This race weekend was going to give us some practice for the New York State Sprint Track Championships. I was going to do the endurance championships a week or so back but I had a personal commitment and therefore I had to skip. Even though I am not a sprinter, I figured I will still go and do my best.
I also got my disc wheel back. Brean Shea “roto-fixed” the seized up cog, and my teammate Sean Hourigan glued up a new tubular. My garage is oppressively hot, and therefore I do not feel like doing much in there until the temperature drops. I am also back to using the tri-spoke front wheel along with the disc rear wheel.
For these events I choose to gear back up to my Keirin gearing, 50×14 for a 96.4 gear inch. I am finally sporting my Kissena teeshirt. I picked up the teeshirt and sweatshirt this way I have something to wear to and from the races that is team related.
The events for the day were as follows: 3 man team sprint qualifier, individual kilometer time trial, and the 3 man team sprint finals.
- Race #1: Team Sprint Qualifier: Teams will be composed of Three Men or Two Women. Each rider in a team must lead for one lap of the race. A rider completing the lap in which they lead must pull track within the designated zone. The penalty for exchange taking place outside the one is disqualification. The team sprints will be done in two rounds. The first will be a timing round and the second will be two-ups with the two teams starting on opposite sides of the track. The pairings will be based on matching-up teams with similar times.
I teamed up with Ben Noble, and John Jackson. Both strong riders. We decided the order should be the following: myself, Ben, and John. John is a fast sprinter even though he is a category 5 track rider. Ben has a huge motor in him so we figured he could keep things going and unleash John for the final lap.
We were the last team to line up. I will be honest that before racing, especially on the starting line, I get mini panic attacks. I have a hard time breathing, and I feel that my throat is closing up, and my heart starts racing. I usually try to engage in silly banter with the other competitors, or teammates and I try to breath in order to relax.
These events are all standing start events, which means we had holders holding us up as we got clipped in. A count down and suddenly I had to give myself a hernia to get on top of the gear. Many grunts later, transitioning to turn two I felt I was finally going. I looked back for a split second and saw the guys on my wheel so I looked ahed and kept cranking. I rode as hard as I could for my first and final lap.
As I entered turn three, I was greeted by tunnel vision. I could only see about a three by three foot patch of pavement in front of me. I had to concentrate very hard on keeping the bike in the sprinters lane, between the measurement line and the sprinters line. Coming onto the straight were we started, I barely saw the red pursuit line. As soon as my front wheel touched it, I pulled up track and let my teammates finish the race.
I cooled down for a lap or two. I was so shot that I could not leg go of my handlebars and go from the drops to the tops. Ben and John put in a good showing and we won the qualifier by 6.7 seconds.
- Race # 2: Kilo ITT: Individual Time Trial – 1,000m: This race starts from a standing start. The 1000m is two and a half laps and will start on the back stretch of the track and finish on the front stretch.
I have never raced the Kilo. So I was unsure how to approach it. After talking it over with Nick Gershberg, I was instructed that I should go out as hard as I could. Once my acceleration to racing speed was complete, I would need to get as aero as possible, and then ride it out, trying to slow down the least.
I approached the start on the back stretch of the track, where Alan did the task of holding the bike. I guess if I do not get herniated these standing starts will make me stronger. I did just as I planned. I went hard, and settled in. Barely a lap in, I was trying to control my breathing. Going into the final lap, with three quarters to go, I thought I would never see the end of the race.
Everything hurt. I kept willing my legs to turn the pedals. I was in full tunnel vision and once again I could only see small patches in front of me. Entering turn three for the last time, I felt I had dropped an anchor. I could not turn the pedals any faster. I started to grind my teeth coming out of turn four in an effort to get to the finish line and salvage what I could.
After the finish, and the final grunt to get over the line, I had to spin around the top of the track to calm down and return to normal. Once I stopped on the infield I was again shaking and I could not get off the bike. The times were as follows:
Not too shabby for my first ever Kilo and no aerobars. I was beaten by John Hale by 1.18 seconds. He did not ride the first event, so in fairness to me, I was already feeling the efforts from the first race in my legs.
- Race # 3: Team Sprint Finals: Teams will be composed of Three Men or Two Women. Each rider in a team must lead for one lap of the race. A rider completing the lap in which they lead must pull track within the designated zone. The penalty for exchange taking place outside the one is disqualification. The team sprints will be done in two rounds. The first will be a timing round and the second will be two-ups with the two teams starting on opposite sides of the track. The pairings will be based on matching-up teams with similar times.
We went last against the second place team. Alan Atwood suggested we change up the order of the team based on the 200 meter splits he recorded. He figured John Jackson should go first, I should go second and Ben should go third. John decided to change out his rear cog from a 13 to a 14. He felt that his setup was too big for him causing him to not be able to go as fast as he could.
On the line on the front straight, and the rival ream on the back straight, we set off on the whistle. The new gearing really got John to go and entering turn one I lost his wheel. I chased hard to get back on, and one lap in, he pulled up track. It took me a few long seconds to go by and I kept my intensity up. I was again in my tunnel visioned world, just hoping this agony would soon end. Red line on the front straight and I pulled up.
I looked back and realized that I had dropped Ben. Ben came around and finished the race, and I think he was also feeling the efforts from the previous races. We still managed to win despite falling apart as a team. Only the final times were given, and we clocked in at 1:39.94, while the second place team at 1:43.30, a 3.36 second advantage.
This was a good fun day, and good practice in events I seldom or never compete in.