Edit: Official results came out, and got third in the snowball, and thus fourth in the Omnium. Still not complaining.
Two weeks ago, I worked AR (Assistant Referee) at the first race in this series. The turn out was quite disappointing so I decided to race the second race. I signed up for the Men Category 4, and the Masters 40+ Category 1,2,3,4. I am a glutton for punishment.
For this race, I decided to change up my gearing. I swapped my chainring over to a 48t from a 51t and my cog from a 15t to a 14t. That moved me up from a 91.8 to a 92.6 gear inch. I felt I needed a bit more top end. I was finding that on I would hit around 123+ rpm and have no where to spin up from there, and then watch everyone else pull away. Basically I was maxed out. Instead of making a big jump in gears, I am trying to bring my gearing up as gradually as I can with what I have, and grow into it.
The other big change was to install the rear disc wheel and the tri-spoke front wheel I purchased used over the winter for very cheap. These wheels can be used for both road and track, therefore the presence of a brake track. These wheels came with brand new tyres (Vittoria Open Corsa Evo CX), the rear is a tubular (that means that the tyre is glued on) and the front is a standard clincher.
I am finally feeling comfy racing track after a bunch of races so I though this was a good opportunity to try out all this new stuff. Last but not least, I finally got my skin suit for use with track. The thing is indeed very tight. In reality I am probably a medium-plus but they do not make them.
The weather was quite warm and sunny. There was also a bit of a breeze, noticeable as a headwind on the back stretch. I declined to setup my 10×10 tent due to the wind and the fact they were racing only two fields due to low turnout: Men 1/2/3, and Men 4/5. I figured we would be done in no time. A nice change from Wednesday nights, they allowed ample time between events, so we ended up staying there longer then I initially expected.
I got some laps in to warm up and see how I would get along with my new hardware. I decided that the disc wheels under the conditions was not going to be an issue. The gearing felt a bit harder but not something I was regretting. I wanted to have an active race today, so, being without any teammates, I approached another strong rider with out teammates, Alyosha Smolaraki, and asked if he wanted to work with me. We agreed and thus off we went…
- Race # 1: 12 Lap Scratch: Race runs the determined number of laps; top 5 taken at the finish.
Right when the whistle was blown, Alyosha attacked. I sat in on the chasing group, and as he was reared in, I launched a massive attack. I drilled it for what felt like forever. But then I pulled off and left the group come by. I think at this early stage in the race we were already down to four.
We had shattered the group. The four of us kept on taking pulls. It was nice getting back in the draft after a hard effort on the front. We ended up lapping the riders off the back, which created a bit of confusion on how to safely get by with out compromising our rotating pace line.
Our new apprentice official, Michelle Kathleen was manning the Bell and Laps, and in what I am assuming was the lapped rider confusion she accidentally showed us four laps to go twice. So we basically raced 13 laps. With four laps to go (which four?) I could not wait for the race to end. I was in a world of hurt trying to keep a fast pace going in order to deny anyone the opportunity to pull away. With about two laps to go or so (who is counting when you are hurting…) I looked back and realized we were down to three.
Going into the bell lap, coming off turn two I attacked. Alyosha stayed with me and then he was able to pass me going into turn three. He finished ahead of me in first place and I kept second.
Race # 2: 5 Lap 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 (if I recall 5,4,3,1).
I was quite spent from the first race. The race got going again with Alyosha getting off the front. He managed to get the points on the first three laps if I recall. Since the points for the first guy across the line, there was no sense in killing myself in order to challenge him early on.
With two laps to go I was coming around some another rider up track when that person started to move into me. I yelled three times for him to stay, and he finally did. But that caused me to loose some of my momentum and I ended up having to close the gap on Alyosha and the other rider with him on the back stretch into the wind. I was hoping for a set of points on the next to last lap, but I just could not finish closing the gap and getting past them. However, the last lap, I poured it all out and managed to finish second behind Alyosha who on points won the race, and giving me a second place finish with four points. Tactic wise, it worked out this time.
Race #3: 1 Lap Chariot: 1 lap standing start race. Holders required. Holders may push the rider at the start but may not cross the finish line of their own free will.
It was decided to scrap the points race since all the other riders except the four of us wrecking the race had now pulled out. The CR (Chief Referee) called for a Chariot race. I have only done one or two of these, and I never felt any good at them. Furthermore, I am not a good sprinter, and therefore I prefer longer events like the first race.
My holder was non other the Brean Shea. I was second one up on the starting grid. On the whistle, I got a very good push I pulled on the bars with all my might and mashed and pulled as hard as I could on the pedals. Five strokes in I was in a good place when disaster struck. I pulled my left foot off of my pedal. At that point there was no way to get it back in. I tailed the riders with one foot clipped in but at this point I was not challenging for any kind of win. Fourth is still fourth as long as I finished the race and good for some omnium points.
With the events completed except for the feature race, in the Men Category 4/5 Omnium, I ended up placing in second place behind Alyosha.
Race #4: The feature: Antioquena: A combined point-a-lap at the front, elimination at the back of the race for each lap. When down to 3 riders remaining it becomes a 5 lap scratch race. 5,3,2 points available at the finish. Scoring will be based on the highest number of points accumulated by finishing riders, then if necessary the highest number of points accumulated by those riders that were eliminated.
This was open to any of us. So I was going to be racing with the 1/2/3 as well of what was left of the 4/5. I survived the first elimination, but then I got complacent and I got pulled out on the second call. I was feeling quite spent so maybe that was a good thing. I did not feel too bad since Ben Noble got pulled right after me, he is a strong category 3 track and category 2 road racer. Just goes to show, elimination races shows no bias.
Good day, good experimenting, and good lessons in being mean on the track. I think, looking at some of the pictures, not posted here since I do not yet have permission to do so, that I still need to get my upper body lower. Other then that, I just have to keep racing and experimenting.
Great thanks to the race director James Lyman, CJ Ken McGuiness, CR Karl Dittebrandt, and AR/Apprentice Michelle Kathleen. Also thanks to the EMT folks, the photographers, and of course all the ladies and gentlemen who came out and raced.