Back to track racing with some changes. I decided to move up to a 90 gear-inch from the 88.3 I was running the past few races. This means going from a 49×15 to a 50×15. This week they decided to split the Category 5 riders up into two groups due to the size of the field. It seems that they choose the split based on experience, not necessary fastests. So those with numbers from 400 to 430 were placed in Group 1, while the rest ended up in Group 2. The theory is that the lower numbers have been racing at the track for a while now, since they give the lower numbers out first. At least that’s my assumption on the reasoning. Having number 400, I was in was going to be in Group 1.
Now that I’m more comfortable on the track, I decided that maybe I should start to listen to advice from my friends, who have track experience.
The schedule had our group racing first: 3 lap Super Tempo. It featured an extra neutral roll out lap at the start, so really four laps to complete. Super Tempo – Every lap the first three riders score 3, 2 and 1 points respectively; the final lap scores 5, 3, 2, and 1 point.
Rolling off the rail, we rode nice and steady for our neutral lap, but once we crossed the start finish, the gloves came off. William Wu Chen, a strong contender who has been doing well this season, a strong kid, got on the front and went for the first set of points.
Just as told, I attacked coming out of turn 1 going into turn 2. I caught William and the other rider with him, and then I proceed to open the gap by the time I was coming out of turn 4. I bagged full points. Off the front, I just kept the pace going in the sprinters lane. I didn’t look back so I have no idea how much off the front I was, but I forced myself to keep my head up and just bury myself. Coming out of turn 4, I think I started to hear some wheels coming on me. I did all I could to keep myself from straying out of the sprinters lane and managed to cross the line first, bagging the most points. So, three plus five, gave me eight points and the win for the race.
Second race, a 5 lap Snowball. Snowball – Lead rider each lap scores points, winner of the 1st lap gets 1 pt, with each subsequent lap earning 1 more point. Finish points will be announced on the rail before the start. It seems they were going to award, 5, 2, 1 points for the top three finishers.
Rolling off the rail, the whistle came early, between turn 1 and 2. I guess we did a good job of bunching up. Again, couple of guys started heating things up right away. I sat just off the front, trying to stay as sheltered as I could. It was windy, it was especially felt in turn 3/4. You could feel the bike wobble a lot in that section. Robert Peras got the first point on the first lap. Justo Zamorano got 2 points on the second lap and 3 on the third lap.
With two and a half laps to go I made my move. I exploded out of the pack and I got lap four for 4 points. Now, I just tried to keep the pace high and get to the finish as soon as possible. Four hundred meters (quarter of a mile) never felt so long.
Coming out of turn 4, Francesco Cairoli, was on my wheel. He seems to be a strong guy, but he needs to work on his handling. I think a bunch of riders had to yell at him to hold his line. On the start/finish straight, my legs were screaming, and I saw him come around me out of the corner of my eye. I tried to hold him off, but he got me at the line by mere inches. This gave me 2 points and Francesco got 5. However, adding everything up, I won the race with 6 points.
The final race of the evening was going to be a 6 lap Scratch. Scratch – Race runs the determined number of laps; top 5 taken at the finish. My goal was to attack with two laps to go. That’s if my legs had anything left in them. We rolled off, and the whistle never came even though we were all bunched up. Coming around the start/finish we told the official who then blew the whistle.It appears that he forgot. The race didn’t really heat up in the early laps. I think most were tired or just waiting for the final laps.
There was some jockeying for position. I didn’t feel I had much left in the legs, and thus I didn’t attack with 2 laps to go. Coming across the line with two laps to go, I heard the coach of William Wu Chen yell at him to go. At that point, William was behind me. Hearing the coach, I knew I had to go or all would be lost. However, being harder to spin up the bigger gear, William was able to get past me and open a large gap in turn 2. I tried chasing. I thought I had enough in the tank to bring him back, and I was hoping that he would tire more than me. On the back stretch I was going as hard as I could trying to bridge up to William, but I was also sucking to much wind.
I figured someone was on my wheel, but if I didn’t try to put the pain on the pack I don’t think I would have been able to outsprint some of the other guys. I would have been kicking myself if I had backed off. Coming out of turn 4 with my hopes fading of catching William, Francesco Cairoli was able to launch his attack. I tried to respond, but the legs had nothing. I even got up off the saddle to try to give it more, but that was a bad idea, at this point, my legs were beyond jello. Thus I had to be settle for a third place finish.
The good news: I scored enough points to win the Omnium for Week 10 for the Category 5 Group 1. I can’t complain, actually I’m quite happy with the result. Sadly, no video was taken of my first race since Miki, the resident video guy, showed up just after I had finished my first race.