Finally a track day with no rain. Our last three Twilight races and the Labour Day race got rained out. This was also our final weekend race of the Vie 13 series. I got to the track early, and was greeted by a packed parking lot and a swarm of bicycles. Apparently the NYC Century ride was making a stop at the velodrome and having their riders do a few laps on the track.
After some discussion and calls with Alan and Jim, it turns out the city issued two overlapping permits for the track use. Alan had originally questioned it, and the organizer for the Century ride said no problem, so at twelve we closed the track so we could race, to the disappointment of many Century riders.
Going into this race, I signed up for the men category four field. There were not enough masters so I wanted to be sure to race in my category since I was leading it by a fourteen point margin. My closest competitor, John Hale, was the only one that could now beat me in the overall series, so my goal was to race very clinically and ensure he could not score enough points to take the overall lead on the last race.
For this event, I made two changes to Odyne (Goddess of Pain,) my track bike. I set my gearing to a 49×14 for a 94.5 gear inch, and I also dropped my handlebar by one spacer. A couple of other guys I have raced against in the past were going to be in my field, Bryam Mora, and Zak Abdullah.
The Officials made some minor schedule changes in order to help the judges score the points races.
- Race #1: Men Cat 4: 12 Lap Scratch: Race runs the determined number of laps; top 5 taken at the finish.
Right from the start whistle after the group bunched up, Zak attacked. Bryam, John and myself responded and we got into a nice pace line. In short order we had blown the rest of the field up. When it was my turn at the front, I favored slightly slower pulls in order to conserve energy in the hopes that the others would end up working harder and subsequently tire themselves out. At one point, after pulling off the front, and looking over my shoulder to get back in, I noticed John letting a gap open up. I have been screwed by this in the past and I was not taking any chances, so I dove in and made room as the third guy. With about two laps or so to go, John had dropped off, and Zak and Bryam managed to pull away from me. I decided they were not worth the energy to chase so I backed off while maintaining the gap on John, finishing in third place.
- Race #2: Men Cat 4: 8 Lap Tempo: Every lap the first two riders score 2 and 1 points respectively; the final lap scores 3, 2, and 1 point.
I started the race right behind John. The second whistle signaling the start of the race saw John make a jump. The usual suspects reacted and I went with them. I could not out sprint John to the line so he got full points. But after the first sprint, everyone let up and when they did, I attacked. I came around and I got full points on the second lap. I looked back and I had opened a sizable gap on the field. I decided to keep going. I tried to tuck in as best as I could to cut the wind resistance down. Images of my Kilo came to mind while I mercilessly drooled on myself. I came around and got full points on the third lap.
I looked back again, and once more the field was far enough back that I decided to keep the pressure on. On the back stretch, my legs were killing me. I managed to come around the start finish and get the full points on the fourth lap. I had now accumulated six points to John’s two. But, at this point, Zak and Bryam caught me, and left me behind in no man’s land with dead legs. For now, as long as John did pass me I was in a good place.
By the last lap I was just hoping to get the bike home. Going into turn three I noticed John closing in fast. I guess I had gotten too complacent, so I tried to limit the damage. I tried to pick up the pace going into turn 4, and then I even got out of saddle to sprint the straight but my legs were having none of it, and John beat me to the line picking up that last point. So at the end of the race, I had six points, and John had three. Zak and Bryam took the one and two spot, leaving me in third and John in fourth.
- Race #3: Men Cat 4: 12 Lap Points Race: Sprints every 3 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. Ties in points are broken by finish of last sprint.
The race got off to a good start. Looking over the results to refresh my memory, it looks like I got second place in the first sprint. I believe on this first sprint is where I purposely boxed Zak in behind Bryam which should assured me the second place in the sprint. On the second sprint, Bryam and Zak got one two and I got the third place this time. Going into turn one, I yelled at Bryam to stay down track in the sprinters lane since I was overlapping him, and he was showing sings that he wanted to pull up track.
Bryam complied and we managed to sort ourselves out. Going into the third sprint, Bryam had fallen back or at least out of my peripheral vision. What I remember is that Zak and myself coming onto the straight together for the third sprint. At the begging I was not sure I could out sprint him, but as we were mid way down the straight it felt good and I just went for it and I pipped Zak to the line.
That sprint had costed me, and I started to fall behind Zak and Bryam who had recovered and snuck back up ahead. I looked back and the rest of the field was no where to be seen. I tried to keep it together for the last few laps. On the last lap we started to lap a few riders. On the back stretch I noticed I was starting to close the gap on Zak who had been dropped by Bryam. My legs had lead in them and try as I might I was only able to close the gap down by so much before the finish of the race, third in the last sprint which put me in second place in the third race. Once again, I accomplished my goal.
Pending the official results, the third place in the Omnium to John’s fourth place should assure me the overall win in the weekend series. I skipped the feature race as my legs were quite shot, and mentally I have been exhausted with personal things at homes and regardless the feature race does not factor into the omnium. I feel that I executed my plan to perfection on my last track race of the season. I even got to have some fun in the last race, so this was a fitting end to an exhausting track season. Once Cyclcorss season ends and my 2019 seasons finally ends (after about nine months of racing), I’ll take a few weeks of recovery. I will then start training for next year’s track season, hopefully I can come out swinging for Six Days.