After the sadness from last week (see A Void in our Heats) I had a very hard time racing on Wednesday night. I tried but I could not engage in the races and in the third race I bowed out after only two laps. I also skipped T-Town on Saturday deciding to only race Sunday. This bit of reset might have been what I needed.
Attendance was quite anemic, therefore the fields got combined as follows: Men 1/2/3 as the first field, and Masters 40+, Women 1/2/3, and Men 5 for the second field. It was quite hot and windy. Our ten by ten pop up tents were having a hard time staying down, even with stakes or weights. I am still having trouble with my 14t cog seized to my disk wheel, so am still using my stock wheels on a 52×15 setup for a 93.6 gear inch. I want to ride that gear combination in order to become accustomed to it. I am hoping it will give me a bit more top end while allowing me to spin it up and get on top of it with out killing myself.
This was also going to be my first race with my new Dura-Ace bottom bracket and crank, paired with a Stages power meter on the left crank arm. I will finally have power in my race numbers in the hopes to gain a batter understanding of my track racing.
- Race #1: 10 Lap Scratch: Race runs the determined number of laps; top 5 taken at the finish.
This race was going to have a twist. A prime was on offer during the race and the winner of the prime would then choose the third race. Brean Shea, a very good tactician, attempted a small attack right away. Another rider and I followed him. You can not give him any room to go, or he will open a gap that will be very difficult to close, especially with the wind whipping about the track. The prime bell came relatively early in the race, and I tried to challenge a sprinter for it, but I missed out. We did have a small gap on the rest of the group, but the person who won the prime was done and fading, so I would get no help from him in order to stay away.
I faded back to the group. That is when some of the bigger riders attacked including Terrence Chioffi, he is very strong, followed by Dave Geissert, and Andrew Wilhelm. I gathered myself up and chased the group down. By the last lap I had closed the gap to Andrew, and I knew by turn three I could make the pass. I checked back and thought I saw someone in the distance chasing but, my attention was back to Andrew since going into turn three he was drifting up track, therefore I had to pay close attention to him. At the end of turn three, Brean caught me and passed me. He took me by surprise so I did not have the kick ready to challenge him.
In fact, Andrew tried to make a final move on me, and I had to accelerate a bit more before the finish to ensure he did not make the pass. In the end I finished fourth. In the process we decimated the women field (only one lady racing) and the category five riders.
- Race #1: International Tempo 12/3: International Tempo – Following a bell after a certain number of laps (listed in the schedule after the total # of laps), the first rider across the start/finish line on each lap afterwards will collect 1 point, including the finish. There will be a bell at the start of the points laps and for the final lap.
Early in the race, Brean faded back. While we were busy marking the strong guys, in anticipation of their move, Brean attacked coming out of turn two and took Terrence Chioffi with him. I tried to go but I did not have the legs to get on the move and they opened up a good gap on the field.
I settled in with Andrew Wilhelm and Dave Geissert in trying to pull back the guys up front. We each took pulls for a turn and a straight. Unfortunately, no matter how hard we rode, we could not shut down the gap. Going into the last lap, on the back straight, Dave kicked. I tried to go leaving Andrew behind, but I just could not match Dave. In the end, I finished fourth again with zero points.
- Race #3: 5 Lap Snowball: 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.
Somehow Terrence Chioffi got off the front. The lesson here is that when moves happen in track it is too late to react to them. Déjà vu. Andrew, Dave, and myself made up the rotating pace line trying to pull Terrence back. It just was not working. I found that Andrew was fading, and not pulling as hard as I would have preferred.
This time I tried to anticipate Dave’s kick on the back stretch, and I almost did. Unfortunately I still could not beat him to the line. This race ended with Terrence in first, Dave in second, and me in third place with one point on the last lap. For the overall omnium, I finished in fourth place.
- Race #4: Feature: Blackjack Points: Run as a points race; sprints every 5 laps; 5, 3, 2, and 1 point awarded for top 4 in each sprint. Riders gaining laps on the designated field will earn 20 pts; riders losing laps on the designated field will lose 20 pts. The race ends when a rider secures at least 21 points; air horn will sound to signify the end of the race. Ties in points are broken by finish of last sprint.
Everyone mixed together for the feature race. I think most of us where quite tired by now. I do not remember much but I do remember that Lucas, from the Pink Rhino Team, got a good lead on the main field with a few others. Fatigue was setting in. I ended up back with David and Andrew for a rotating pace line. That fell apart, and Chris Salucci bridged up to me, and tried to go, but I put my head down and stayed on his wheel.
This eventually turned into another three person pace line with Chris, and Dave. At some point we picked up Paige Williams, the only lady racing, since we had just lapped her. Not knowing who had how many points, we were just settling in to keep going round and round until someone would win the race. Luckily for us, it was not long before the airhorn was blown as Lucas accumulated the full amount of points needed to end the race.
Thus concluded a fun day of hard racing out in the hot summer sun. But racing hard races with faster people is my recipe to make me stronger track racer. I also think I am comfortable in my gear selection, a few more races will either confirm or deny my choice.
The good news is that in the overall standings for the series, I am now in first place for the Men Category 4, but I dropped down from third to fourth place in the Masters 40+.