USA Women Training in Mallorca
A few weeks ago my boyfriend Jetse and I did a short visit to Mallorca, he had to do an intense block of training and the guys from Performance United have their training base there so I was excited to catch up with my sister Sofia!
It was impossible not to fall in love with the place, with those amazing views and all the mountains! We arrived at Sofia’s apartment in Alaró, such a nice little town.
Very close to her apartment is the Team House, the boys of the team live there and they also have a weight lifting room, with all the necessary equipment for track riders along with the fantastic watt bikes, and you can’t miss the flags of Ireland, USA, Turkey, Mexico and Spain decorating the room.
We had time to catch up a little bit there with coach Andy Sparks while he was showing us the place and telling us all the advantages that came with training in Mallorca, he even invited Jetse for a ride with the guys.
To me it was clear why my sister doesn’t want to come back to train in Mexico after only a few hours of being there, the Island is really special for bike rides!!! But I was so excited and looking so much forward to go to the track and see the guys in action!
But that didn’t happen until the last day, meanwhile we had time to do some training, enjoy the sun and the beach and we even went for dinner with Jennie Reed and her hubby Brandon Madden, I have to admit I’m such a big fan of Jennie since long time ago when she was a sprinter but this is the first time I’d actually met her and had time to get to know her.
When I asked her, why did she make the change from sprinting to endurance she said she was looking for a new challenge and I think instead Jennie’s creating a challenge to other teams as she rocks in the team pursuit even as much as she did as a sprinter!
Anyways back to the track… The Palma Arena is such a cool place, the track is beautiful and you can feel the great atmosphere at their training sessions, you can hear everyone cheering for each other while they’re doing there efforts and giving tips to each other to improve… its just priceless! But I have to say the biggest supporters at the track are Brandon Madden and Kirk Bausch (husbands of Jennie Reed and Dotsie Bausch) you can hear they screaming “GO, GO, GO!!!” during the whole training.
While Sarah Hammer and Jennie Reed have basically made Mallorca their second home the rest of the Team Pursuit girls (Lauren Tamayo and Dotsie Bausch) come in special periods during the year, this time they were all together as they’re getting ready for London and yes… they are looking STRONG!
Other riders in the team also preparing for London are Martyn Irvine (Ireland) and David Muntaner (Spain), while Recep Unalan (Turkey) and Sofia Arreola (Mexico) are making next year’s World Cup season their major focus.
Coach Andy is looking very optimistic about the Games and I’m sure the boys and girls will get amazing results there, so excited to see them racing and I even got special t-shirts to support them along the way!
Thanks for reading!
We are in the sprinting line on our way to the Olympic Games of London. Sofia has to participate in the four World Cups, Pan American Championship and the World Championship in order to make enough points to qualify.
The qualification system its complicated, it’s a ranking for Continents. The American continent has 5 places for the women’s omnium and we have Sarah Hammer (USA), Tara Whitten (Canada) and Marlies Mejias (Cuba) that have secured their places for the Olympics in the last season. The big dispute is between Angy Gonzalez (Venezuela), the Colombian Maria Luisa Calle and Sofia Arreola (Mexico).
Sofi hopes to finish in the top 10 of the World Cups and World Championship in order to finish within the first five in the Pan American Ranking.
Training base in
Mallorca is a perfect place for training; it has high mountains as well as flat and safe roads to do nice and long rides to improve the endurance. Mallorca has 2 different tracks where you can train and improve different things.
Sofia is currently training under the direction of Andy Sparks in Palma de Mallorca, Spain. Supported by the Mexican Cycling Federation and the National Sports Commission.
The training objectives are to improve power and endurance for individual events of the omnium. Training with Sarah Hammer and riders from Turkey and Ireland has made significant changes in Sofia as she has improved both her power and her endurance on the track. In the last Pan American Games in Guadalajara 2011, Sofi showed the progress when she won the silver medal.
First World: Astana
In Astana, as in all World Cups, you need to do a points race of 40 laps in order to qualify to the finals in the omnium, they have 2 heats and the best 12 of each heat get to ride the finals. Sofia was 4th in her qualifying heat, showing again her progress in her endurance.
The omnium started with 24 riders, all the best girls of the world were there only two big names were missing: Tara Whitten and Sarah Hammer they both decided to start their season in the 2nd World Cup in Cali.
Sofia was looking strong but performed poorly in the elimination race and finished 13th overall at the end.
2nd World Cup: Cali, Colombia
For this World Cup Andy and Sofi planned to do the scratch race in addition to the omnium. The scratch race is an official event in the World Championships but not in the Olympics, this is one of Sofia’s favorites events and she can perform really good in it as well.
You also need to do a qualification ride before riding the finals, 2 heats where only the first 10 of each heat can go to the finals. Sofia was second in her heat and was ready to give everything in the next race.
The final had 20 riders, the best riders in the world for sure. She was trying to control the race from start to finish and maybe worked too much, 4 riders went into the break away and she managed to win the bunch sprint to finish 5th place, this complies in part with the goal set by Andy for this World Cup.
The next day begins with the qualifying for the omnium. Sofia had to ride the heat with the best two riders of the specialty (World Champ Tara Whitten and multiple World Cup Champ Sarah Hammer) She managed to qualify and had a very regular start in the first event (250m flying lap). In the second event (points race) she finished in 5th place, Sofi improved her chances in the general classification and she was getting closer to the top 10 she wanted.
In the next event (elimination race), a race that is usually very complicated as every rider starts the race full gas because every 2 laps the last rider gets eliminated. The excitement of the riders as well as their desire to win caused several crashes, Sofi was involved in one of them. She hit the wall of the track injuring her back, right arm and finger and so had to end her participation in this World Cup.
Sofi is currently in 3rd place in the world ranking of the scratch race and she is looking forward to top that at the World Championships in Australia but her main focus is to make more points for the Olympics, she still wants to secure top 10 in the next two World Cups in Beijing and the Olympic test of London.
There are now four more races where she can collect Olympic points: the next two World Cups, the PanAm Champs and the World Champs it will be a hard and close fight between the riders because everyone is working harder than ever before to get there but we are sure that Sofia can achieve her goal and make her Olympic dream a reality in London.
Cali Track World Cup 2011
Update From Cali World Cup
The highlights of yesterday are quite interesting; in the men’s team sprint qualifying the German trio of Rene Enders, Maximilian Levy and Stefan Nimke set a new World Record in an impressive ride (42.914), the women’s team sprint was won also by Germany with Kristina Vogel and Miriam Welte.
2 Team Erdgas
Women’s Team Sprint:
The women’s scratch race was full of attacks, Sofi Arreola (Mex) was very active in the race but at the end there was a break away with 4 and she couldn’t make it but she won the bunch sprint to finish in 5th place.
1 Kelly Druyts (Bel)
2 Katarzyna Pawlowska (Pol)
3 Ahreum Na (Kor)
4 Leire Olaberria Dorronsoro (Spa)
5 Sofia Arreola (Mex)
In the women’s Team Pursuit GBR were fighting the NZL girls for gold and it was a very close battle till one of the girls of New Zealand got dropped off the wheel of her teammate and that gave the British team a gold medal while the American team finished 3rd.
The men’s team pursuit was a different story, the Australians were fighting for gold against New Zealand but unfortunately for the World Champions one of their teammates had a crash in the first kilometre of the race and they were not allowed to start again. NZL finished 1st, AUS 2nd and DEN 3rd.
The craziest race of the day was the 3rd event of the omnium: Elimination race. As usual, it started super fast, everyone fighting to be in a good position in the peloton, short after the race started there was a crash with 4 riders including Lasse Norman Hansen (Den) one of the race favorites! He and the rest of the guys were allowed to come back on the race but the crash caused a bad effect on them so they were all eliminated soon.
There was more chaos during the race because riders didn’t want to leave the track after they were eliminated; I guess there was a lot of confusion there. Very close to the finish there was another crash with more race favorites like Zach Bell (Can) and Shane Archbold (NZl), they were also back in the race but both with bad luck, Zach was eliminated right after the crash and Shane was disqualified of the event after not leaving the track when he was eliminated.
The race was about to get more confusing and at the same time more interesting when the race commissaries said Juan Esteban Arango (Col) was eliminated but the Colombian rider was refusing to leave the track! The commissaries let the race continue and they eliminated Eloy Teruel Rovira (Spa), this rider was seriously upset and had a fight with the judges after leaving the track so he also got disqualified of the event.
The commissaries told Arango he must leave the track and said the race was over while Bryan Coquard (Fra), Michael Freiberg (Aus) and Gijs Van Hoecke (Bel) were still on the track! The riders were confused and complaining to the UCI commissaries while the DS from Colombia was also fighting to get his rider back on the track, he said that the red monitor that lets the riders know that they are eliminated was never flashing in his Arango’s bike so he wasn’t really eliminated…. Anyways the commissaries let him come back to the race, the other riders were not happy but they kept on racing.
Arango was the first eliminated, followed by the Belgian rider and Bryan Coquard beat Michael Freiberg (reigning World Champion) in the final sprint.
The current omnuim standinga are here:
1 Bryan Coquard (Fra) France 10 pts
2 Recep Ünalan (Tur) Turkey 14 pts
3 Juan Esteban Arango (Col) Colombia 16pts
4 Zach Bell (Can) Canada 20 pts
5 Lasse Norman Hansen (Den) Denmark 28 pts
6 Martyn Irvine (Irl) Ireland 30 pts
7 Michael Freiberg (Aus) Australia 31 pts
8 Gijs Van Hoecke (Bel) Belgium 32 pts
Full results of every event from Tissot Timing click here.
Live streaming of the Cali Track World Cup is available at Mundo Ciclistico by clicking here.
Last July, just crossed the line, head a blur. It’s unusually hot in Belgium, even for summer, touching thirty-eight degrees. Pull those legs down there, I think they are still attached and working, covered in dust – stuck to sweat, over the saddle. Lean the bike against the wall, disregard shown for the machine that has safely transported you all those kms, through the mêlée, the mayhem. Searching for a bottle of water, a chair to sit down, a towel to mop my face.
The sight of a local cyclist catches my attention, eyes transfixed, he looks like a pro. Sat on his top tube, in leggings and long sleeves. He has me questioning my senses, my eyes – I’ve raced hard, but am I hallucinating?! Nope, this is Belgium.
The idea of keeping your muscles warm isn’t uncommon, it’s probably one of the most basic and well-known principles in sport. However Belgian cyclists seem to take it to another level, and this profi was no different. I tried to reason with myself, in my post race state, leggings and long sleeves, in this weather? I thought he was plain mad…
A summer later, despite over twenty hours a week in the saddle, week in, week out. Despite roasting whilst racing in Turkey, slowly simmering away in forty degree heat. Despite my dangerous obsession of wearing my shorts in exactly the same place. I have no tan. The mix of English, Irish and Scottish blood, freckled skin, definitely doesn’t help. But there is something else.
Switch to a sunny summers day, deep August. An easy recovery ride, spinning through the lanes of Essex. It’s just over a year since East Flanders, I’m a year wiser, a year tougher. It’s a reasonably modest twenty-eight degrees, pretty good for British weather. Clem and Rhys relish the tanning opportunity, as talk turns from racing to possible café stops. The coach says eighteen degrees, but I have taken it further, in fact it feels weird to train in shorts these days. Races aside my legs havent seen the sun for months. Coach would be proud, Belgians quake, muscles are warm. Its long sleeves and tights in the sun.
Thankyou Rapha for your amazing support this season. I have absolutely loved using products like the Classic Winter Tights. Not sure I always wear them in the correct season, but I wear them more than anything!