Another Saturday race day at T-Town and another three in the morning wakeup call. On the way, the usual crew of Chris Salucci, Ben Connelly, and Brean Shea filled up the car. John Hale met us there as his mother wanted to see him race, so they went together. This was going to be a hard day for me since I decided to race in two fields to get an overload of training/racing. I signed up for the Men Category 4/5 and the combined Masters 35+ and 45+. I also put my GoPro on the front of my bike to record the action, or carnage.
Category 4/5 Men – 3Km (9 Laps) American Tempo. This field had a decent size to it, and with points on offer for the top two in each lap, and top three on the last lap, it was going to be fast from the start. A bunch went for the first set of points but sat up right after the finish line, I was wiggling my way through when one of the riders came down on me even after I yelled “stick” three times. We made some good shoulder contact. I was a bit apprehensive about going down and taking out the Star Track kid riding down track from me, but I kept the power on, and out of frustration I powered through to the front and took off for the next two points. I should have stayed on the gas for another lap to secure two more points. I am pretty sure I had it in me to do it, and the two I out sprinted to the line appeared to have momentarily sat up. Alas, instead, I let up hoping to come back for more later on, but I ended up blowing up with a few laps to go. I ended the race with two points putting me in 8th place overall.
Masters 35+/45+ – Flying Mile Scratch Race. Apparently Matt Recchia had a mechanical and was unable to start the race. Even without him the pace was high, and when the sprint got fully engaged, I was starting to get gapped off finishing in seventh place. This group of racers are fast, but better composed than the young folks in the 4/5.
Category 4/5 Men – Flying Mile Scratch Race. A repeat of the previous race, only with the category 4/5. This race starts off with about a lap and a half of not quite neutral riding. First rider at the mile mark sets off the gun and the race is full on for four and a half laps. In the end, I powered my way up to a third place finish to the angst of Ben Connolly who was trying to persuade me to go early since he was boxed in behind me. I held off to when I thought would be a good time to launch my sprint.
Masters 35+/45+ – 5Km (15 Laps) American Tempo. By now I was hurting, and this race got blown to bits right away. Between the rain, and a guy dropping his chain, I ended up getting lapped and was just happy to get off the track and survive.
Category 4/5 Men – Elimination, down to two riders. I hate eliminations or Miss-And-Outs. I am working on improving so my goal was to stay up towards the front, third wheel up the track. I did manage to do that for the early part of the race, but just before half way through I got complacent, and before I realized it I had dropped back and there was no one else behind me. I tried to slot up again but Ben Connolly squeezed me out putting me in eleventh place. I guess this was revenge for boxing him in in the Mile Scratch race.
Masters 35+/45+ – Elimination, down to two riders. By now I was completely shot. I knew the Masters were going to be unforgiving, and they usually come out all guns blazing for an elimination race. We joke that this venue has the “T-Town Start.” What this means is that the race is basically hot right from the rail. I was able to hang on a bit and survive a couple eliminations, but that did not last long. With my legs completely torched, I bowed out in fourteenth place.
At this point I was completely blown and shaking, so I decided to ignore the Feature A race which was going to be a 40 Lap Scratch Race. Participating in two fields creates a disadvantage in that you do not get a lot time to recover between races. But for a good training load it is a great way to push yourself to get fit.