This weekend Mr Legs and I drove the 2 hrs to
Saturday’s racing started late afternoon, with 3 races on the bill for the women: a Scratch race, pursuit scratch, and a handicap. The racing was messy and scrappy, with girls not holding their lines as the track threw them up the bank. There was a lot of lateral movement, surging, chopping of wheels etc. Not very pleasant and I did my bad trick of hanging around the back trying to stay out of it. Coach kept calling out to me from the fence to get up the front, but each time I tried to get around I was unsuccessful – the distance was too far and the pace would pick up. There was plenty of space underneath as the riders fanned up the track, but I was very reluctant to move forward into the empty space for fear of being chopped out by someone fighting back against the pitch of the track. And of course, I just don’t have the top end speed for the final burst in the last lap.
The second race was a pursuit scratch where A grade has to catch B grade, then it’s an all out scratch race from that point for the remaining laps. The speed was on front the start and I was spat out after 3 laps. As I came off the track, Coach asked what gear I was on. I didn’t need to reply – it clicked straight away why I struggled to keep up with the bunch. I had put it down to my ability (or lack of it), but simply, my 88 was too small. It was a warm, still night and the track was fast, too fast for my gearing. Doh! It just never occurred to me. So we upped the gear for the handicap, particularly as I always end up time trialling it for the first couple of laps
So, with a bigger gear, the handicap had potential to be a better race, with myself and newcomer Karen Wiggins off limit. I got a terrific push from Mr Legs, felt great winding out the gear and went for it. I put a good deal of distance between myself and the girls behind and held it for a couple of laps. The group was beginning to close, so I swung up to the blue and waited. Mistake number 1: I should have just kept going! As the group came through, I anticipated about 5 of them, but instead, most of the field had come together to form a long, large bunch. Rather than push my way in I waited politely for the end, then mistimed my re-entry and lost the group. Mistake number 2: don’t be polite and get the re-entry right! Or is that two mistakes, not one? With 2 laps to go, I was fading fast, and lost sight of the bunch as they charged away on the big track. On the final lap, I saw someone rolling in, so I made it my mission to pass her, and not come last. No red lanterns for me.
There were a couple of nasty crashes during the night, one happening after we left for the night. A few guys ended up in hospital, with a Japanese rider in a bad way and airlifted to