Time to race again. It has been about three weeks since our trip to the Giordana Velodrome. For the 2021 season TTown changed the timing of the Saturday races. Instead of starting at twelve noon, they now start at nine in the morning. The advantage is that they can run longer races, and possibly more fields. The bad news is that this means a crazy early rise for me, especially when picking up fellow races.
On Saturday morning, I rose at three, had breakfast, got dressed and hopped into the car by four. I made my first pickup in Sunnyside Queens: Ben Connolly. Within fifteen minutes we were in Manhattan picking up Leonardo Boiocchi, and fifteen minutes later Brean Shea.
Leaving The City behind, we made quick work of the one hundred and fifteen miles to the velodrome, arriving ten to eight. Registration took a few minutes along with moving the bikes and bags to the track infield. We had to use the overpass since they closed the tunnel at eight in order to open the track for practice.
By the time we were all ready to roll, we were able to get only fifteen or so minutes on the track before the riders meeting. At the meeting, they confirmed that due to low numbers, the Men 45+ (my field) would be combined with the Men 35+. This was now going to be a hard race since Matt Recchia was registered in the Men 35+ and he is a Category 2 racer.
- Race #1: 8Km Points Race (24 Laps.) Due to Covid they were not having us line up at the rail but instead utilizing a rolling start off the back of the track. Within a few laps after the start of the race, the strong guys in the field lit things up. A gap opened up and I worked too hard and too long in order to try to close it. I did not realize it, but my teammate Brean was behind me and I should have pulled off to allow the rest of the group to share the load. Sadly, by the time I pulled off, the damage was done and I could not hold on any longer. I decided to stay out there in No-Man’s-Land. I did not get up at three in the morning, put in three hours of driving, only to complete half a dozen laps in my first race of the morning. With about eight to ten laps to go I caught the group but just as I caught them they attacked and I got dropped again. No matter, I kept going. I did not want to get lapped, and I succeed in finishing all the required laps ahead of the field.
- Race #2: 5Km Scratch Race (15 Laps.) I tried to play it more conservatively in this race. I was still hurting from the previous race and I did not want to get dropped. I spent more time staying under cover and when my teammate attacked, I let the others do the chasing and I would get on the back. Unfortunately with about one lap or so to go they managed to open the gap by about ten meters, which held to the finish. I thought that I done a better job in this race. Had I been fresher, I think I could have finished with the group.
- Race #3: Elimination (down to the last rider.) I hate elimination races. At Kissena, in the Men’s 5 and 4 field, they tend to be a very nervous race with riders all over the track trying to get into spaces that do not exist. At T-Town I find it to be a bit more calmer. Also being in the Masters field, the racing is typically smoother. At this point, I had nothing left in my legs, but I did have enough in reserve to get two other competitors eliminated before the legs gave out, leaving the race as the third eliminated.
After the last race, we packed up and headed back home. By the time I got home after dropping the other three fellas off, it was five forty in the evening, and I was wrecked. All in all, I had a sobering day. My fitness is still no where near where I would like it to be. But I am glad to be in the Masters field because the race is smoother, and even if it is crazy hard, it is the best way to get better. If racing is too easy I will not push hard to improve.