Race Files: Emile’s Track Season Pt. 1
Pre-National Track Championships
Words: Emile de Rosnay
Image: Scott Robarts
This year was meant to be my last serious season, the last attempt to push my limits and sacrifice “a life.” To race at the elite level and expect results requires not just physical work but mental focus that can drain you. You feel like others (aka “civilians”) are enjoying themselves so much more than you. Every ride, everything you eat, how much you sleep, counts. There’s also feeling that at my age, with a family, and with my job, I should be doing something else. Balancing everything is difficult. But the rewards are worth it, and I have amazing support from my family and the community.
Going into the Cascade Cycling Classic, I was thinking this was my last major goal, but when I finished the time trial and did so well, my first thought was “how can I get two minutes faster?” (which would make me faster than Tom Zirbel who won the TT). These aren’t the thoughts of someone who wants to retire.
So this is how I came to focus on the 2016 elite track nationals, which are happening this September 25-26.
The first step to that was getting updated equipment, and I am lucky enough to be sponsored now by Broad Street Cycles, who have always been enthusiastic about track racing (even if it’s not a lucrative sport). The next step in that was to race BC track championships in Burnaby, and it was clear that, despite my excellent time-trial form, I wasn’t in the sort of track shape that I had been when I last raced seriously in 2013. Nevertheless, it was a valuable experience and neat to be racing in BSC colours for the first time. I was a little down with some bad performances in the omnium, but I did a ridiculous solo move in the last race in order to tell my body that it will do what I tell it to do despite the pain! Sometimes you just have to destroy yourself in order to shift your mindset.
Bonus: the day after BC track champs, I rushed from the ferry and made it to the Windsor Park crit. Clearly, despite track champs fatigue, my muscles were still wired and firing well. I won the crit for the first time since 2011—plus it was the first time I crossed the line first since 2013! And I did it by sprinting, instead of my usual breaking away. It was great to win in my new BSC kit too, in my first RR for them.
Windsor Park Sprint — Photo: Duane Martindale
Since then, my new track bike has arrived: the revamped version of the Felt TK1 which doesn’t have the bayonet fork—which is a pain for changing bars during the omnium, and the new version is apparently just as aero. I will do a review of the bike in another post. I got to try the bike on the boards this weekend at a Burnaby track camp in preparation for nationals. Riding all-out sprint efforts and motorpacing, it’s so nice at top speed on the corners, and is responsive but never twitchy. A good bike will feel fast, a great bike won’t make itself known: it’ll feel like it’s just you. I can’t wait to see what it does on a superfast track like Milton’s pan-am track this weekend.
I’d like to thank Broad Street Cycles, particularly Parker and Renny, for setting me up with an amazing bike, sweet Pearl Izumi skinsuits and my aero helmets, all of which are indispensable for high-performance events like track nationals, where every little bit helps.
I feel more motivated than ever to continue at the elite level, to improve my time-trialing next year and do more track racing.