Peg's Pre-Nationals Preparations

By Peg Labiuk | 10/31/12
Peg's Pre-Nationals Preparations

Photo: Masters Track National Champions Peg Labiuk (L) and Marilyn Trout (R)

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The following article was written by Peg Labiuk (nee Peggy Maass), a colleague of Marilyn Trout, and a certified NCCP level 3 coach with a career in international road and track racing. She is a World Championship medalist, World Record holder, U.S. Olympic Team member, former British national team coach and Kreb's Cycle co-founder (British Columbia, Canada). Those who have plenty of racing under their belts will identify with this article, and any cyclists that are looking to step their game up to the next level will hopefully get some great pointers.

Pre Race Preparations for the 2012 Masters Track National Championships                 

The first obstacles that I had to overcome were technical.  I had to get the correct license and register for the event.  There were difficulties but finally I was able to obtain a Canadian resident UCI Licence with “American” citizenship.  Tom Mahoney at USA Cycling was also helpful in completing the registration process which I couldn’t do on-line due to my unusual license situation.  It was a reminder of the politics in sport.  I then solicited the help of a local commissaire to ensure that my bike would be legal to UCI Standards should it be checked.  Since I am only 5’2”, I’d be requesting a morphological exemption to the minimum seat set-back rule.  (It requires the nose of the seat be at least 5 cm behind the center of the bottom bracket.  I ride at 2.5 cm behind.)  At the event, the bike easily passed.  Bikes were checked for weight as well and we chortled as they heaved ours up to the scale before each race with a few grunts and comments.

The next obstacle was Pacific Northwest weather.  Too many track racing sessions were cancelled due to wet conditions.  Even my last track session was ridden in long sleeves and knee warmers.  Fortunately, I like hot weather and the first 4 days in Colorado were only in the 80’s in the morning track sessions.  Where it hurt was in lack of tactical racing experience.  Although I rode aggressively, I could think of better tactical moves after the Points and Scratch Races were over.  Where it was beneficial was due to the specific indoor sessions I logged instead, I was confident of the pace I could sustain for the 2k Individual Pursuit, 3k Team Pursuit, 500 m TT, and 2 lap Team Sprint events.  

The third obstacle was work.  Marilyn could commiserate with me about how hard it was to do physical work (lawn maintenance and landscaping), drag ourselves out for training, and keep going.  I felt tired for weeks and was worried I might not peak.  A goal was to be able to do 5 days of training in a row to mimic the Nationals.  I was able to do that just once.  I had to rest more days to ensure I was recovered enough before I flew out.

Day 1 -  Marilyn begins with the flying 200 m and match sprints.  I flew in that evening.

Day 2 - I was very nervous for the first event.  As fate would have it, I was the very first event, and the very first heat at 8 AM.  The track opened at 6 AM for warm-up so I had time to feel at home on the black line again.  It was also nice that we each got to do an event alone before the two of us had to prep for the same event.  I did the Individual Pursuit on my 20+ yr old Serrotta with a rear disc and deep dish front, sawed off tri bars, aero helmet, shoe covers, and new SageRiders skinsuit.  My starts were good and I stayed low on the track.  I was surprised when I saw my chase rider in the second lap.  I had to pass coming out of the second turn, going extra wide as she was riding up to the red line.  That cost me some time so I figure I was on target for my goal of a 2:45 for 2 km when I clocked a 2:46.  I wasn’t getting lap times or looking at my Garmin, so I was delighted when I found out my time back at the infield tent.  It was good for the silver so that was a fine start.

Day 3 - We were both doing the 500 m.  This was also a morning session but we had time to ride road bikes over and warm-up.  I had a glitch when the borrowed bike’s rear skewer didn’t fit into the borrowed trainer, something I hadn’t anticipated.   Fortunately, I remembered I had packed a spare skewer and it worked.  My husband, whose motto is “It never hurts to have a spare”, would be justified.  I was still nervous for this event but felt my training was sufficient.  I did go faster than in the pursuit, but only fast enough for 4th place.  Here at the Master’s Nationals, that is still podium, as they decorate the top 5.

Day 4  - Points Race.  This was our first afternoon event dealing with heat, altitude, and dryness in our longest race (10K, 30 laps).  Cottonmouth is shocking.  I felt pretty shaky but kept the pressure on after each sprint and was able to lap the other riders with Annette Williams.  I wasn’t able to get away from her however, and came 2nd again.

Day 5 - Scratch Race  We had an attack plan and executed it well, but the race was shorter and no one else wanted to get away so we finished in a strung-out sprint with me in 3rd, Marilyn 5th.   After this race we went home and iced our legs in a garbage can filled with ice water.  That was a really good thing to do.

Day 6 - Team Pursuit.  We were delighted that mentor Charlotte Miller agreed to do the Team Pursuit with us.  This is the event I was most excited about since the exchanges are fun and it’s a new Olympic event.  We went to the track early to get some practice in together.  I was feeling really good.  Unfortunately, Marilyn wasn’t feeling as good.  I needed to modify to keep the team together.  Since I had created a gap going out too fast, I pulled some extra laps for my teammates.  We finished 10 seconds faster than our competition and won the National Title.  Mission accomplished. 

The next event was the Team Sprint.  I was eager for this one since I knew Marilyn’s start would set me up and I could give everything in the final lap.  I was glued to her wheel just out of the first turn and watched to unleash on the homestraight when she pulled off.  Boy that felt good.  It would have been nice to place higher, but we were in competition with younger riders , one of whom just set a new age group World Record in the flying 200m.  So, 4th place podium it was.

We endured the heat to wait for the medal ceremony and donned our Stars and Stripes.  Back at Marilyn’s home we took a few more photos to document the feat.  

Proven winners. 


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