I signed up for the 2018 Kissena Omnium. This was going to be my first race since gaining my category 4 upgrade on track. However, the field I’d compete in was going to be the Men’s 4,5 field. This was also going the be the day I planned on trying out a 91.8 gear-inch setup, up from my 90 gear-inch I had been running.
The first race was the Flying 500m Scratch Race Heats (odd/even). They broke us up into ods and even, and at number 72, I was in with the even group. We started the race off the rail. Transitioning from turn three to four they would blow the whistle and the race would be on for 500 meters. The rolling start was supposed to be conducted at a brisk twenty mile an hour pace give or take.
When the whistle came, I had the advantage of being a bit uptrack and I accelerated hard. A Pink Rhino guy, I believe Tim Clark, was off the front and I chased him down hard. In turn three and four, Chris Saluci came by on my right followed by Giovanni Ramirez, who boxed me in behind a fading Tim in the sprinters lane. However, I managed to get a fourth place finish gaining me an entry to the finals.
The second race was going to be the dreaded Miss & Out. For this they were going to combine the Men 1,2,3 and our group into one big happy family. I thought it would be a bit unfair even if they were scoring the groups separate, as the 1,2,3s would have an effect on our Men’s 4,5 race. I tried to stay out of elimination zone for the first half of the race. It was definitely a smoother affair then the one I experienced in the Category 5 races. None the less, I was subject to some racing tactics new-ish to me. All fair, I am still learning.
My legs were getting quite tired, and I was slowly fading towards elimination. Elimnation finally came, causing me to finish in ninth place. Not terrible for a race that I’m still trying to figure out.
After our ten minute recess, we had our finals for the qualifiers and non qualifiers in the Flying 500 Scratch race. More or less same as before except that all the heavy hitters from the 4,5 field would be in my race. I managed to get a sixth place finish in a very tightly contested finish. It took some time for the judges to figure out the finishing order with the help of the slow motion camera, read iPad.
After some rain interruption the Men 1,2,3 combined with the Men 4,5 were in for a for a fifteen lap Scratch race. Rumor had it that some of the guys were going to push the pace hard from the start.
In the opening laps, I was doing good job to stay in, and keeping up with the surges that were happening. In the second half of the race I ended up on the wheel of Robert Marcus from the Pink Rhino team. Not such a good idea. His big frame sheltered me well, but he let a gap open ahead of him. At the moment I noticed the gap, I didn’t feel I had the ability to get past him. I need a bit more leg speed. Coming into the back stretch, I worked hard to close the gap. Silly me I didn’t realize that I had about five or six other guys on my wheel. In turn three I went up track to let them go by and dropped down to get back on but I was blown. I ended up teaming up with the two star track kids trading pulls to keep going as hard as I could for the remaining three or four lap. I was hoping not to get pulled out of the race due to the main field lapping us. Thankfully it didn’t happen and I was able to complete the race in twelfth place.
Last event of the afternoon the 400m Standing Start Time Trial (TT). I was one of the people that was going to start towards the end. I wanted as much recovery time as possible from the big scratch race I had just finished.
400 meters at Kissena is one full lap of the track. They had the human holder setup so we could go off at the Pursuit line. The Pursuit line is the red line at each center of the straights serving as the start and finish line for “pursuit”-races.
Clipped in and being held, the official counted down: Three, two, one, GO! I pushed down hard to get the bike rolling. I immediately realized that I really didn’t have the pedals setup in the best position. Too late now. I mashed hard trying to propel myself down the rest of the straight and into turn one. I kept out of saddle to keep the acceleration going for as long as I could. But entering turn two, the rear started hopping all over the place. I also managed to spin the rear tire out. Finding it difficult to stay out of saddle, I planted myself down and tucked in. I kept spinning/mashing as hard as I could. With my faculties diminishing, and the bumpiness of turn three and four, I think I backed off a smidget to avoid disaster.
I think I must have taken only three of four breaths during the whole race in an attempt to go all out. I clocked a time of 33.80 seconds, giving me a fifth place finish in the Category 4,5 group. Pulling into the pit, I was completely gassed.
The results show that I ended in seventh place overall in the Omnium out of 15. Not bad for my first category 4 event, with also included some 1,2,3 guys in the bigger events. I had a fun day. I had a borrowed 10’x10’ pop up tent which I annexed with the Pink Rhino tent, and many of us hung out under the shade it provided for much of the day. All in all, it was a good fun day of racing.