The USA track national championships concluded in Los Angeles with the team sprints and the Madison, featuring the first ever title race for the women's Madison.
Cari Higgins teamed up first with Liz Carlson to qualify for the gold medal team sprint round before jumping back on her bike to contest the women's Madison final with partner Jennie Reed.
The duo dominated the 100-lap race, taking 25 points and lapping the field along with two teams: Jennifer Triplett/Valerie Bostrom and Kacey Manderfield/Colleen Hayduk.
"It's awesome - it's great we're having the race, it's growing internationally - the British just had their championship, and it's great that the USA stepped up and added it to the championships," Higgins said.
The pairing of scratch race champion and former keirin world champion Reed with points race winner Higgins proved to be an unbeatable combination. The duo received good cooperation from the second and third-placed teams, who were keen to stay clear of the field.
Triplett and Bostrom were excited with the silver medal, happy to have been a part of a high-energy first edition of the women's Madison championship.
"It's so neat to be a part of history, and having Jennie and Cari in the field brought the racing up a level," said Triplett. "We could have used another team to beat up on them a little, but it was good."
"I was really excited for it to be a championship race for the women, and you can see from the race we really earned it," said last year's winner in the exhibition race, Jen Reither, who took fifth place with partner Kate Wilson.
Reither survived a violent mid-race collision with Megan Hottman, who lost traction while on relief and slid down the banking into her path.
"I didn't see it coming, it's a little challenging on this track. You can't really go slow - being a new event and at the end of the week, Megan might have been a little tired and just went too slow, and slid down. I was going full speed to try and catch the group, and I never saw her coming."
Having trained together probably more than any other team, Hayduk and Manderfield had smooth exchanges all race long, but came up short in the sprints, taking third overall to Bostrom and Triplett by three points.
Manderfield and Hayduk hoped to get away after having no luck in the sprints, but despite their best attempts the three teams stayed together to the line. "It would have been ideal for us to attack them at the right time, when they had a tired rider and they weren't going to pick up the relief rider for a while, and pick up a gap we could hold on to," Manderfield explained. "We tried it, but we were sore and tired and didn't have the legs to pull it off.
"If you can time your throws perfectly, you can catch them off guard, but we didn't quite calculate it right. But I was happy with it overall, considering."
Higgins doubles up in team sprint with Carlson
The story of the night was the double gold medal by Cari Higgins, coming off the 100-lap Madison to claim another title with Liz Carlson in the women's team sprint.
The pair nearly didn't get the win, after the race officials confused the timing on the front and back stretch and awarded the win temporarily to Cristin Walker and Tela Crane.
After much debate, the win was given to Higgins and Carlson in time for the podium ceremony. "I had a clear view of the finish from where I was," Carlson said, "and I was sure we got them just at the line.
"I'm so proud. Cari and I are three for three in the team sprint - we won in 2007, 2008 and now in 2010," she said, adding that the win was even more amazing considering Higgins had competed in the Madison earlier that afternoon.
"Cari came up to me and said, 'I got it covered, my legs feel great'. After 100 laps, I wouldn't be saying that, but she's awesome. She's a phenomenal athlete," Carlson said of Higgins.
Moir and Heely upset in the Madison
The men's Madison was a hotly contested battle between the dozen teams on the track, with a pair of 18-year-olds, Ian Moir and Danny Heely, coming out on top after stealing a lap early in the race.
New to the elite ranks, Moir credited time spent racing U23 six days in Europe and doing the junior world championships with giving them the edge in LA.
"It definitely taught us how to hurt, because those races are full gas from start to finish. That experience really gave us a lot to know how to lay it on the line," Moir said, and Heely agreed. "We also learned to be a lot more patient and take the one opportunity when we have it."
That time came before the halfway point in the race when the attacks had been flying, and several teams had already been dropped.
"Our plan was just more to go for points and wait to attack later, but we saw a good opportunity," Moir explained. "It was close where we weren't going to get it but we just kept laying it on the line, and slowly every other team cracked, so it was really good."
"This is the one I wanted to win. We lost twice when we were juniors, now we're U23's and it's nice to win."
The young pair was able to gain enough points to stay in the winner's seat despite a strong challenge from the OUCH team, Cody O'Reilly and Iggy Silva.
The duo countered an attack at the mid-point of the race, getting away quickly to steal the lap and bring themselves into the race lead. But Moir and Heely were able to battle back in the sprints in the final half of the race to take the win.
"We took the lap - it took two tries before we finally got it," O'Reilly said. "The first attempt we tried to go right after the other guys took their lap, but we had too much of the field chasing us. We waited mid-way through the race, and it was perfect. It only took four exchanges to get the whole lap. We just didn't have enough legs for the sprints.
"I really wanted to take a second lap because I didn't think we were going to be able to beat them in the sprints, but I ended up cramping toward the end," he said.
Third placed Jame Carney, who tried with partner Shane Kline to gain back the lap on the other two teams, was less than thrilled with the tactics in the race, accusing other teams of forming combines leaving his and the team of Jackie Simes and Bobby Lea out in the cold.
"It's just nuts - we had eight teams left in the Madison and six were teamed up with one side or the other. The team that won had two teams working with them, the team got second and they had two teams working with them, and the teams who got third and fourth had nobody working with them," Carney said.
Carney and Kline attacked repeatedly, succeeding in gaining a whopping 33 points to the winning's team 20, but were unable to gain the lap back, and the bronze was the best they could do.
"It's fine, it's nationals, the only problem is it doesn't breed good competition. It just turns people off from trying. Should I go out and get other teams to work with me next year? It's just lame.
"Racing like that isn't going to prepare you to race at the World Cup level. It's frustrating - there is a lot of talent but they're not going to learn how to race their bikes doing it this way."
More gold for Massie in team sprint
Kilo and sprint winner Giddeon Massie took his third gold medal of the competition along with teammates Jimmy Watkins, David Espinoza, and Andy Lakatosh, besting the second placed Momentum Cycling Group team (TJ Mathieson, Kevin Mansker and Tracy Dean) by nearly half a second.
While Lakatosh took part in the qualifying round, Watkins stepped in to give the team the firepower it needed to claim the gold in the final, and both were pleased to win their first national title of the week.
"It feels good to finally walk away with one, it feels great," Watkins said.
Lakatosh agreed, saying "I've been dreaming about this for a long time. It's been a long time since I've been on top of the podium, and it feels really good to do it with some good friends of mine. It's a good end to a very tough week of racing."
Massie put in stunning first laps, opening up a bit of a gap on his teammates in both rounds. "That's my job," he explained. "We all know our roles going in, so if I go out hard and give them something to chase, that's how it works.
He was optimistic for the future of the sprint program, considering the first World Cup is still almost two months away. "We've got a lot of good talent here and we'll sort out who works best where. When it comes around to the World Cups, World Championships I think we'll have a good team together."
All of the team credited Espinoza with being the critical link to the gold medal. "It was really tough, we came into it really quick and I looked across the track and saw they were a little bit ahead, and I knew I had to go with everything I had - and it just worked out."
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team|
|1||Ian Moir (Racelab U-23 Cycling Team/Team WM)|
|1||Danny Heeley (Racelab U-23 Cycling Team/Team WM)|
|2||Cody O'Reilly (Ouch 2)|
|2||Ignacio (Iggy) Silva (Ouch 2)|
|3||Shane Kline (Giddy up Factor 5000)|
|3||James Carney (Giddy up Factor 5000)|
|4||Bobby Lea (Lionofflanders.com)|
|4||John (Jackie) Simes (Lionofflanders.com)|
|5||Eric Barlevav (NOW-UHC)|
|5||Kit Karzen (NOW-UHC)|
|6||Zak Kovalcik (Ouch 1)|
|6||Daniel Harm (Ouch 1)|
|7||Colt Peterson (American Track Institute)|
|7||Austin Carroll (American Track Institute)|
|8||Ryan Luttrell (Black Dog Pro Cycling p/b Parlee)|
|8||Ryan Sabga (Black Dog Pro Cycling p/b Parlee)|
|9||Collin Berry (Amgen-UBS)|
|9||John Walsh (Amgen-UBS)|
|DNS||John Tomlinson (xXx HOP)|
|DNS||Brent Emoff (xXx HOP)|
|DNF||Andrew Armstrong (Matrix/RBM)|
|DNF||Chris Carlson (Matrix/RBM)|
|DNF||Andrew Crater (AeroCat Cycling)|
|DNF||Barry Miller (Mike Fraysse Sports / America's Cycling)|
|DNF||Martin Vecchio (IVBP)|
|DNF||Brent DelRosario (IVBP)|
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team|
|1||Jennie Reed (Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY 12/Proman Hit Squad)|
|1||Cari Higgins (Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY 12/Proman Hit Squad)|
|2||Valerie Brostrom (Lake Washington Velo)|
|2||Jennifer Triplett (Lake Washington Velo)|
|3||Colleen Hayduk (Cycle Loft Track Team)|
|3||Kacey Manderfield (Cycle Loft Track Team)|
|4||Hanan Alves-Hyde (Mixin It Up)|
|4||Elspeth Huyett (Mixin It Up)|
|5||Kate Wilson (Vanderkitten/Vanderkitten Racing presented by Kenda)|
|5||Jennifer Reither (Vanderkitten/Vanderkitten Racing presented by Kenda)|
|6||Dena Eaton (She Pedals Cycling)|
|6||Heather Albert (She Pedals Cycling)|
|7||Norrene Godfrey (Pinky & the Brain)|
|7||Emily Charbonneau (Pinky & the Brain)|
|DNF||Melissa (Missy) Erickson (DFT)|
|DNF||Megan Hottman (DFT)|
|DNF||Julia Manley (RockyMounts~Izze Racing)|
|DNF||Shelby Reynolds (RockyMounts~Izze Racing)|
|DNF||Jen Featheringill (Home Depot Center Team)|
|DNF||Dana Feiss (Home Depot Center Team)|
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Giddeon Massie (Pure Energy)||0:00:46.309|
|1||Andrew Lakatosh (Pure Energy)|
|1||David Espinoza (Pure Energy)|
|1||James Watkins (Pure Energy)|
|2||Daniel Walker (Momentum Coaching Group)||0:00:46.788|
|2||Kevin Mansker (Momentum Coaching Group)|
|2||TJ Mathieson (Momentum Coaching Group)|
|2||Dean Tracy (Momentum Coaching Group)|
|3||Colin Prensky (Affinity Cycles)||0:00:48.585|
|3||Jon Linchitz (Affinity Cycles)|
|4||Jonathan Fraley (Masters of the Universe)||0:00:48.781|
|4||Joshua Ryan (Masters of the Universe)|
|4||Allen Vugrincic (Masters of the Universe)|
|4||Peter Billington (Masters of the Universe)|
|5||J Christopher Ferris (Fire 'n Ice)||0:00:49.102|
|5||Alexander Gil (Fire 'n Ice)|
|5||Phillip Elbaz (Fire 'n Ice)|
|6||Per Bjesse (BRIHOP (Brians House of Pain)||0:00:49.351|
|6||Zak Kovalcik (BRIHOP (Brians House of Pain)|
|6||Brian Abers (BRIHOP (Brians House of Pain)|
|6||Nathan Frechen (BRIHOP (Brians House of Pain)|
|7||Jason Garner (Mixed Bag of Nuts)||0:00:49.820|
|7||Jack Lindquist (Mixed Bag of Nuts)|
|7||Jeffrey Whiteman (Mixed Bag of Nuts)|
|8||Thomas Valentine (Elite Masters)||0:00:49.855|
|8||Antony Galvan (Elite Masters)|
|8||Daniel Reback (Elite Masters)|
|9||Karl Erickson (Team FrontRange)||0:00:51.786|
|9||Charles Higbie (Team FrontRange)|
|9||Garrison Schulte (Team FrontRange)|
|10||Aaron Trent (USA Para-cycling National Team)||0:00:51.830|
|10||Sam Kavanagh (USA Para-cycling National Team)|
|10||David Swanson (USA Para-cycling National Team)|
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Elizabeth Carlson (Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY 12/Proman Hit Squad)||0:00:36.800|
|1||Cari Higgins (Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY 12/Proman Hit Squad)|
|2||Tela Crane (Broadmark Momentum)||0:00:36.923|
|2||Cristin Walker (Broadmark Momentum)|
|3||Amelia BjessePuffin (BRIHOP (Brians House of Pain)||0:00:38.135|
|3||Anissa Cobb (BRIHOP (Brians House of Pain)|
|4||Kate Wilson (Home Depot Center Team)||0:00:38.413|
|4||Dana Feiss (Home Depot Center Team)|
|5||Dena Eaton (Eaton-Maglaty)||0:00:38.893|
|5||Alissa Maglaty (Eaton-Maglaty)|
|DNS||Madalyn Godby (Team Colorado)|
|DNS||Melissa (Missy) Erickson (Team Colorado)|
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