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Sarah Hammer, two time World Champion

Bigger, Stronger, Faster for 2009!

By:
Cycling News
Published:
January 29, 2009, 0:00 GMT,
Updated:
April 22, 2009, 20:17 BST

This New Year holds many new changes for me: A new team, improvements upon my performance group and,...

January 29, 2009

This New Year holds many new changes for me: A new team, improvements upon my performance group and, most importantly, a clean bill of health with my back. As I close a very taxing chapter in my life entitled 2008, I now can now confidently and positively look back on it as one consisting of invaluable lessons learned and one that will only make me stronger and faster as I prepare to set out on the road to London 2012. But of course I'm also looking forward to some track World Championships along the way!

To begin this New Year, I'm extremely happy to report that I'll have a new team! Hawk Relay, which is a company that supplies video relay to provide deaf and hard of hearing people with the necessary tools to achieve full telecommunications access, has come on-board with a well-funded team sponsorship. Hawk Relay, which is owned by Sam Hawk, is an extraordinary company that provides an incredible service to a community that has been historically limited with a service we all take for granted; using the telephone. It's great to be associated with a positive sponsor that makes a truly constructive impact upon society and it also really shows you how current technology can aid in bringing both the hearing and non-hearing community closer. So in short, I've got a great new sponsor for 2009!

And in addition to a new great sponsor, I'm also happy to report that I'm getting some new teammates as well. 2008 U.S. Olympian, Adam Duvendeck and Canadian Commonwealth medalist, Travis Smith, will also be flying the Hawk Relay Cycling flag. This is the first time for several years that I've had teammates so I'm looking forward to some fun upcoming team camps and training sessions where I can make the warm-up very uncomfortable for them (track sprinters hate fast warm-ups). Adding to the Pro team will be a development squad consisting of Southern California track junior cycling speedsters, Tara McCormick and Jessie Marans and U23 riders, Kristin Walker and Daniel Walker.

And besides the new team and teammates, I'm also happy to report that Andy Sparks of Empower Coaching Systems (my coach and fiancé) and I have added some mental horsepower to my performance team. In particular, one addition that I'm happy to report on is that we've brought on Neal Henderson of the Boulder Center for Sports Medicine. Neal and Andy have a very similar philosophy on training and the level of thought and effort that goes into achieving a peak athletic performance, so I'm thrilled to have a new expert added to my performance team. Welcome aboard Neal!

Of course there are many great things from 2008 that I want to keep and continuing on with me in 2009 as both a great sponsor and partner will be Felt Bicycles. The team at Felt bicycles under the leadership of Jim Felt and Bill Duehring is nothing short of astonishing. There is simply not a better company out there. The Hawk Relay Cycling team bike will be the same Felt TK1 that Taylor Phinney and I rode at the Olympics. It is the perfect track bike.

I'm currently finishing up a training camp in Nederland, Colorado so look for an upcoming diary on my Colorado mountain exploits at 9,000 ft. They have a new crazy velodrome in Boulder which I'll report on as well. For now, you can follow all the Hawk Relay Cycling team reports at www.hawkrelaycycling.com and at my website: www.sarahhammer.us.

Thanks for reading!

Sarah

How do you say Hawk Relay in Chinese?

Beijing World Cup Coaches Report

By:
Cycling News
Published:
January 17, 2009, 0:00 GMT,
Updated:
April 22, 2009, 20:17 BST

After a fairly uneventful flight on China Air, we exited the airplane to arrange a last minute...

January 17, 2009

After a fairly uneventful flight on China Air, we exited the airplane to arrange a last minute transit to our Chinese home away from home, the Holiday Inn Chang an West. As the taxi drivers literally disassembled the back of their cars to take out the seats so the bike boxes would fit, I thought: Ah, it's nice to be back in China.

As team Hawk Relay Cycling (which consisted of only Travis Smith and me for this World Cup event) readied the taxi caravan in an image that looked like something that you would NOT want to be driving behind, my thoughts went to how everything would be okay once we got to the Holiday Inn. Now my riders and colleagues both take aim at my affection for this grand hotel in Southwest Beijing, but I'm quick to note that this is not your run of the mill Holiday Inn. In America Holiday Inns are known as being nice-enough hotels with indoor pools and normal amenities. In fact, I'm very well versed with the Western variety as my first job was working at a Holiday Inn when I was 16.

Move to the other side of the globe, however, and you get a Holiday Inn experience entirely different. In short, you get a majestic turbo-charged luxury version. Bellhops that go to Chinese college to learn to be a bellhop, employees who literally memorize your room number for the whole stay after hearing it once (maybe that is not good?), Audi A6 transports for hire, a spa, pool, weight room, bar, four restaurants, two gift shops and Christmas tunes in the lobby that still play on January 16th! This is what I call living, Holiday Inn Chang an West style!

In addition to staying at our grand palace, we are also here to do a little bicycle racing. I'm happy to report that minus a little bit of a bug that Travis caught a couple weeks ago, his lead-up training to this event has gone very well. His times since we have arrived have gotten faster and faster as the days progress and I think he is well capable of achieving a top-five in the keirin and riding around a 10.3 second 200 meter time trial. The work has been done at this point, so it just moves to the execution phase of being confident and prepared on race day. He lines up for the keirin tomorrow.

The first day of racing started today (not for Travis) and we saw some great cycling performances, especially by the New Zealand team. The Chinese organizers put on a great opening act with Martial artists and the famous Chinese Olympic Cheerleaders. Not such a great night for Chinese riders, but the hometown crowd was out in force and excited none the less.

Go time tomorrow, wish us luck! Follow the action at www.hawkrealycycling.com

Signing off from the Holiday Inn Chang an West,

Andy

Getting Beijing ready for the World Cup fireworks

Back to Beijing

By:
Cycling News
Published:
January 14, 2009, 0:00 GMT,
Updated:
April 22, 2009, 20:17 BST

As I boarded Air China flight 984 for Beijing I was given ample time to reflect upon 2008 and also...

January 14, 2009

As I boarded Air China flight 984 for Beijing I was given ample time to reflect upon 2008 and also envision what 2009 holds. Boarding this flight accurately symbolizes a new year, a new team and new ambitions.

Having an injury-plagued year truly lets an athlete appreciate not only good health (when it returns) but also the fact that our athletic life span is finite. In short, we better enjoy it while we have it. Coming back from a major hip injury last year, I narrowly missed my life-long aspiration of representing Canada in the Olympic Games in Beijing . What made this shortcoming even more painful was the fact that both of my American training partners, Adam Duvendeck and Gideon Massie, headed East last August to represent their country in the world's largest track cycling spectacle.

This is a new year, however, and now that I'm healthy I'm appreciating all of my opportunities more than ever. With the support of Hawk Relay (www.hawkrelay.com), the Hawk Relay Cycling team and all of our great team sponsors, supporters and staff, I feel like I have never been better equipped to stand upon the podium.

My biggest goal for the New Year is to race the keirin with confidence and make the final in Beijing . Once I'm in the final anything can happen, but I know from my times in training that I can do well here. I'm now taking is all one step at a time, and enjoying every step along the way this New Year!

Happy New Year to all of our great Hawk Relay cycling supporters. You can follow along the Beijing World Cup action at www.hawkrelaycycling.com.

Travis Smith

Cali: Nowhere to go but up

By:
Cycling News
Published:
December 22, 2008, 0:00 GMT,
Updated:
April 21, 2009, 11:57 BST

The Cali world cup was my first race since the Olympics and it showed. With only two months of...

December 23, 2008

The Cali world cup was my first race since the Olympics and it showed. With only two months of training I found myself in marginal shape and surely rusty in the tactical events. I found the event to be overall a bit disappointing on my end because I was expecting much greater results than the ones I received.

Team sprint was overall a very big disappointment as my first race back. The event was a couple hours into the session and with a few delays my teammates and I found ourselves warmed up way too early. When we started, I felt like we were all on nicely and finished strong, only to find out we had a poor time. I believe this result was due to the fact that none of us rode to our potential, but I guess to our defense this was our first Team sprint together and there is only one way to go from here, and that is up.

The second day was the keirin. After a mess up with the laps count in my round I found myself in the repechage. I made it thought to get back to the semifinal with most of the fast guys and didn't make it through to the A final. In the minor final for places 7-12 I rode a much better ride tactically, and got passed by Kevin Sireau of Cofidis taking second which placed me eighth over all.

By the time the sprints rolled around I was quite tired. I had a good warm up which helped me feel a bit better. For the 200m I rode 10.48 which placed me 7th. In the first round I make a rookie mistake by not having enough speed going into the final lap and got passed and beat by a rider from Venezuela which put me in the B sprint tournament. I was pissed I lost the first ride and won the next two sprints. The final sprint of the B tournament I lost to a Colombian rider.

Overall the races were ok, but I think I could have done better

Finding the legs again

By Travis Smith

Team Sprint: I was not too happy with this event in a whole and I felt like I didn't have the optimal warm up and I had just an OK start. But as a team we just didn't ride to what we are capable of doing. I expect we're going to post a much better time at Beijing.

Sprint: Again I didn't feel great during the 200m. It has been a while since I have had a good one. After breaking my pelvic joint, my nerves acted up! But once I made the sprint rounds I almost felt like a different rider. My first ride was against Barry Ford of Barbados. When we lined up I just was excited to sprint again and I felt confident, and I was not gonna lose this first ride.

I needed to mentally make it past there and start winning some races and sprinting some good guys again. So all in all, I had a sub-par 200m that qualified me 11th and I ended up sprinting to seventh. But I now know I can move up with some better feeling legs.

I'm excited to see where the next few years will be going. I want to improve on my 2006 commonwealth medals and to do that I need a gold!

Robin Horwitz and Hunter Allen, PCG CEO

Starting up a new team

By:
Cycling News
Published:
December 01, 2008, 0:00 GMT,
Updated:
April 22, 2009, 20:17 BST

It's been a great experience in starting a new team and we're looking forward to the actual races...

December 1, 2008

It's been a great experience in starting a new team and we're looking forward to the actual races after all the hard work the team has been putting in for the past few months. I wanted to take the opportunity to mention what areas we've been focusing on and what the riders are doing lately.

When I had a chance to buy the team, the immediate thought was this: how to pour the money into coaching and resources for the team. For the past few years, the athletes have been self-coached. Hunter Allen, owner of Peaks Coaching Group, is a power data guru and a good friend of mine. So I asked him to come on board to provide power data analysis. He was excited about the opportunity and jumped into it knowing that Quarq's Jim Myers would be doing the same thing. The team will be receiving the Quarq track cranksets which are prototypes and will be released into the public later in 2009. Hunter will analyze the data and provide advice.

This still meant the coaching staff wasn't complete, so the strength aspect of the program will still be headed by Dr. Marcus Elliott who is the president of p3.md. They specialize in strength training along with explosive movements using plyometrics. Out of all strength coaches, I truly believe Dr. Marcus Elliott is just the best out there. He's been able to re-create Adam Duvendeck into a more explosive sprinter from a kilo specialist.

Lastly but most importantly, Andy Sparks, who coached women's team last year at Beijing Olymnpics, was hired to coach the team. His ability to transform from Jennie Reed from a strong keirin rider to a World Champion was enough to convince me he's the right guy for the position. He's very vocal, passionate and intense. His attitude actually does rub off on the riders and they've been going fast in training sessions.

With a strong support system, our cyclists have taken their commitment to a new level. They basically live their lives as if it's a full time job. Their normal schedule may include a gym session in the morning with about two hour break before hitting the track for some intense workouts. This is incredibly hard on their bodies and they've had to cut out things from their lives in order to maxmize their ability to recover for next day effectively.

As for the riders part of the team, we wanted to look at some riders to be added to our squad. Jimmy Watkins, a new sprinter, recently won three U.S. Nationals title last September and was quickly added to the development squad. This reinforces my belief in continuing the development squad for 2009 in hopes of finding another hidden gem. We've been looking at a new rider who has been posting fast times with the pros and we hope to push him to the World Cup scene in 2009 - 2010.

We also added a new rider who we believe will be a strong addition to the squad and we will be making the announcement on December 1st.

For our first event in Cali, we're very confident about our Team Sprint chances and we've done our homework. We believe we will be able to place well.

We're only few months into the program, but I believe we've set a very good supporting system for them. My goal is ultimately to create a system that is fitting for a super team in a year. Some of you may be wondering - why track racing?

I love intense, and close racing. You can't find it anywhere else but on the track. I believe the Hawk Relay Cycling team will provide a huge boost of entertainment to the domestic races in USA for the year of 2009 and some strong competition for other teams on the World Cup scene as well.

See you at the track.

Robin Horwitz

Adam Duvendeck greets Greg Hettwer

A new season, a new team

By:
Cycling News
Published:
November 13, 2008, 0:00 GMT,
Updated:
April 22, 2009, 20:17 BST

Here we are with the first Hawk Relay Cycling Team diary. I have the honor of letting everyone know...

November 13, 2008

Here we are with the first Hawk Relay Cycling Team diary. I have the honor of letting everyone know about Hawk Relay and what the new team is all about. Most of you were probably familiar with the Momentum Cycling Team comprised of myself, Travis Smith and world keirin champion, Jennie Reed. The team went through a major shake up with some changes which brought us a new team owner, and new title sponsor. Hawk Relay, a video relay provider for the deaf and hearing impaired, is stepping in to provide us with the financial support that we need as we move forward.

First stop as a new team was this year's Interbike. Teammate Travis Smith was by my side for a fun week of bikes, gambling and of course a bit of partying. It has been a few years since I have been, and nothing has changed but it was nice to see people I haven't seen for years and to also connect with new people in the industry. Meetings with the team seemed to be positive and I am looking forward to the up and coming year.

One of the sponsors I am most looking forward to working with is Zoot. Zoot has traditionally been a triathlon company but this year they decided to branch out into the world of compression clothing. My teammates and I tried on all the clothing after speaking to Chris Bohanon and we surely could feel a difference compared to an other compression clothing we have tried. We have some garments coming in next week and we are anxiously awaiting their arrival.

We have started implementing some ideas from a new coaching staff comprised of Hunter Allen and Dr. Marcus Elliott, which I think will help us makes some huge gains. I believe those changes along with my excitement and motivation of being involved with our new team along with Travis and I pushing each other everyday we are going to see some good things this year. Colombia will be our first world cup and I am super excited. I will be riding keirin, sprint and team sprint. So keep your eyes open because we are expecting some exciting things.

Last weekend Travis and I had the opportunity to fly up to northern California and be part of a charity ride that, Robin - our new team owner – put together. The ride is called "Riding for deaf schools" and it will focus on raising money for deaf children to use for programmes at their schools. While this first ride was kind of a test run for rides we would like to do in the future, I think it went great. We had a turnout of about 40 riders and headed out from the deaf school in Fremont, CA. The ride was great and went out on a bike path to the bay.

We got to have lunch halfway through the ride. Travis and I picked up on some signing and learned how to sign our names and some other interesting ones. It was a great day for us and for Hawk Relay and I am looking forward to doing another ride in the near future.

Author
Hawk Relay Team

The Los Angeles-based Hawk Relay team is working to put its riders among the top of the world's best track cyclists. Through their Cyclingnews diaries, riders Jennie Reed, Adam Duvendeck, and Travis Smith and the Hawk Relay coach Andy Sparks will allow a unique insight into the world of track cycling and the training required to compete at the top of the sport.


The team is the only professional cycling team run by a deaf owner, Robin Horwitz, and is supported by the maker of a video relay system designed to provide deaf and hard of hearing people with the necessary tools to achieve full and equal telecommunications access. Horwitz combined his love for the sport with his sponsor's (Hawk Relay) passion for generating opportunities for the hearing-impaired to create this unique squad.


For further reading about the program, see the team summary or visit the www.hawkrelaycycling.com.