Thursday, July 2, 2009

Oregonians in the thick of it at Junior Track Nationals in California

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

By Jon Prettyman

The Oregon contingent at the first day of the USA Cycling Junior Track National Championships in Carson, California, started with three Alpenrose riders and one guest: Erin Popovich (Matrix RBM), who has been training at Alpenrose the past few weeks, joined Beaverton Bicycle Club's Dan Birman, Grant McElroy and Joe Prettyman.

Joe finished the sprint qualification in tenth place. Starting in the twelfth heat, he turned in a respectable 12.591 in the flying 200M, putting him at the third fastest time at that point. Only eight riders would qualify for the match sprint semi-finals though, and he found himself eventually bumped out of the top eight by the final two riders on the day.

Grant was in the first heat of the 500M TT, and after his opponent had a false start, he finished with a 43.19. As the rest of the field continued with a number of false starts, Grant's time held up as fastest until the final two racers, who were bronze and silver medalists at last year's finals. After the final times came in, Grant ended up in third, qualifying him for omnium points and a bronze medal.

Finishing up the morning session, Erin Popovich finished ninth in the 17-18 500K TT with a 41.515.

The evening session started with Dan Birman finishing second in his qualifying heat for the 16-18 Kieren.

Erin Popovich was back for an evening 30 lap scratch race. She raced aggressively, attacking frequently. Unfortunately, a shakey last lap left her finishing toward the back of the pack.

The final race of the night was the men's 16-18 Kieren. Dan took third wheel off the motor in a field of six. As the motor left, Dan held the middle of the field, falling into fourth. In the final sprint, Dan held his position, taking the fourth place spot.

All in all, a good first day for Oregon and BBC. Grant says it feels like we've been here forever, but it's just been one day of racing!

(Photos courtesy of Jon Prettyman)