Thursday night is race night! Last night, I arrived later than usual, thanks to a scheduled detour to the chiro for my monthly body service. So my warm-up was shortened, and being the other side of the new 30 (tell that to my body – ie it’s STILL 30something, yeah right!) I need a longer, more civilised warm-up. The evening was a classic balmy Spring night, so indoors the air was comfortably, lung conducively warm. The numbers were down by about 30% in D grade, with some having been promoted to C grade, and some playing host to the flu. Reduce numbers had an interesting effect on racing.
Race 1. The Scratch race stared with an explosion on lap 2 with some sandbaggers smashing the field apart. Come on guys, this is D Grade and we have 13 laps to go. The back of the field was scrappy (yeah I know, what the hell was I doing down there??) with some new guys not having total control (or perhaps just lack of simple understanding) of holding a straight line. One guy in particular on his look-what-I-found-in-the-back-of-shed bike (clean and oil your chain at least please!) was a big loose missile looking for a target. I guess one of the benefits of such scrappy racing is to hone racing skills, but I’d much rather concentrate on me and how I feel and how I am going to race the race, than be dodging boogies and feeling anxious about being taken about by big strong blokes with no real idea. Needless to say, with the average speed up, I was shelled with a few others, and retired with 2 laps to go.
Race 2. Pointscore. Usually my least successful race, although I did score a point for 4th last week in the first sprint. Apparently it’s de riguer to back off for the 1st sprint, according to Coach Mini Me, and the aim is to conquer the remaining sprints. Sorry me! A point is a point and I’ll take it thanks :-) This week’s pointscore started off quite sedately, with young Callum from Warragul setting the pace for the first 3-4 laps, happy to sit up the front and drive the bus for us. We were happy to let him do it. When the first sprint was up, I was there, at the back of a small bunch of 5 -6, coming over the line in 5th and leaving the rest of the bunch behind. I rolled up to the front runners and settled in on Chris’s wheel, keeping the girls together, with some encouragement from her (thanks Chris!). I was able to wheel suck my way into 4th place and a point in the second sprint. Cool!!!! 2 points in 2 weeks – I MUST be improving! But highlight of the race was actually finishing, albeit watching the remaining finishers cross the line, but I finally made it to the end of a pointscore, with a bonus tick beside the points box. The pace at the outset helped enormously, letting me get up to speed without blowing up, but I was also able to recover quite well between sprints (which didn’t seem as hard as in previous weeks).
Race 3. The motorpace has been sketchy for me, and results are heavily dependent on whether I can get back into the middle of the bunch after peeling off the derny, or dropping down to the back and falling off the back. Derny pace has also been erratic over the weeks, with last week faster than usual and the first couple of laps this week almost sliding off the track slow. I was down the line off the derny but with some quick counting realised I would be close to being in a good position when the derny pulled off. After a few more laps, I realised I would be on the derny at lap 4, so let a rider in front of me to push me back. Still not a good position but better. When my turn came to pull off the derny, I immediately saw a huge gap behind the rider now on the derny. I smacked down into it without hesitation, giving the poor bugger behind a bit of a fright from the noise he made. Don't leave such a gap or get over it! Perfect position, behind first wheel on lap 2. As the derny came off, first wheel and I were conjoined twins. After a lap there were calls from behind – someone was powering through from behind. Everyone jumped, but I had a minor hesitation, still shy of jumping with every one in case I get collected from behind (don’t ask my why!!). I eventually was dropped with no top end speed to go on with, and came in for 7th, just behind the bunch but not out the back. It was a nice feeling.
After the race, I found out who had won: Mr Legs. No way…. he normally doesn’t make it to the end. Has he been doing secret training when he claims to be walking the dogs?? Is there some unknown training effect in walking the dogs?? Mr Legs said he got "annoyed" with the quality of riding down the back, cracked the sads and hit the accelerator. His jump is strong and fast enough that he put enough of a gap into us, combined with our slow reaction times, that he got away and stayed away. Not bad for someone who only rides twice a week: Thurs night racing and Sunday Masters session at DISC. So a win for Mr Legs. If he keeps getting pissed off, he won’t stay in D Grade much longer.