with just some wood burn. By the time I got back into the pack it was roughly 27 laps to-go and another small group was off the front, and they would soon take a lap making seven people total taking a lap. I ended up finishing in the pack at the final sprint.
Although my result was nothing extraordinary, the experience most certainly was. It was fast as hell (pardon my French), aggressive, extremely tactical, and one huge adrenaline rush, along with one big continuous fight for position, resulting in a lot of close riding, huge emphasis on close.