Monday, March 05, 2007


It's All About the Race

D-Bo Gets the game face onLast weekend was a weekend of firsts. Not first places, silly - first experiences. At the ripe (young) age of ..... probably older than you, I did my first CRIT. Then I did my first track race, then another one. What a rush.

Have to admit I was a more than a bit nervous, but I've been feeling pretty good on my bike(s). Especially considering a 24 hour race just a 14 days ago. I'm writing this stuff down just so I can remember what happened for next time. Not gonna be I story of "I came, I raced, I kicked ass". Just a story of an old fart having a bunch of fun and soakin' up the sensations like a fresh Krispy Kreme in hot coffee. A meteoric rise to my personal level of medioCRITy.

Got there with plenty of time, infield parking was nice. Temps in the 30's with a big wind in your face on the back straight. The ladies - Carol, Susan, Kristan (doing her first Crit too) and Sharon were there trying thier best to warm up in the frigid morning air. Got reg'd and did some laps. Couldn't be a better venue to break me in. 1/3 mile oval, nice and smooth except for the rumble bumps on the inside of the turns - why would anyone ever ride over those anyway?

Saw D-Bo and (new dad) JG pull in. Took some photos of the ladies and got some trainer warmup done. Some more laps after the ladies were done.

The 4/5 Crit

Field of 30, second row start. 40 laps. Heart rate was up just from the excitement, deep breaths.

We're off. Nice smooth clip in. Drifted down to the inside line, middle of the pack. Soon realized that was no man's land. Like being in a box. Even had to feather the brakes on the first few laps. Tucked in behind JG. D-Bo got a good jump off the start and was out in the free space of the front 5. A few more laps till I could work out of the box. Pace was comfortable. Lap 10-12 finally got outside a bit and had some room to breath, was getting claustrophobic on the inside. Was working my position pretty well. Lap 20-25 finally felt settled in to a rythym. Jitters were gone. Time to get the HR up the real way. Worked up around the outside. Was picking up positions on the home straight. Got a few bikes behind D-Bo who was working hard chasing breaks. Actually felt good to be in the wind. Just before lap 30 Dan took off after a solo, I jumped right behind, said to the guy next to me - "Let's bridge this thing". Then realized it was only D-Bo and one other, so I let them go and tried to smooth pedal from the front. That worked for a short while, til the pack wouldn't have it and I got swarmed. Eff - stuck on the inside again. No worries, 8-9 laps left, legs felt good.

Then going into turn 3 - it's all a blur, but I hear that noise - thin wall tubing and graphite slamming the deck hard followed by the thud of lycra wrapped flesh. Right next to me. Grab a few hand fulls of brakes and hit the rumble bumps at 25. Bars rotated down 45 degrees as my hands struggled to hold onto falling brake hoods. Almost went over the top. Put a foot down, got the bars pulled up a bit, and got rolling again. Mad adrenlin rush. The pack was gone. EFF. Got back up to speed, lost 1/2 a lap. Held that gap to the field for 5-6 laps as they were jockying around for the last dash. 3 to go I see D-Bo launch off again. Thought maybe I should sit up and wait to help. Not sure what the rules are about that. The pack swarmed by on the final sprint, I finished 1 lap down. Had a lot more to give, but couldn't stand or sprint with my bars hanging low.

After the race I realized I could've pulled over at the pits, grabbed a wrench, fix my bars and gotten a free lap. Rookie mistake by a rookie racer. The 5-6 solo laps hurt a bit, put not as much as making the mistake about the free lap. Pace didn't seem too fast, my watch said we finished the 12.3 miles in under 25 minutes. I'll live and learn - and race again. Props to D-Bo and JG who both got top 10's.

10 minutes later :

10 lap track event.

Senses all tuned in and wide open. Had the fixie now for 2 weeks and was still gettin' used to it. Hit the pedal first time off the start for a smooth clip in. Some were wall starting. The group got moving slow. With a 48/13 (a masher by nature) I was geared a bit long and slow was not comfortable. Left one option - go to the front. That was fun. The headwind with that gear was tough, and a group of 3 or 4 jumped by on lap 4-5. I tucked in second group for a rest. The bell lap came before I knew it. Tried hard to battle around Jared and he got me by 1/2 length at the line. Once I realized I wasn't going to get 'im I sat up a bit with 10 feet to go and almost gave up a spot. Track bikes are so quiet they're almost invisable. I never even sensed the other dude was there behind me.

Afternoon Track Race.

Another 10 lapper. Another slow roll out. Went to the front on lap 2 turn 3, led the pack around for 3-4 laps, felt really good. Kept trying to let someone pull through but no takers till lap 6 or seven. Much more organized group than the AM. Finally was able to grab a wheel near the back. Was just working my way back up, and the race was over. WTF!? Thought there was 2 laps left, but there was only one. Never even got to sprint. Another rookie move by a rookie racer. But it was a blast, and I can't wait to giv'r again.

The speedway is a perfect place to race. Especially trackies. Met lots of great folks and am looking forward to mixin' it up again next time. Funny that all the carnage was in the road races, none on the track bikes?!!?? Just a coincidence or was it due to much bigger groups? Hmmmmm, makes ya wonder.

Seems like some bikes take a while to "get on with", but not this one :

It fits perfect between me arse and the track .................

Lots of impressive efforts by out team which was drastically outnumbered. We came, we raced, we kicked (some) ass. Made me proud.

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"so quiet there almost invisible", sounds like too much acid in college. Seeing sounds?
Actually I think I was hearing visions ...........

My ears have eyes, then they went blind
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