This blog documents the racing, training, & riding experiences of the participants of PWP

Pedaling with a Purpose

My name is Kristen Meshberg and I am a former category 1 bike racer. I competed nationally in both road and track. I am a USA Cycling Coach, and help individuals develop plans to achieve their goals. To survive the Chicago winter, I developed an indoor workout program called "Pedaling with a Purpose."

I now have various locations across the United States. To find out more about Pedaling with a Purpose or Coaching, email Kristen at: kmesh.pwp@gmail.com

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Master's Track Nationals July 30-Aug 4 Indianapolis, IN

After competing at Elite Nationals last year, I decided I wanted to take track seriously and really train for it and learn how to do it right.  Yes there's cross-over between road and track and doing the weekly racing at your local velodrome is awesome crit training, but competing nationally is completely different.   Everything  from the "scene" to the training to the specific technicalities of each event, including the equipment needed was so foreign to a roadie like me.  This year I've been working with a track specific coach and have been putting in some serious effort.  I picked master's nationals as my one focus for the year because it was in Indianapolis, IN, and would not require a plane ticket.

The kids went to my parents for the week.  Their week involved hanging out on my brother's farm, showing Jersey dairy cows at the 4-H fair with their cousins, feeding calves,  playing with kittens and catching minnows and crawfish in the creek.

Jason had to work so he took the megabus down on Thursday night which happened to be the best stroke of luck.  My new Zipp wheels showed up on Wednesday (I left on Tuesday) and Jason was able to glue them up and bring them down on the megabus.  Thank you so much to SRAM/Zipp for making this happen!!  They are super awesome, and definitely the nicest wheels I've ever ridden.

These wheels are worth more than my car  

My #1 goal was to come home with a national championship jersey and I was going to try for it in 6 events.   While I did not reach this goal, I did a lot better than I would have last year at this time, and came home with 4 second places, 1 third, and 1 fourth.  The 333 meter concrete track in Indy is awesome!  I felt really comfortable there and would love to come back for more racing there.

Tuesday:  Points Race
I am most experienced in mass start events as that's the kind of thing I've been racing at Northbrook for 14 years.  They are also the only kind of races where I've had any serious cycling injuries.  The points race was the first race of the week for me and I'd be lying if I didn't admit I was pretty nervous.  There was no time to get on the track before my event so the first time I put wheels down on the track was at the start of the race.  I took the first sprint and managed to get points in every one.  I did a good job at keeping track of the math and knew the race hinged on the final sprint between me and a rider from Georgia.  She and another rider started to lead it out and when I tried to get in position I got freaked out by another rider and completely backed off.  It really wasn't anything sketchy and had I been aggressive it would have (maybe) been fine.  I was mad at myself for lacking confidence but I finished the race upright and able to compete the rest of the week. And I got a second place at a Masters's nationals.
       Points race podium

Wednesday: Scratch Race
The scratch race is my favorite race which made it all the more sad when I screwed it up.  Because of the points race the day before me and the other rider who got most of the points were watching each other and we let a rider from Texas go.   Turned out  she was an awesome time trialist and we never saw her again. We finally chased but it was too late.  I ended up third and was very bummed with this result.  

Thursday:  Day off  
Jason took the bus down after work and got to hang out with me for the rest of the weekend!  We had a really good time and it was cool for me to have full support.

Friday:  Individual Pursuit
Time trialing does not come naturally to me and I have worked very hard on this event.  Before today, every other time in my life where I've done a standing start I've completely botched it.  Today I nailed it!  And I was faster than we had anticipated.  I was thrilled!!  I definitely gave my best effort.   The Texas rider that got away in the scratch race was faster, but I took second.  

All  ready to TT

Saturday:  Time Trial (500 meters)
This is a sprint event, and to be good at sprint events you really need to specialize.  I am an endurance rider, but decided to jump in and do it since I was there.  I loved it!  It was fitting that Dee Dee Scadron who is a former master's world champion in this event and now a USA Cycling official was my official at the start line.  I gave this my best effort, nailed the start again (!) but know exactly what I need to work on if I want to be a sprinter.  It was super fun going that fast, but only good enough for fourth place.  

Sunday:  Team Pursuit and Team Sprint
Ever since watching Sarah Hammer, Dotsie Bausch, and Jennie Reed do the team pursuit at Elite Nationals in Los Angeles, I've wanted to do this event. They went on to earn a Silver medal in the 2012 olympics.   My teammate Stacy and I had planned on doing it with another Chicago rider (and PWP'er) Dena Eaton, but Dena ended up having to unexpectedly move across the country for work literally weeks before  the event.  Luckily Stacy's teammate on the road, Jane Vanni-Noone who lives in Indianapolis was able to do it with us.  Our practice for the event consisted of 30 minutes during open track time the morning of our event.  Given our lack of knowledge about each other, we did really great.  We ended up second.

Dena and I had also planned to do the team sprint as well, so Jane graciously offered to fill in again.  Neither of us being sprinters, we actually nailed it, did the best we could and finished second!  We were happy with this result.  

In conclusion, it was super cool to see in person all the other Chicago/Midwest riders that I've known for years but never actually seen competing at their specialized events.  There were bitter disappointments and thrilling victories.  Lovely to meet Jane and all the awesome people in Indianapolis.  I felt a world of difference in my preparedness and gave it my best effort.  Luckily I love training and working hard........ !

I'll end with one of the best victories of the weekend:  The men's 35+ team sprint with Robbie Higgins riding with my Garner Teammates Jason Garner and Jeff Whiteman:

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