Saturday, 5K Scratch Race

I am writing this from home, I can’t hardly believe that I was in Indy yesterday and now I am back home getting organized for life back to normal. I feel a sleepy and groggy from a long drive back from Indianapolis last night. The plan was to finish racing yesterday after noon, pack up and drive to just north of Chicago, get a room for a shower and a few hours of sleep and then casually drive home today. Fast forward the plan I guess. But I am way ahead of my self.

Saturday, hotel check out day and a 5 K Scratch race in the after 2 P.M. session, about five events into the program. I started a lot of packing on Friday, so things would be easy Saturday morning. Last free breakfast at the hotel and then carry all the gear out to move on to the track. Wait, email from USA Cycling, rain delays, first until 9 and then until 10. Let’s see what does that do for my prep? Off to the track via the Starbucks I discovered not too far away from the Cycloplex. Latte and food to bring to the track. No rush to unload with a 2 hour delay. I watched another episode of House of Cards sitting in my car, thanks Netflix. Finally I start making the trips into the infield to find a spot for the day. The infield was packed, lots of racing to get through today including a lot of Sprint rounds for a few age categories. I started my warm up ride on rollers kind of early, about 11:30, but just 10 minutes of easy, warm up gear time with no efforts. I kept watching the rounds and comparing to the schedule but it was impossible to tell how long the morning session would take. You never know how many matches will be needed to narrow the fields. I was in more normal neutral roller tent area, thankfully under a tent most of the time as the weather was hot, mid to high 80’s, sunny and extremely humid. I was smart enough to pack a water cooler and filled it with ice at the hotel and with the water fountains at the track, I kept drinking what seemed like gallons. All my Starbucks food was gone and I didn’t know if I should get food at the concession stand or not, how long would it be until race time. In the past I have stuck it out and not eaten. Today, time to eat. Back on and off the rollers with a little bit of resisted roller work on the courtesy True Trainer rollers. As 2:00 rolled past, I stopped an official to ask about open track time for the afternoon, the answer? “I don’t know” Back to rollers, forming a plan to complete my warm up with no track time. There was one scratch race prior to my age group so it would be easy to gauge when my last hard roller effort would be but the sprint rounds would just not end. I felt like I was doing sprint rounds, the day a time just wearing on me. Around 4:30 or so the track opened for some practice laps, I went out but really didn’t do much. I was kind of getting tired of riding all day. More sprint rounds, more open track time. Then the women’s scratch race right before ours, so close. But, more sprint rounds. I did my last hard pre race effort now it was time to just roll around get some cooling air flow and hope for a start. At least the humidity was dropping some. About 5:30, we were finally called to the rail. Only 2 of us followed the officials command to stop and walk up the rail, the rest just kept rolling around to line up in the back. Kind of foolish of them. Whistle from the rail, Neutral lap and start gun if we are all grouped. I know you can ride slow here but the 2 of us in front weren’t going fast and we were gapping the field. The head judge was yelling at us to group up, not my problem, ride faster back there boys! We got the gun coming out of turn 2 instead of at the start line, kind of strange.

Finally, the race was on, back in my familiar 51/15 gear that worked well for the points race. There were 3 teammates from Boulder in this race and I used them to help with my last points race sprint and I know they were planning to work the field over so I just needed to watch ten along with a few other faster riders I knew. The pace was on and then off as the pack strung out, I was holding my own, strategically doing good. (finally learning something about tactics.) One of the Boulder guys went off, same one who took the points race gold. No one followed. I just stayed in the field, jumped on attacks as they happened and rode up track to the back of the field as things slowed. With about 4 of the 15 laps to go, my competitor Chip pulled down and ahead of me. Great, I dropped on his wheel and thought, “take me home Chip” I rode his wheel for next laps, got gapped on the last 1/3 lap but finished behind him, the announcer said he got 4th, does that mean I got 5th? That would be great if it was. None the less, I was excited and happy about how I raced and how I finished.

Back to the infield to the rollers for some cool down time. My count, from start of my roller warm up to end of the cool down, 5 hours and 25 minutes. Long day in the sun and heat.

Bike disassembly and pack up time. Trips back and forth to the car hauling gear and finally the result sheet. Dam, 6th not 5th. I forgot the guy who had a lap on the field who was behind me at the finish. ( Plus I was a little oxygen staved at the finish so I may not have been thinking as clear as possible) I saw Chip and thanked him for leading me to the finish. We started talking and he really isn’t such a bad guy, seems nice. We just needed to have our competitive game faces on during the earlier days of the week. Who knows, we may make some plans for next season. He tells me next year is at Rock Hill S.C. Just a rumor.

Loaded car and route north planned, though/past Chicago and I am still feeling good. If I stop I have to unload ALL this bike stuff and haul it into the room and then back out again when I get up. Keep driving, some stops for gas and coffee and food. One rest stop for about 10 minute nap. My mind is on auto pilot and the miles just keep flying by, Menominee, Hudson, St Paul, home. It’s about 6 A.M., still dark and I made it all the way from Indy about 24 hours after I last rolled out of bed Saturday morning. Bed time, unpack later.

Final thoughts to follow.

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