Thursday, June 12, 2008

1st Track Tuesday

[photo by Gary- thanks!]

It's that time of year again- track Tuesdays have begun. I've gotta admit, I wasn't too pumped for the velodrome, but it's great training, and it's always fun to hang out in the infield.

Well, might as well get the race writeup over with. The order of events was pretty interesting, as they had a printout, but then sprinkled finals all throughout it. There were 3lap sprints for everyone, and they usually only ran heats of about 5 or 6 people at a time, then did finals later on in the program.

I think there were 6 or 7 women, but we had a vote and decided to do one race instead of breaking it up. I was pretty rusty and a little squirrelly for that race, I'm afraid. It got off to a good brisk start, though, which is a huge improvement over races last year. Around the third turn in the first lap, I was sitting toward the back of the pack when everyone started slowing down. When someone ahead of me slows down (and this is something I picked up from road racing/riding) I aim to one side of their rear wheel in case I can't slow down in time. Well, I aimed left and the bike just seemed to shoot through the turn between the blue and red lines. Luckily there was no one down there because they wanted someone to take the lead, but I should have been more careful and on my game.

So I wound up in front of the pack for the beginning of the second lap. I gradually slowed and took up a brisk, easy pace. I was watching for a jump while cruising along, and sure enough there was a jump in the stretch before the third turn. I got up off the saddle and managed to only let two gals pass me, which was a decent position to be in, I felt. That's pretty much how it stayed, at a good fast pace, for the rest of the race. The three of us in front put some distance between ourselves and the rest of the pack over the last lap. For the final sprint, I tried getting up off the saddle, but my legs were jello-y, so I sat back down and was making up some ground, but not enough. I was pulling up on second place but ran out of space.

The next race for me was the snowball (First lap winner gets 1 pt, second lap, winner gets 2, second gets 1, etc). I wasn't too thrilled about it because it involves tactics and I have never been very good at track tactics. Either I slip up or get impatient, but either way you can bet on my tactics being in a pile on the side of the track by the third turn of the first lap.

The snowball started out with a good jump by one of the women. Early on I had kind of made up my mind to go for the first lap. Few others would really want it, and hey, it's a point. Then, with my awesome recovery times from mountain biking (theoretically) I would go for the third lap and try to place at least second in the fourth and fifth laps. Well, on the first lap I did as planned. I sat behind, and on the stretch I got ahead for the point (that's the picture above). I sat back a bit, made sure I was right behind the next jump and got third in the second lap. I took the third lap and got another 3rd place in the fourth lap. For the fifth lap, everyone was giving it what they had (5 points, come and get 'em!). I was sitting behind third place, and 1st and 2nd made a little breakaway. I assumed I couldn't catch the breakaway with someone to go around, so I sat behind third for a while- I should have gotten around her! When I finally did, I realized I was making up good ground and coming up fast during the homestretch. I managed to squeak my way into second place, which I think would have won me 1st or 2nd had it been the traditional points system. However, they were only awarding points for 1st, not 2nd on any of the laps, so I wound up with 4 points and third place.

Still, it's another lesson in Not Hesitating. It was the last lap, I should have just given it what I had. The breakaway consisted of two young Cat 3 road racers. I had more left and they were tiring. If I would have started my bid earlier, I could have quite possibly won the fifth lap. Coulda Woulda Shoulda, right? Next time.

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