It’s been a very long day. Up at 5:30, ate some breakfast and loaded up the car to get to the track so I would not have a repeat of Tuesday morning when I basically got NO warm up time on the track.
The schedule seems to morphing a bit every day, not by much but enough to keep you wondering what really will happen next.
The track was scheduled to start races at 9:30, let’s try 9:00 instead.
I was the second person to arrive at the track behind another NSC racer, Greg McCrea. We both had to sit around for about a half hour before the gates were unlocked at 7.
I unloaded and kitted up and started to run through my warm up progression as coach Chris suggested. Progressive warm up laps, about 20+ minutes. One sub max 200 effort, gear switch, one max 200 effort or rather a start and then back off for traffic ahead. I slowed a bit and let some gaps form and then did a warm up gear max effort which felt good, 958 watts and 54.6 kph. It felt smooth and bit less then max due to all the traffic. Good timing, I got my race gear 808 rear wheel on and there was 5 minutes until racing starts. On the rollers for some easy spin.
Lots of good moral support from Dave Grey and James Tainter along the way.
My earlier efforts confirmed that my line from turn 2 to 3 was looking and feeling fast.
Perfect weather, hardly any wind, sunny and warm but with a hint of morning coolness.
Off comes the leg and arm warmers and wind vest and before I know it I am in the staging lane.
Like the Blaine track, we get pushed out on the back straight but only get one lap before the bell instead of two. My concentration was at it’s max, I think I have played this scene in my head at least 60 to 70 times in the last month.
I’m on the bike at the edge of the track, sitting up and breathing, then in the drops, a big push and I am off. Straight up to the rail, easy now through 3 and 4, back to the rail on the home straight, easy through 1 and 2, to the rail on the back, mid way between the rail and blue line through 3 and 4, rail on the home straight and gathering speed, rail in 1, yellow mid turn line and I am out of the saddle and there is a voice in my head yelling harder, harder. I am out of 2 and focused on the yellow line the crosses the red and black line at about 180 meters. I am back in the saddle right before that yellow line aimed at the 200 meter mark, as I spot it my eyes shoot to the end of corner 4 and the Teschner dips and automatically rounds 4. That voice yells harder, faster, harder, scoop and spin as I feel like I keep the speed up to the max. Bike throw and it’s over, up high in 1 and 2 and decelerate down to the blue band. During the decel I hear the announcer call the time but I only hear a 9. Damn, what’s the rest! I get into the infield and then here from someone, somewhere 12.9! I feel a little shiver. My best at Blaine so far has been 13.68. The rest of the 13 heats continue and I don’t think I am really aware of them. I call coach Chris and give him the news. PR for me at Masters Nationals….
Chris warns me to not get too excited because that is just the qualifier for the match sprints to come, stay focused.
I finally find the time sheets and I qualified 7Th. Top 8 come back for best of three match sprints.
9-12 do a 4 up round to determine their placing. I am guaranteed at least 8Th.
I am matched with the second fastest in our group, a guy about 5’5′ with thighs bigger then the two of mine put together and a second faster 200 time.
I spend some roller time and then on deck. He draws a chip with #2 on it. I guess I’m leading this round. We get a push off and he is above and behind me on my right hip. You can ride rally slow on these corners and I was a bit freaked by how slow but now I am more concerned about keeping my eye on him. We get two laps, one slower and then the bell lap and the race is on. He is still on my hip around 3 and 4, main straight, 1 and 2. Out of two he slows and I miss it. Down and behind me to the lane. I try to respond but too late so I tuck into his draft a bit higher to try for some bank effect out of 3 and 4. I come around him in 4 and we sprint to the finish with him ahead by about half a bike. He’s not that much faster.
More roller time and then we are ready to do it again. This time I get position 2. I stay up and behind, try some weak fake efforts with no effect. We are in 3 and I am accelerating over the top of him, 4, I am ahead and I here Tainter or someone yell GOOOO. Out of the saddle and accel. I get a jump and go over the top but not full on, there is more than a lap to go. I am riding at the top edge of the red line through 1, 2, back side, wiggling around some to try and make it harder to come around. Into 4 the track pushes me up and out of the lane for 10-15 meters, not good. He still hasn’t come around. We sprint to the finish and he gets me by less that a wheel. Crap!
He races tonight, I don’t.
I get a warning for coming out of the lane, I really didn’t mean it judge, ya sure.
More rollers because I still need to do a 4 up sprint to determine 5Th through 8Th.
This should be interesting, first time for everything I guess.
James asks if I need a holder and I say yeah. Right before the race he sits me down and says stay out of 4Th place. I get it. I draw position 3.
The race starts, position 1 and 2 drop down and eschelon back to me, above and behind. I am trying to watch them as well as keep aware of the 4 guy behind me as we head to 3. As we go through 3, position one moves up and squeezes 2 towards me. We compress but I don’t move up any. Where they gonna go? Guy 4 is still not in the action. Maybe waiting for the 3 of us to self destruct. Guy 1 starts to wind it up and takes off out of two and gets a jump on all of us. I get gapped, no panic, I can do this. I close the gap staying a bit above for some slight draft. Here comes turn 3, 4. I pull out higher and hammer for the finish. We cross the line with his wheel 6-10 inches ahead of me.
Medals pay out from 1-5. I am 6Th. All in all, I am excited to have 6th. Would have been more exciting to have a medal but, next year.