Second week of track racing. My training has been suffering a bit with the rainy season we seem to have encountered as of late. Either way, this was the penultimate race before my vacation.
The weather was cool, mid fifties, with a very light drizzle in the air. Regardless, Alan decided to go ahead with the program. Rider turn out was a bit disappointing. The Men Category 4 field had six riders. Three juniors, and three adults. Two of the juniors from the previous week have moved up to Category 3.
The program for the Men Category 4 field consisted of the following:
- Race #1: 4 Lap Point-a-Lap: Every lap the first rider scores 1 point; the final lap scores 2 and 1 points.
- Race #2: 3 Lap Tempo: Every lap the first two riders score 2 and 1 points respectively; the final lap scores 3, 2, and 1 point.
- Race #3: 4 Lap Scratch: Race runs the determined number of laps; top 5 taken at the finish.
I spent the time before the race getting dressed, number pinned, and then getting a good five mile warmup in. I also did some openers on the track. Right before the start I tried to keep myself warm on my rollers. Due to the lower temperatures and the moisture in the air, I was going to be struggling with body heat. I also can not race track on cold legs. Especially since my injury from a few years back.
I wore my Craft long sleeve base layer, bib shorts with knee warmers, my borrowed long sleeve jersey, my white socks, and once again rocking white shoes. To top it off, my cool/cold weather head cover, helmet, long finger gloves and clear lenses on the glasses. The spittle in the air was such that after each race my lenses were completely wet.
In the first race, Zak Abdullah pulled hard early rewarding himself with points in the first two laps. However, Enzo Edmonds, a junior, lapped up the rest of the points from lap three to six. I ended with no points in this race but still finished fourth. Due to the cool air, I could not breathe through my nose as it had constricted.
During the race, I was trying to draft off the Star Track kids, but they played me well. Mid race, coming onto the start finish straight, the rider in front of me pulled off, leaving me to contend with the head wind. I should have sat up, and forced them to come back around to close the gap to Zak. That kid Enzo has a good kick/snap acceleration. By the time I realized I was not getting a second place finish, and by extension a point, I eased off.
The second race was going to be short. Something that seems to favor the junior riders and not me. The opening laps things heated up on the front with Enzo, Zak, and Jayden Li. On the second lap I managed to close down the gap to the front trio by setting a fast tempo, as I was approaching the bunch in the sprinters lane, and with the momentum to be able to offer up a challenge, Zak cut me off forcing me to back off, thus ruining my chances of trying to bag points in this lap.
Going into the final lap, the whole race was finally back together and it was a mad sprint to the finish. I managed to hold off Christopher Janaro and Jayden to finish in third place behind Enzo and Zak, bagging one point. This put me level on points with Jayden but tie breaker rules state that the points earned on the last lap weigh heavier, thus placing me ahead of Jayden and giving me the third place finish.
By now I was feeling it. Our third race got pushed up due to the Men Category 5 chariot race. They had heats so they wanted to give them a bit more recovery time before the final heat. Which meant less recovery for us.
In this race, the group started off slow, and we never really brought the pace up. I think the group was tired from the previous races. I wanted to stay extra vigilant during this race and try to respond to things quicker. I felt that if the group stayed together I had a good chance at a top three finish. I was struggling all night in ramping my cadence up to get on top of my gear when someone attacked. Once up to speed all was good. It was just quickly spinning up from 90 rpm to 120 where I was suffering. I tried to actively box in Enzo, while keeping myself up-track from him. He was still able to get out as Zak left him too much room.
On the straight, with the bell riding for the last lap, Christopher attacked on my right. I wasn’t expecting that. By the time I responded, so had the rest of the group. I tried to keep myself on the stayer’s line. I find that coming out of turn four, I always get passed by the guys up-track, so I wanted to be that guy. I guess there is an argument of which is better, the shorter distance (measurement line/ sprinters lane) versus more potential energy by further being up track, but needing to go further.
Coming out of turn four I was gaining a good amount of momentum, however, while flogging myself to get every ounce out of me, I almost lost the bike due to the bumpiness and damp track. I pulled up along side Zak but try as I might, even with a bike throw, I could not claw back those ten inches required to beat him. In the end I had to settle for third place.
All points tallied up and I finished the omnium in third place, behind Enzo and Zak. Leveling out the saddle definitely helped getting rid of the forward slide when hitting all the bumps on the track. I still have to practice getting low especially when getting pummeled by the wind. My next track race will be when I get back from my vacation. I never thought I would have to clean the track bike after a race, but due to a very damp or even wet race, a bike cleaning is now on my to do list. One more race on Saturday.