17 September 2007


So Friday was my third night of racing at our local velodrome. I'm a Cat4, but only because there's no such thing as Cat5 on our track. I don't know why. I do not race as a roadie or MTB so it has all been a bit of a learning curve.

The program started Friday night with a low attendance, and the powers that be decided to run only two groups:
1) Youth
2) Cat 1/2/3/4 + Masters + a junior girl (15) all in a second class

The first race of the night was Miss n' Out. Apparently, you start from the rail and do a neutral lap or two before they ring the bell. From that point, every other lap the last person across the line is taken out of the race. With 12 riders in the race it was going to be a 24 lapper if you're in it to the end. I chose to run a 48 x 14 (92.6") as this would give me some speed but I could also spin it for the whole race.

At first I was pretty convinced I was going to be out early because the Cat 1 & 2 guys (6 of them) were not too keen about keeping the pace slow. The pack stayed together at a very fast clip the whole race, and I was boxed out continuously by one woman -good strategy- but I hung in there for awhile before looking back and realizing I'd be the next out if I didn't get my butt in gear. So, I pounced. I blitzed around the outside and made straight for the front. This ensured that I would remain in, but also be able to rest and stay attached to the main draft.

It worked perfectly and I ended up out sprinting several of the Cat 1/2 guys over the next few drops! In fact, coming to the line with only four of us left in the race I made a push and managed to fend off last year's Masters Champ to stay in the race! But, going into T1 I was forced low and off the track. This scared the shit out of me b/c the banking in T1 is 44 degrees for a very good reason. It allows you to stick. I back pedaled hard and hung on but the incident rattled me and I lost all my speed trying to keep the bike upright on the apron. So... I was out. Technically I guess I DNF'd, but in my mind I finished 3rd.

After a very short rest for a Youth race we headed into race #2, a 20 laps scratch race. This time I knew I could hang up front and made moves off the start to get there. I dropped right into the lead draft and hung with the Cat 1/2 guys in 5th place up until we had 6 laps to go, at which point my energy started to drop and I lost the lead draft. A few tense laps later I'd managed to sling through the lapped traffic and was the last rider on the lead lap in 5th place!

Now we have another brief rest before starting a 40 lap points race. Does it ever end?! It was more like an excercise in pain management and recovery... A points race is structured so that every 10 laps is a sprint with points going to the top 4 riders 5-3-2-1. Off the bat I knew I had limited reserves so I sprang for the front. I hung in there for the first ten and sprinted for points, taking 1 point and beating a few riders in the sprint. I continued to hang on to 4th for the next 9 laps, but coming to the line for the next set of points I lost my juice. From there I just tried to remind myself that lactic acid doesn't last forever and I just had to stay on the bike. I remained on the lead lap, thanks to a kind race leader, and didn't take anymore points but managed to finish.

For me, securing a point in this race was a bit like being Minardi and taking points in a 90's F1 race. Hell, winning some sprints against a slew of Cat 1/2 guys was awesome, too! So we have one race to go this year (this Friday) before things go dormant until March.

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