Back to a full evening of racing at the track. The following races were on the schedule for Category 5:
7 Lap Point-a-Lap Race: each lap the first rider across the line scores 1 point. The final lap the first rider receives 2 points and the second rider receives 1 point. Tie breaker is decided by the finish on the last lap.
7 Lap Scratch: Race runs the determined number of laps; top 5 taken at the finish.
And finally a Miss & Out: Starting at end of lap 2 the last rider across is eliminated (as judged by the trailing edge of the rear wheel) and must withdraw from the race. When five riders remain, riders get one free lap, a bell, and next lap determines the places in the race (as judged by the leading edge of the front wheel).
I was on the fence on how to race the first race. The goal is to pick up as many points as possible, since getting them all is impossible. It also was going to depend on who was in the field and how many other points other racers could snatch.
Once we set off from the rail, the whistle came rather quickly and Robert Peras setup a quick pace to grab the first point on offer. Right after the pack shifted. I made sure to stay towards the front so I could attack when the right moment presented itself. On lap 2, Kenly Lau went off hard and grabbed the second point, and promptly swung up track to let the front group by. On the back straight, the guy, or kid, who’s wheel I was on swung up track. I had to quickly make a decision:
- Stay in the wind and gradually get beaten down.
- Find cover by getting get back on a wheel.
I opted for number three. I figured an attack earlier in the race might take some by surprise and give me a bit of an advantage. I ramped up to get on top of my gear as fast as I could. I managed to get the point for lap 3. I kept going. I figured I had enough for another fast lap, and if I could get a good gap on the field, I might as well stay off the front and make them work hard to catch me. As a matter of fact, coming out of turn two I had the field strung out with a decent gap on the riders behind me. I got the point for lap 4. I kept going. Unfortunately the front of the field was finally starting to catch up, and I was getting tired.
On the back stretch, Andre Abdool attacked, and bridged the gap between turn three and four. At this point I didn’t have anything to respond, Andre brought with him another rider. By the time we passed the start finish I was now back in fourth place.
Andre Abdool rode off the front on and grabbed one more point. I worked to stay in contact with the two riders in front of me. I was hoping to have enough left in the tank to execute another attack on the last lap, but sadly, I was fading fast. As soon as more riders came past me, my hopes were dashed of getting any more points, I decided to conserve for the next races. Leron Calistro outsprinted Francesco Cairoli for first place. Thus, Leron Calistro, Andre Abdool, and I were tied with two points each, but tiebreaker rules had me in 3rd place. Still not bad.
For the second race, being a 7 lap scratch, my plan was simple. I figured the field would roll relatively easy in the early part of the race. With two to go I was going to attack. Things progressed as planned. However, William Wu Chen attacked in turn 4 right before two laps to go. He came around uptrack from behind. Seeing him out of the corner of my eye, got me to go into chase mode, and I propelled myself to the front of the field.
The chase was on. On the back stretch, I had a bit of a gap on the field, so they had to work just as hard as me. Bell ringing the final lap, I was closing in on William, but so were a few of the other races.
I finally caught William on the back stretch, and here is where I made a mistake. I decided to come up on his wheel and take a breather for a few pedal strokes. But I was carrying too much speed, or he was slowing too much, so I also had to slow a tiny bit. Seeing this as futile, I re-accelerated to get past William. By now I had several riders on my wheel, including Francesco.
Coming down the straight as much as I pushed myself, I could not fend off Francesco, but I did best Andre Abdool to take second place.
Third race was going to be my first miss-and-out race. By now, I was quite gassed. I decided to try and sit just behind the front group and try to race a bit conservatively. After our neutral lap, the race was on. Right away I was not comfortable in this race. Everything was moving around: wash, rinse, repeat. Also many of the riders were wiggling around which made me quite nervous. Each time we approached the finish line, there was a lot of surging and erratic movement from the people desperately trying not to be eliminated.
I was feeling very uncomfortable. After the first two riders were eliminated, I misjudged the group and my number was called. Race over. In the end, I wasn’t too disappointed due to how uncomfortable I was feeling in this race. In the future I think I need to race this kind of race at the front.
With the points added up from a third, and second place finish, I was able to get a third place finish in the Omnium for the night. Not bad.
Things are definitely getting better on the track. I think being more aggressive and using more of my road fitness to my advantage, over some of the racers who only have track fitness, and are good at short distances is playing a part. I find if I can get the pace up high enough, they can’t sprint. Also for the points race, I really should have tried to get the points later in the game. They are worth more in the sense of tie breakers. However, since an opportunity presented itself, I took it, and still ended up with a decent result.