Keirin State Championship
Northbrook Velodrome
Thursday, August 8th, 2013
by: Kelly Clarke

Last night, I drove out to the Northbrook Velodrome with new teammate, Nate Miller, to try some racing on the track. Thursday night racing goes from 6:45PM-10pm, and you usually get to race 3-4 times.

Belgian Win And Out
The race: There’s a neutral lap, then you start. When they ring the bell, the next person to cross the finish line gets fifth place and is done racing. Then the next lap, the first person to cross the finish line gets fourth and they’re done, and so on. So you can kind of choose what place you want to go for, and if you wait too long, you might miss out on placing altogether.

My race: We had six Women 4s racing, so instead of 5 places, we only did 4. I decided to go for fourth, because all the ladies had more experience than me, and I’d rather get A place than nothing at all. So I kicked it up around turn two, but coming into turn three, a woman came around me fast. I sped up a little, but not much. Sooo, I decided to try for third. This time I waited a little longer to start the sprint. I went in the third turn and sprinted as hard as I could. I don’t think anyone contested, but I got it. Yay! My first track result where I am not DFL.

The race: Standing starts. You draw straws for placement on the track – One being closest to the center. Gun goes off as motorcycle comes around. You start and fight for position behind the moto. The moto paces you for a coule laps, slowly increasing the speed, and lets you off with 1.5 laps left.


The moto. Photo taken from ERVelo site.

My race: I drew 5th, so I was more to the outside of the track. Nate held my bike, because we had practiced it on Tuesday night. I am terrified of standing starts. I got some good tips at the Tuesday night practice, though, so I was a little more confident than usual.

Tips: Look ahead! Being in your drops is the sign you’re ready to go, so don’t get in your drops until you’re situated. If it’s a count down, on three get out of the saddle. Always start out of the saddle with pressure on the pedals. If you start with your weight back past the saddle and push forward, that can help, too. You pull up hard on the handlebars as you push down on your pedals.


Standing start. Photo by Rod.

Right before the gun went off I leaned to the left. My left shoe came unclipped. The gun went off and I couldn’t get my pedal in until the second turn. I was sitting in last place. One girl came up to the right of the group, so I snuck up behind her. It was a super fast pace and everyone jumped as the motorcycle pulled off. I was not ready for it. I ended up spending a lot of energy just to get back up near the group. I finished last, but it was a great experience. That race was fast!

Kristen Meshberg got second in her Kierin (first for IL residents, so she won the jersey). Nate Miller got fifth, after getting third in a preliminary heat. It was his first time on the podium!


3 Lap Scratch
The race: This was just 3 laps and done. No neutral lap, no points or other rules.

My race: I really just didn’t want to get last. My first time at the track, I got last in every event I did. We started, and I wanted to be conservative and stick on a wheel, because usually I just go out front and waste all my energy. I felt really unprepared on the first lap. On the second lap, after the first turn, I came from the back of the group and got on the front. Pretty quickly other gals were making moves and I was trying really hard just to hang on. Into the first corner on the bell lap I thought about giving up – there was a decent gap forming in front of me. But everyone slowed just before the third turn, so I started digging in and caught one girl at the finish. Fifth place. Not last.

Kristen got first. Nate got fifth (in a much larger field than mine).

Conclusion: I won $7. Nate and Kristen looked super strong, and it’s lots of fun watching them race. The Cuttin Crew Girls are all awesome. Everytime I go out to Northbrook I feel a little more comfortable. I still know that on sprints I am not going 100% all out, because I get scared about losing control on the track. But I am much better about getting out of my saddle, and watching for when the field is going to jump. Track is hard, and it can be frustrating, but you always learn a lot. And I think that will translate to other forms of racing. I look forward to getting more and more comfortable, so I can be aggessive in races, in a smart way.

Here’s a cool video Lucas made at a Monday Night clinic at this velodrome.

And here’s a report from Kristen’s National Track races this past weekend!!! (She did kind of awesome).