Friday morning started early, 6 A.M. Breakfast at the hotel, lots of breakfast, gonna be a long morning. Using knowledge I gained from the last Sprint Sunday at Blaine, I pick a gear that I usually use for 200’s. Both fast wheels are on and I actually feel quite rested even though the night was short and I have 3 days of racing in me. Nine of us racing today and I ride 5th for my 200. It’s a good ride, right gear choice, out of the saddle out of 2 all the way past the 200 line and then carve down in 3 and 4 staying close to the black line, still on top of the gear all the way past the finish. Should be good but I didn’t hear the announcer as I roll around the warm lap circle. Back to the tent and check the results posted, 4th of 9 with a 13.45, fastest was my nemesis Rodamaker at 12.9. I get to ride the 5th place guy who is about .3 of a second slower than me. Rest break and we are up. I draw position 2, good way to start. As I sit at the get ready area I see all the competitors but can’t find the guy I race. I really don’t know who he is. Then I see him, crap! He can’t really be in our age group can he? I look young for my age, he looks like a kid. Easy, I am .3 faster, relax. Wait, here comes another guy, woo, that’s better, I don’t race the kid. Leo, an older icon of the masters group is willing to hold me and I have him just let go, no push. Now on this track it’s only 2 laps not 3 like Blaine or other 250’s. We roll around slow, me keeping as much altitude as possible, gaining some speed until the middle of 1/2 when I jump first and with the smaller gear I put on for the matches, I drop him immediately, riding hard, probably harder than necessary and take the first ride. Round 2 happens about the same only me ahead and jumping again just entering 2 and get another big gap, enough so I could actually ease up some crossing the finish. Cool, I’m in the evening show, guaranteed at least 4th.
Ok, eat some food I brought, load the car and back to the hotel for a shower and a nap and only too soon back in the car to beat traffic to the track.
Now the serious racing begins. I am up against the #1 qualifier, Rodamaker but feel good about it. Same gear as earlier to get a good jump, whistle off from position 2 and we roll around near the rail, Mark is an experienced Match Sprinter so no mercy. I jump first going into 2 again and get into a tiny opening he left for me but as I do he chops down and forces me onto the apron but I keep going. Eventually he comes around me and wins the first heat. As I roll around the warm up circle, the announcer says, Rodamaker relegated for entering the lane that was occupied already. I win. Time to relax for round 2 of the 3. He can be beaten. As I relax, I hear the announcer say the relegation has been adjusted to a warning, so I lose the match. Talking to one of he officials he tells me that even though it was a dangerous move on Rodamaker’s part, they don’t think it effected the outcome. HUH? Time to go up a gear inch to my 200 gear.
Round 2, I’m position one, Mark falls for my tactics and leads off the rail after two at a slow pace. I get on his wheel and chase him all the way to the finish, not far off his wheel. Into the consolation round to decide 3 and 4.
I get to ride Stan Gregg who lost by a relegation to his match with Hargrave. I know I beat Stan in the points race on at least 2 sprints so this can be done. First ride, I’m position 2 and try my same drop entering 2, not quite as fresh and with a bigger gear the effect isn’t quite the same. Stan comes over me in 3/4, gains some speed but I take some back finishing half a bike behind him. Round 2, position one, finally someone jumps before me and Stan gets just enough to finish 2-3 bikes ahead of me, leaving me with 4th overall. Qualify 4th, finish 4th. 3rd fourth place medal of the week.
Charlie was up for a 50 lap Points race near the end of the night and he lights it up getting points right away in the first sprint. The race is brutally fast, very competitive age group, Charlie kept trying to position for points but there were fast guys off the front picking up all the points leaving nothing for the field. He finishes in the field with a 6th overall, great ride Charlie. Overheard near the results boards, “that was one of the fastest 40 to 44 age group points races ever” Well done Charlie, just a point or two off the Podium.
Awards, late again. I was all loaded so after awards off to find food, a Subway shop not far. Definitely time for dinner. There was a mom and 2 kids there when I got there and I was still partially kitted and as they left, the young boy looked back and said “good racing tonight”. Must have been in the stands and obviously enjoyed the races. I doubt he really knew what racer I really was but fun to hear.
Back to the hotel, later than desirable, to bed for another 6 A.M. alarm. One race left, 2K tomorrow.