Sunday, July 5, 2009

Junior Track Nationals: Day 3 features sprints and an Omnium silver medal

(A group of Oregon racers is competing at the USA Cycling Junior Track National Championships on the large wooden indoor LA Velodrome in southern California. Jon Prettyman, father of racer Joe Prettyman, sent Cycling Action this report from Day 3.)

By Jon Prettyman

Turning in the second fastest flying 200, Dan Birmin landed the second seed in the 17-18 sprint finals. Dan's legs looked on fire in the morning session, easily having enough spin in them to ride right through the quarter-finals with a fast win.

The semis and finals proved tougher for Dan, though. Using a best-two-out-of-three format, Dan wasn't able to hold off Colton Barrett from St Paul, MN, the eventual champion. In the finals for the bronze medal, Dan couldn't beat the top qualifier from the morning, Alan Ting from Sprint, TX. Dan walked away from nationals with two medals though, one for the sprints and one for the kieren.

Joe Prettyman found himself in a super-fast 30 lap points race qualifying heat. Unfortunately, the race was controlled by the sprinters and Joe found himself finishing strong on the final lap, but still out of the points. With eight other racers racking up points, Joe's day was done.

Grant McElroy easily won his qualifier for the longer 8K scratch race, getting a taste for the gold.

In the evening session, Grant set off with a plan to pace the leader in the omnium, Chazmichael Morales, holding his wheel for as long as possible. The race unfolded a bit differently, it appeared that Morales might have been either tired or hoping to help a teammate, his break never started. Gunnar Scheck broke first, Grant sensed it and took off on his wheel. Coming around Scheck on the final straight, Grant edged him out at the line to take the gold, earning himself a second place in the overall omnium. He will be coming home with a Gold medal (scratch race), Silver medal (Omnium), and two Bronze medals (TT and 1k scratch).

(Photos courtesy of Jon Prettyman).