Friday, 28 September 2007

Weekly track race report

Racing last night was interesting. I knew I was still tired from Tuesday night’s training but felt bright. I decided to use a slightly larger gear (one that last year would have been my usual gear) for the scratch race. It gave me the extra speed I needed to keep up with the bunch, but at jump time in the last couple of laps, I had nothingin the legs to wind it up with, and was left out the back like a footy scarf hanging out the back window. The larger gear meant I also had to change the way I rode. D grade is frequently surgey, and I had to minimise my responses to those surges to save draining my legs. Not that it made that much difference.

As soon as I got off the track, I changed back down to my current usual gear for the pointscore. Much better! I had hatched a little idea pre-race, and decided that after the 1st sprint, I’d hit them for a breakaway, just for something to do. Well I did just that, but should have waited as the bunch hadn’t really slowed as much as they often do, and as I was stealthily (no laughing Coach!) rolling over the top of the bunch high in the first bend, Little Ms Bluebarger on the front of the line started swivelling her head around like a searchlight hunting out a rabbit. Crap. Nothing to do but go for it as we rolled into the back straight. But I wasn’t fully convinced, knowing the Bluebarger would be on to me quick as. Half a lap later I looked behind and the bunch weren’t as far away as I would have liked. And then I blew up. Game over, round 2.

Round 3 Motorpace time. No gear change, as my legs were rapidly becoming non-functional. I was happy enough with my positioning behind the bike, and as there were less in the bunch than lap numbers, knew we’d roll through a couple of times, so had no need to bluff my way back into the middle of the pack. The final few laps revved up into my how-much-hurt-are-you-up-for-tonight zone. I spent 2 laps thinking yes/no/yes/no/yes/no until I thought one too many no’s and dropped off the back (just as I was thinking bugger it, yes!). A strong lesson in indecision, for which I got an A, and a DNF with one lap to go.

Overall I was happy with how I performed. I know where I went wrong, and was cranky at myself for not being more assertive at times, but my endurance, strength and speed are improving, slowly but surely. It's interesting to observe how A grade race compared to us. The A graders give themselves room to move, and are steady and smooth which results in (usually) safer racing.

Last night’s D grade bunch consisted of the regulars plus 2 new gals: a handy young woman from Brunswick and the aforementioned Little Ms Bluebarger. Bluebarger was getting a bad rep very quickly for forcing people down off the track and chopping wheels out, beginning in the scratch race and continuing througout the night. I had a few words to say to her mid-race, which were met with an up yours response. Her antics across all three races made the racing antsy for all concerned, and she copped an earful several times over the night. Driving home, I realised she was a girl I had played sticky fly with during a kieren at Vodafone last season. I sat on her hip until the bike came off, sticking to her like a pesky fly. She kept swinging hooks at me, but I’d simply roll up just out of reach, then roll back down into place on her hip as she settled back down behind the derny. She was clearly unhappy with my persistence during that race, although I did give her a nice lead out in the end. Maybe it was payback time, but as I keep saying, it’s only D grade for goodness sake! Deliberately putting everyone in danger is a pathetic way to win. Sure racing is aggressive, but D grade is easy game and a soft target. You wanna play on the road, go play with the trucks and 4wds in C grade honey. Now I have an ambition to giver her a taste of her own, cos I don’t think she will like it, so after Worlds will go get me some schooling in Bitchracing 101.

A highlight last night was watching a couple of the Malaysian national team guys racing A grade. One in particular (and I wish I knew who he was) poured on the speed to win the scratch race in excellent style. It was one of the fastest finishing sprints I have seen on a Thursday night.

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