This race was dedicated to Robyn Hightman, and we seemed to have a decent overall turn out on this ninety degree day. At least we had a bit of a breeze to keep us from evaporating. The sun was definitely strong, I should have used some sunblock, but, I am banking on my fifty percent Sicilian genes that I will just brown nicely like I used to as a kid when I ran around all summer in the Tuscan sun.
Due to a shortage of Masters, the few of us who showed up decided to race in our respective categories. Even so, the men category four was still feeling quite sparse.
- Race #1: Men’s Cat 4: 8 Lap Scratch: Race runs the determined number of laps.
Right at the whistle in turn two, Corey Williams attacked. Bryam Mora chased down the attack. I was glad to let others work, especially this early in the race. Bryam caught Corey, who we then all passed, and I did not see him again. Bryam was able to open up a gap of about seventy meters on the rest of us.
With about two and a half laps to go, I took a pull on the back stretch leading around to the finish line to see if we could bring Bryam back. I looked back and the whole field was on my wheel. Going into turn one I pulled up to let others do the work, but they were not having any of it. I therefore stopped the chase and slowed up. I was not going to to be the only fool to tow the whole field up to the front of the race. I guess the rest were happy to settle for second place and down.
On the last lap, I timed my attack poorly, and I let John Hale get past and nab second place. I got third place, keeping the other riders at bay.
- Race # 2: Men’s Cat 4: 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. If heats are required, they will qualify a number of riders to be announced by the start for each heat, with the final being held at a time to be determined by the race promoter.
So far this season I am not having any luck with these standing start races. I was hoping this one would be different. James Lyman volunteered to be my holder/thrower, and while he was holding my bike, I ensured my feet where clipped in by pulling up hard on the pedals, almost bouncing the bike.
At the whistle, James gave me a good push, and low and behold, a few pedal strokes in, my left foot popped out of the pedal. I watched as the others started to pull away. With some good fortune, I was able to get my foot clipped back in, which can be difficult on a fixed gear bike. I stood up and, now completely pissed off, I mashed as hard as I could. I stayed out of saddle all the way down the back stretch. By then I finally felt like I was flying, so going into turn three I sat down and spun the pedals hard and fast.
I was able to finishing fourth. Unfortunately I did not properly start my Garmin so I did not get a record of my monster effort in this event.
- Race # 3 : Men’s Cat 4: 9 Lap Win & Out: First sprint at 6 to go; winner of that sprint wins the race and may retire. Second sprint at 3 to go, winner of that sprint is 2nd place in the race and may retire. Remaining riders sprint at the finish for 3rd place on.
Final race of the afternoon. We were definitely feeling the heat by now, so I was glad to finally get this last race going. Bryam Mora once again got off the front, and opened up a good gap. I was not going to try to go with him since if I did not win the sprint I would have to stay in the race. In hindsight that might have been a mistake, and it will become evident later.
I let Daniel Engesetter and John Hale set the pace upfront. They did not seem to want to share the work load, so I figured I wold sit in and let them wear themselves out. I had planned to attack for the second place finish coming out of turn two going into the back stretch. I could tell that the two in front of me were getting fatigued. I must have telegraphed my move, because Corey Williams jumped a second before me from behind me, and by the time I realized it, I did not have the reaction time I needed to fend him off. I did chase Corey, but I realized in turn three that I would not be able to overtake him.
I looked back and I saw that the others were fading in the distance. With Corey getting second place, I decided to stay out front and see if I could grab third place finish. I put my head down and gritted my teeth and rode in No Mans Land for about three and a quarter laps. During the last few laps, I would occasionally look back and noted that John was about a hundred meters behind me. I just kept going and kept telling my tired legs to keep pedaling. Coming out of turn four on the last lap, I knew at that point that John would not be able to catch me so I let up and rolled past the finish line in third place.
In hindsight, I should have gone with Bryam. Even if I did not win the sprint for first place, it might have given me a big enough gap to do what I did for third place and potentially nab second place.
I skipped the feature race, and I decided to start packing up. I ended up in fourth overall. I am more disappointed with my Chariot race. I have to find out why my left pedal always pulls out. I might even switch to the track specific pedals that Speedplay has on offer. If I change pedal systems I have to get new shoes. One theory I just thought of is that in the initial power strokes at the start of the race, I might be twisting my foot sideways enough to engage the release mechanism on the pull up phase of my pedal stroke.