Random Cycling Quote

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Great Track Racing Day, Horrible Weather!

My recent post mentioned the death of our dog, Wizard. Today, I decided to wear his collar in his honor and in memorial of him. I felt his presence around me all day, and that really made me better and ready to race today.

We had rain this morning, but the rain stopped and the track dried up in time for the racing, despite being started 15 minutes late. Not a whole lot of people showed up, and I was wondering what the track officials were going to do about that. My category, Men's 5, was not combined with any other races, but the second and third races were shortened a few laps since we only had like 8 or 9 in our field. Some of the other categories were combined since they didn't have as many showing up.

My first race was a 2K (6 laps) Scratch Race as scheduled. Just a normal race, nothing special, I was in my 88" gear (49x15) which was a good gear to be in. I raced this very strategically and it paid off. I got 4th place!

The second race was supposed to be a 3K (9 laps) Point-a-Lap race, so I went down to my 86" gear (48x15). However, they changed it to a 2K Points-a-Lap which I did not like at all for two reasons. First, there's not enough laps to really benefit from being cross the start/finish line first of each lap since you only get one point per lap, and two, I wish they had told us earlier so I could have stayed in my 88" gear. Anyways, I tried to go for the first lap's point, but when I realized who I was dealing with while in my smaller gear, I sat in and just rode with them. The first three guys got away, and I rode with this young kid, probably mid-teens, until the last lap where I just took off and left him behind. I was 4th across the finish line, but when the points were added, I got 1 point which gave me 5th place points-wise.

The third race was supposed to be a 4K (12 laps) points race, with sprint laps every 4 laps. They shortened that to 3K points race with a sprint every 3 laps. Now my 86" gear was good for this race. Still, there were stronger guys in bigger gears so I tried to sit in as much as I can. With a few laps to go, I was in 5th and on my own, and saw the same young kid ahead of me probably 15-20 yards. With these last few laps, I caught up to him and just barely beat him in a final lap sprint with a bike throw (which is when you use your legs and arms to "push/throw" the bike forward).

Now, at this point I'm usually done. However, with the advantage I had of a smaller field and getting some points, I qualified for the Featured race. After a small intermission, I got back onto the track ready for this one. The featured race combines the Men's 5 and Women's 4 in the B race, and the Men's 4 and Masters in the A race. The B race was first, so there were about 12 or 13 of us lined up with the combined Women and Men field. Instead of the scheduled 24 laps scratch race, they changed it to a Power Sprint Elimination race. What this is is that the race starts with a neutral lap, then when the gun goes off out of the 4th turn, the next lap starts the elimination process. The last person to cross the finish line of each lap is eliminated from the race. This goes on until 5 riders left, which then the lap count is 5 to go. Keeping positive and strong, I made sure I was in the front the whole time through the elimination laps, which I was pretty much the first or second guy to cross the finish line just about every lap. Once the last person was eliminated and 5 left, the actual scratch race started. There were 3 guys and 2 girls left. One guy and one girl went off the front, and I rode with the other girl and guy left in the field with me. With two laps to go, I started sprinting and then realized that the other girl was in front of me by a quarter of a lap. I sprinted all out to try and catch her, but I didn't start my effort soon enough and she was able to beat me out by 10-15 yards for 2nd, while I got 3rd.

The President of the cycling club team I'm on told me "just 10 seconds earlier and you would have caught up to her and gotten 2nd". Geez, thanks for THAT comment haha.

This was a great day, and not only because I raced well, but I felt I was able to honor Wizard in a great and respectable way, placing top 5 in all of my races. I don't know yet if I'm ready to go up to Cat 4, I'll see how I'm feeling these next few weeks I have off from track racing. I only have one more race that I can make at this time, but I'm trying to open my schedule up for the next race, Sept. 5th. If that doesn't happen, then I will be able to make the final race of the season on the 12th.

Sorry for the long post, but it was such a great day for me. Thanks for reading if you made it this far haha.

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