With the end of the Kissena Twilight series, and having just upgraded from Category 5 to Category 4, I was itching to get a bit more racing done before turning my attention to Cyclocross. A few of the other guys I’ve raced with at Kissena felt the same. Some of them had already raced in Pennsylvania’s Valley Preferred Cycling Center, commonly known as T-Town, and they made a convincing argument to go race there.
So on Saturday, August 25, I organized a trip with Chris Salucci and Justin Pak. Having never been out there, I tried to figure out the best time to leave, allowing enough time to pick up my two travel companions who live in the city. I settled on departing my house at about six in the morning. That meant getting up around or just before five. No problem. The cats would make sure I’d be up by four forty five to feed them. No need for an alarm clock.
The trip out there went pretty smooth. I picked up Justin at the Kissena Velodrome parking lot, and scooped Chris up on 34th St between fifth and sixth. The traffic was quite light at that hour and we made good time getting out to T-Town even with a short bathroom brake.
Registration was going to open at ten thirty and we got there with an hour to spare. Fortunately for us, the track was open and we could haul all our gear in. I brought a ten by ten tent, I’m glad I did as it got quite sunny and hot during the day, folding chairs, repair stand, tools, cooler, bikes and our bags with our clothing, etc…
By the time we were setup, registration opened up, and we we were one of the first few to register for the Men’s category 4/5 field. Today’s program featured four races.
Back to the track, we got our bikes up and running and we rolled out to get some warm up laps in. By now many more riders were showing up and getting on the track.
My first impression. The track is butter smooth. The track is fast. The banking is huge compared to Kissena. In fact I geared up to a 49×14 for this track. It might have been a bit tall for me, but I think I will keep this even for next week. They also have a nice apron, and an easy way to get on and off the track.
I will not go into too much detail for the various races, because I honestly can’t remember much. I know in the first race, an 8 lap Tempo race, I got on Ben Noble’s wheel, a Cat 4 track guy but Cat 2 for road, and I was able to pick up some points, allowing me to finish in fifth place in that race.
I worked really hard in that race, and I was quite gassed by the end. The next race was a 15 Lap Points every 5 race. I don’t remember much of the race, just feeling quite spent after. The third race was a 12 Lap Scratch race. Our little kissena group wanted to organize a break halfway through the race, but it didn’t work out as planned. Again, another huge effort and coming off the track completely spent.
The last race planned was a 6 Lap Win & Out every 2 laps. A group broke off the front, and at that point my race was going to be for second or third. With a few laps to go for third place, I was in the sprinters lane on the wheel of a guy trying to stay in the draft for as long as I could. Sadly, on the back stretch before the end of the race, the guy in front of me slowed down as he was done. I procrastinated too long. I should have gone sooner, by time I decided to go, I had boxed myself in as the field came around, and I could not get out until most had gone by. Stupid, stupid, stupid. Live and learn.
All in all, it was a blast to race on that track. I had a great time. The facilities are real nice. After our race, we packed up, went for lunch and drove back home. I didn’t get home until about seven thirty, exhausted from racing and six hours of driving. Can’t wait to do it again next weekend.