After a less than stellar first track experience the prior week, it was time to go back and have at it for a second time. Armed with some additional constructive feedback from the previous event, and a change in gearing, I signed up for the last day of the Six Days of Kissena. Sadly I had to adult on Saturday, thus no racing for me.
Sunday was going to be another beautiful warm day, but in spite of that it was a bit chilly during the on track warm up before the start of the program. After the obligatory pre race announcements and group photo, it was time to race. Due to the low turnout, the race program would proceed a bit quicker, which was fine by me.
My goal for the day was to rebuild my confidence following my crash from the week before. Still skinned up on my legs, and other areas, I tried to suppress my nervousness and keep a level head.
The order of the events for the category five riders was as follows:
First race: 9 Lap Points Race.
Second Race: 5 Lap Scratch Race, with a prime.
Third Race: 9 Lap Win and Out.
In the first race, I tried to maintain safe positioning in the pack while always having an escape route. As the laps dragged on, I got more and more comfortable within the group of ten total. I was also much happier with the newer gearing, I didn’t have to spin at at a cadence of one hundred and forty just to keep up. I didn’t really contend for points in the race until the last lap. In the end, I ended up in fifth place for the race.
The scratch race, was uneventful until the prime bell was rung. The kid from the Star Track team took the prize, I didn’t feel in a position to contend for it, and thus just kept contact with the front group. On the bell for the last lap, going into turn two and the back straight, I had to close down the gap to the top three. Unfortunately, having a guy on my wheel, allowed him to pass me at the start of turn three on my right. By that point, having done the work to close the gap, I didn’t have enough to fend him off, and thus stuck to his wheel bagging a fourth place finish.
The win and out, a race where every few laps they ring a bell, and the first person across the line at the first bell wins the race and pulls out of the race leaving the rest to keep on racing. At the next bell, they settle who’s getting second place, allowing the winner of that lap to pull out of the race. The third and last bell would determine third place and the end of the race.
Going into the race, I had heavy legs. One of the young riders in our group who was very strong ended up taking the win. I knew I could not challenge him and thus I didn’t try to waste my energies trying to beat him to then blow up and crawl around the track.
On the bell for second place, a couple of guys picked up the pace and I tried to stick with them, however I just didn’t have the legs to beat the guy with the rear disk wheel. On the final bell, one of the guys who was at the clinic with me got impatient and got on the front of the group between turn one and turn two. I knew that was way to soon, so I didn’t panic and just tried to keep out of the wind.
At the two hundred meter mark, the kid from Star Track took off, and I started to chase his wheel down. Coming onto the start/finish straight I put all I had into the pedals to try and beat him, even throwing the bike across the line, but the kid beat me by just a few inches. Thus I once again ended the race in fourth. And of course, for the day, I ended up in fourth place overall.
It felt good to get back on good terms with the track. I feel I’ll need a few more races to further build my confidence and then I can start to play around with tactics. I also have to figure out how I like to race? Am I a sprinter? Am I someone who can get separation on the field and sort of just Time Trial my way around? Lots to think about.