Friday, 19 September 2008

Sucking Wheel Pays Off

Last night I resumed my Thursday night club track racing career, after a 4 month hiatus (gees, I had to count twice on my fingers to make sure! That long?!?!?!? Eek). Numbers are down at the moment, but ideal for recommencing racing. My legs were flat and dead from another excellent session in the A Go Go shed the night before, so the plan was to roll around, stay with the bunch, don’t attack two laps into the race as I usually do, and suck wheel baby!

  1. Scratch race. I sat in, and waited. Second time at the front of the pack, as the rider in front of me rolled off, I lifted the pace to see what would happen. I dropped the bunch by about 5 or more metres and it took the rest of the lap for the group to reform. As soon as they were back on my wheel, I bailed off the front, a bit shy of my full lap. A few laps later, I moved off the back to come around, testing out my legs and the resolve of the small bunch. I picked a really bad spot to do this, and ended up on the bend above the group near the front and without snappy legs to pull off any attack. The paced up though, and I put some pressure and was happy enough with what I saw. The sprint to the finish saw the 3 regular old guys pull away from me (I missed the jump). I held the gap though, and brought them back by a few metres, coming in 4th a few metres off the pace.
  1. Pointscore. The old guys decide to use this to keep themselves warm and not much else. However, one of the trio decides he actually is up for racing, which suits me fine, as I get to play a bit and do some hard efforts. Sprint #1, I sit on his wheel, but my legs don't work, and I cannot come around him, settling for second. He seems a little spent from this effort, and we form a trio with a young female rider, working together towards the next sprint. Sprint #2, I am on the old guy’s wheel into the back straight, and make my move out of corner 2, coming around him and slowly I pull away, with legs dragging and kicking and whinging. I know I’ll be able to stay away, but it’s going to be hard, close work. Then all of a sudden, the brakes fall off and I get some sudden acceleration and pull away for a very decisive win (half a lap I was told!!). As my speed jumped I remember thinking: where the hell did that come from???!!! I roll around after crossing the tape, somewhat trashed, and the young Brunswick rider catches me up and we do half lap turns for a few laps. Bell lap has our active rival gaining us back up, and I end up 3rd wheel without the mental or physical motivation to rip myself apart to come around past the Brunswick rider. She rides hard and I give her some encouragement, and congratulate her as we ride over the finish line. I’m on equal 1st points, but am second thanks to my lack of motivation (ie on the verge of being totally smashed!!).
  1. Motorpace. Yeeha! We actually have the motorbike for the final race. I was expecting another scratch race, so was pretty stoked to see Quickie out on the bike. I know the old guys have saved themselves for this one, and pay due attention. It’s nice to be on the back of the bike, cruising around in the draft. I end up second wheel when the bike pulls off and decide to stick to my pointscore rival’s wheel, figuring I’ll be able to come around him in the final lap. I was wrong by a tyre width, leaving my run about 2 metres and a couple of deep pedal strokes too late. I dug in for the final metres and gained half a bike up to him, to be beaten by such a small fraction. It was a sweet way to come 4th.

A good friend recently commented I need to know and learn what winning tastes like. You know, I think it tastes kinda good. I was really happy with the way I rode: Mrs Coach would have been pleased. I ended up with some money in the kitty (sorry Kitty) for next week’s entry and I read the moves better than I usually do. I made a couple of mistakes in timing and placement, but was able to use that in other ways. My legs gave me a little present in the second sprint of the pointscore, after a very solid workout the night before. A few more weeks, and I think the power will start kicking in. Am looking forward to another run next week - I got an old guy to beat!

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