Saturday Update

It’s midnight Saturday night back at the hotel. I’ve been packing because the great adventure is coming to an end soon. I need to check out first thing tomorrow because some of the NSC group races tomorrow and the session opens at 9 again. It’s the last day of the 2009 National Track Masters Championships.
I probably don’t have enough time tonight to tell the whole story but it has been quite successful for at least 3 of the NSC racers.
The schedule was Flying 200’s and Match sprints all morning long and the more match sprints and 3 points races in the evening.
James and Ted were scheduled for the sprints and I was schedule for a 30 lap points race with sprints every 6 laps this evening between the medal rounds for the matched sprints.
I got up this morning early enough to get breakfast and make it to the track by 9 to be around for Ted’s and James’ races.
I felt a bit off, tired I guess and didn’t really feel like eating but races tonight so eat and drink as much as possible to stay fueled.
The morning session went well.
James managed to make it to the semi finals for the sprints, Ted lost his first two rounds but won the 4 up sprint to take 5th overall. Qualifying times were very fast, 3 racers below 11 seconds at about 10.9 or slightly less. Ted did a great job of taking control of the 4 up and doing about a lap or more off the front.
I left about 11 and decided to try and eat something light and then head back to the hotel to rest and prepare for the evening effort.
I have been uneasy the whole day, not knowing how the race would play out. Would I be competitive, will I make 30 laps, how fast will it be, how sketchy, would I be able to get more than the 1 point that only Linda has been able to score in the points races so far this week.
I kept telling my self that these guys are my equals, some slightly faster, some slower but as far as I knew none who have to repeatedly race against a lot younger group of races. I was hoping that the pain I go through in Thursday Night Lights will make me strong for this race.
Here’s the end result for me;
I got to the track at 4 and went through coach Chris’ warm up schedule, finished with about 2 minutes to spare before the races started.
Lots of matched sprints first and then a call for my points race. 30 laps, sprints every 6, so bell at 25, 19, 13, 7 and 1. We get about a lap and a half of open warm up time and then roll to the rail for the start. I am about 10th in line. At the rail, Paul Buckles comes up to me and says hi and good luck, nice of him to be there with some of his friends.
The starter isn’t real assertive about the roll off command so I start to roll off, then stop and then get passed so off I go. We bunch up and I am high on the track just off the front slightly behind and to the right of I guy I think will be fast. We pick up some speed but not much and roll around a few laps.
We make a few rounds and the pace quickens. The guy I think will be fast is taking off. Do I go with it or not? I’m off and we speed around the back, through 3 and 4 and come to the line and I’m 4th I think. Alright, tied Linda with 1 point.
The pack slows a lot and bunches up. I get up high and hide in the pack as much as I can being on the top edge. I actually start to feel a bit in control of this mess.
We roll around and duplicate the action, speeding up for the next sprint. This time I wait a bit longer and hit the gas and get 3rd I think. Good for more points. Things slow again. Certainly not the same as happens at Blaine.
Going through 1 again, I am almost at the rail, one lane away, and about mid pack as the pack slows quite a bit. Another racer comes up along the right side of me and is headed for an open spot that doesn’t exist, not good. His front wheel wobbles, I hear some yells and a bike collapses in front of me. Been there, done that! I don’t think, just flick slightly to the right as a hole opens before me and I hear a lot of crashing and banging of a lot of expensive carbon parts.
WOW, that was close. Only the second crash of the week and it happened right in front of me.
The race gets neutralized as the carnage is assessed. I am right behind the fast guy again who is leading a slower than good pace. A coach from below yells at us to pick up the pace, fast guy ignores it so I go to the front and make a bit more speed to keep the back guys from falling off.
About 5 or 6 laps later we get the gun with 17 to go. One of the crashers is back in, the rest are out.
The trend is the same, the bell and I hang out behind a big guy until and back straight and then pour it on, passing a few and get more points. This is getting to be fun. Chris, you are right, just a bunch of matched sprints but we don’t get to come to the infield in between.
After on sprint I feel tired and drop back more than normal but still stay in a draft.
The NSC crew is great. They seem to be positioned all around the track and as I go from corner to corner I hear a different voice yelling good things to me. I get back to the efforts.
I am finally watching the pack, keeping track of when the bell laps will happen and planning when to ease up and when to pick up the pace not based on riders but based on what I need to do to get points. Now that is a new and wonderful experience.
We are closing in on the end of the race. In a lapse, I get too low and get boxed in a bit. I fight my way out on the back stretch and take off pacing 4 to 5 riders though 3 and 4 accelerating to the next guy and closing in on the finish in what feels faster than anyone ahead of me. I am over the line 4th for another point.
My lungs are burning but I feel very excited.
My total is 7 points which gets me 4th over all. That means I am on the podium and get a medal!!!
I am kind of in disbelief.
Feel nervous and crappy all day long and then escape a crash and get one of my best ever result, certainly best in the U.S.
The rest of the night is a blur. Getting on the podium, getting a medal, pictures and enjoying the results.
We pack up, head to a late dinner with Dan, Linda, Dave and Skibby and then, oh yeah back here packing and watching movies.
All right, a few pictures and then I am about done for the night. Tomorrow will come early.