World Champs for Real?
Few weeks have passed since returning from World Masters Track Championships in Manchester, but I still pinch myself every morning upon waking up next to the rainbow jersey and gold medal. It was not a dream but a dream come true!
In 2013, I discovered track after a two-decade hiatus from collegiate road racing. Under the meticulous guidance of Coach Lee Povey past two seasons, I was lucky enough to snatch my first ever Stars & Stripes title in team sprints with my teammates, Ethan and Mark (collectively known as It’s Raining, Men!).
Follow that great momentum, Coach Lee encouraged the team to give Manchester a go. Since Mark was on honeymoon, Ethan and I recruited Bernard from across the country. All three of us made the debut to our first ever World Championships this year.
Team It’s Raining Men Delivered!
Team Sprint, especially as Man 1, was my main focus in 2015. The training program was built upon that; box jumps, plyometric exercises, and gate starts occupied much of my training past 10 months. I drew plenty of funny looks when practicing start techniques during commute hours on the busy streets of San Francisco!
Team Sprint being the last event for Ethan, Bernard, and me, Coach Lee had comprehensive data to finalize our start order on the eve of the qualifying race. The team went with Lee’s recommendation and started with Bernard, me and Ethan. Although I had not ridden Man 2 for almost 2 years, Bernard had such phenomenal start that I simply had to tuck in and deliver Ethan at fast as possible.
In the morning qualifying round, the team rode extremely well and qualified first at 48.856 seconds. After a quick lunch break and power nap, we stuck with the same winning strategy and clocked in at 48.878 seconds. The much-coveted rainbow jerseys were ours to keep!
I’d like to credit this accomplishment to each of the mentors, team mates, supporters, and sponsors along the journey. Such undertaking wouldn’t have been feasible without your invaluable contribution. There are no words that could articulate my gratitude to all of you; I will be seeking each one of you out and delivering bear hugs in person.
Photo credit to renowned cycling photojournalist Mike Gladu
Gold/Silver Final Race
The award ceremony video showed my leaving the lineup for the pit. UCI actually mandates proper athletic shoes for victory ceremonies. Traveling light, I packed only a pair of Tom’s. The commissionaire offered two options 1) a fine for improper dress code or 2) swap on athletic shoes. Being perfect gentlemen as always, Ethan and Bernard helped me climb over the fence.