Friday, 9 May 2008

Thursday night, back on the boards

Last night I hit the racing boards at DISC for the first time in nearly 2 months. Numbers were down, but D grade was still a sizeable field. My legs have been heavy this week, after a ripper week last week. I’m not sure if it’s the weights I’ve been doing, or not recovering from the weekend’s riding, late night reading (The Road by Cormac McCarthy – a must read) or a combination of the above. I wasn’t sure how I’d go, but as feeling pretty confident that I would be able to uphold my reputation of getting in the way and causing some trouble.

Race 1: Scratch. On the front, lead the group out onto the track, rolling along at a comfortable clip. It takes a while for Troy to blow his whistle for the race to start, but once he does, I settle in for my turn. I check behind me to see that all are on board the train and there is space. I roll along a bit further and check again, and still there is space, but even more space – all this vacant air, 20 or more metres of it, between my back wheel and the next rider’s front wheel. How the hell did that happen? Floss my teeth, I think, if they don’t want to ride with me, I’m outta here, and I hit the accelerator and GO! With 14 laps to go. Mini Me Coach is on corner 3, urging me on: keep going! I grin and say to him “Silly idiots!”. I gain half a lap on them in 2 or so laps, I squeeze a few more metres out of them and then my sparkler starts to fizz and spit and splutter and pop and finally fade. From corner 3 I hear “Here they come” and with 10 laps to go, I am back on the front, leading the pack out, where I should have been 5 laps earlier! I roll up, brain fading fast from the effort, almost totally spent, and see gaps behind the main bunch, which is quite small. Unfortunately it didn’t register that how small it was ie many of the original group shelled, and I don’t slot back in on the back of that front group but wait for the trailers to come in before coming back down into the sprinter’s lane. Mini Me Coach points: they went thataway! shaking his head. I laugh. They sure did! I roll around til 2 laps to go and retire. Totally & completely stuffed. Where's the ventolin?

Race 2: Point score. Not looking forward to this. I’m still not recovered from my solo effort of the front in Race 1. There is not much time between races because of the small fields and the combining of A and B grade ie 2 races of recovery before we are on again. Mini Me Coach tells me to roll with the bunch for the first 2 sprints then disappear. I say that’s what I normally do. He replies: No, no (you idiot!). After the second sprint you disappear off the front, not off the back. Once more I am the leadout gal, but this time I cruise. I even hang back so I don’t lose the bunch this time. Nice and steady, mainly because that’s all my legs and lungs will give me. So far, racing has been like riding the big chain ring up the 1:20 so I am happy that the sprinter/s are keeping their energy levels down. I expect to get totally blown away in the first sprint, and spend no energy to go with them. Fortunately they hit the brakes hard immediately after crossing the finishing line and I roll back on with out any effort at all. Thanks guys. I love wannabe sprinters and old masters. Second sprint is the same deal, but this time, without increasing effort or pace, I roll straight past them all to the front. Slack buggers. I am level-pegging with the one of 2 other females, and I know how she likes to race, true sprinter style hidden away til the final half lap. I also know she is competitive, so decide to play a bit of a game. I let my wheel slide just in front of hers. I get a bite, and she responds. I move up again in front of her, and she comes back at me. I have a giggle to myself – too easy. We keep this little egging game on, picking the pace up as we do, until the final lap, when I hear “huphup!!” from behind and a young guy hits us over the top. Egged girl takes off but she is too late, being too distracted by our little game. I let them go, with nothing left to ride hard, stagger back to the rollers for a cool down.

Race 3. The derny is still waiting for its part from Belgium so we are up for another scratch race. This time I put myself in the middle of the pack from the get-go and plan to look after myself until the final 5 or so laps. It's the only way I'll survive this one and I do just that. It’s cruisy and we swap turns and as I get closer to the front, I start counting and realise that I’ll be on the front when I don’t really want to be. I want to be 2 -3 riders back. Quick change of plans, and when there are 7 laps to go and 2 riders in front of me, I double check who is behind me. Egged girl. Perfect. Crossing the halfway line of bend 1, I pull out and charge around the 2 masters guys in front of me, taking a punt they won’t want to waste energy. Egged girl comes along momentarily, changes her mind and then there is air behind me – a lot of vacant space. I get 1/3 of a lap on them, nearly half a lap in 1.5 laps. Then my sparkler doesn’t even fizzle and zing but just dies unceremoniously, and I sit up and wait for them to collect me. I am cooked, fried, boiled, roasted, microwaved and then thrown out for being overdone, so I roll around, letting the others finish off the race as it should be done.

It was an interesting evening. I wouldn’t normally attack off the front at the start of a race, but the opportunity was there, and I wanted to see where my legs were at, and where the bunch was at. At one point I thought I may be able to make it across and lap the field, but very soon after thought, I realised it wasn’t going to happen. That manoeuvre screwed me over for the remainder of a short night – 3 races in an hour. But it gave me the hit out I needed after a lacklustre week of training. I drove home feeling that I haven’t made any progress in the last few months, still struggling to finish a D grade race. But I reminded myself 6 months ago there is no way I would have attempted what I did in race 1, let alone give it a red hot go, and then try again in the final race. If I had ridden that first race conservatively, I would have been fine and finished with the bunch. I also would have been bored and annoyed. Who knows, I may try it again next week – joke Mrs Coach!


Anonymous said...

Hey Weed, you will finish one of these races on the podium, mark my words. You and I have work to do, well you have work, I have yelling to do. Luv Mrs Coach(who is retired)

Lawrence said...

I will see this Thursday if my clever stealth plan is beginning to work Mrs Coach.. so long as this bug that's threatening to be a certain demise of my healthalicious health actually fails in it's malicious plans.

Anonymous said...

Hey Weed, No excuses, Rich always ran out of legs and you always have a lugie. Think positive and it will go away. Mrs Coach

hippy said...

The Road by Cormac McCarthy.. tell me more.. once you have your breath back :)

Lawrence said...

I don't know about positive thinking Mrs Coach, but after some nasty headspins/blackouts Monday night vacuuming (see, shouldn't have been doing housework!!) I took yesterday off, slept heaps and that seems to have done the trick ;-P

And we all know Rich is a soft girl! hehe

Lawrence said...

Hipshtar: The Road is about a journey a man and his young son take to reach the coast in post-apocalyptic America. It's bleak and harrowing, very compelling and beautifully written. I didn't want to read it but couldn't put it down. Some books leave a mark and others don't. This definately left a mark.

Apparently it's being made into a movie. I saw the whole thing in wintery greyblues with only one scene in the book in colour. Like I said, it's bleak but not terminal.