Track Standards Night

Alberta Provincial team hopefuls met last night at the Argyll Velodrome for their first attempt at meeting the track standards which would enable them to attend competitions such as Nationals, Tour de l’Abitibi and the Green Mountain Stage race.

Cadet men are required to complete a two kilometre pursuit in 02:55:13 to attend Green Mountain, Junior Men have to turn out a three kilometre pursuit in 04:05:32 to attend Abitibi and a 03:54:21 to attend nationals and Junior Women must complete a 2km pursuit in 03:02:22 to attend Green Mountain and a 02:53:91 to attend nationals.

The purpose of the minimum performance standards is to ensure all members of Provincial team projects will be at a level to compete successfully within the top 50% of the field of competitors. An added benefit is that these track standards, while not excessively hard, do require some time on the track to become familiar with the bike in order to make the time. Alberta Provincial coach Jay Gillespie feels that time on the track, while not essential to producing quality athletes, does contribute to making better riders.

There were several success stories from the first night; Kelly Hall, Mackenzie McCormick, Jessica Kissell, Mac Carson and Ty Andrews all met the time standards to attend Green Mountain Stage Race. Dustin Andrews easily made the Abitibi standards with a time of 03.56.6 but was just shy of the Nationals qualification time. Alex McCormick rode a great pursuit to sneak in under the Abitibi qualification time by 1/10th of a second. Brad Clifford traveled 8 hours from Regina to make the standard and on his first time riding a track bike ended up one second too slow. Clifford commented that he had been a triathlete for the past two years but this year has dedicated himself to the goal of making the Abitibi team. He decided last evening that he would travel to Calgary for tonight’s time standards in the hopes that he would make it.

Coach Gillespie said he was proud of all the athletes and their rides tonight and commented that perhaps that best part of the evening was somewhat unexpected. He said seeing the athletes hanging out and encouraging each other in their attempts was awesome and he noted that evenings like this one fostered team work, brought the athletes from Edmonton and Calgary closer together and created an affinity for the provincial team program; all key ingredients in producing successful athletes at a national level. He thought that given better weather (last night was quite windy) more athletes would make time standards.

On hand for the attempts and lending their timing and commissairing talents were Dave Embury and Jerry Jendzjoswky. These two spearheaded the Indoor Velodrome proposal that was recently approved by the City of Edmonton city council and is slated for completion in 2010. Embury has often commented that he would like to see younger riders out on the track more often as he feels it contributes to their development as an athlete and as such was glad to help out. The second night of attempts takes place this evening in Calgary.

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