Wake up about 8 and get some breakfast at the hotel. Luckily it’s free breaky all week at the down the hall breakfast room. (The hotel is kind of a mess, remodeling the lower level I’m on including the front desk area and all the public spaces) Back to the room and relax some more catching up on emails, blog stuff, reading and watching movies. Lazy racer life. Off to meet Charlie for lunch and collect a wheel I loaned him, which didn’t fit in his frame and he couldn’t use. Back to the hotel for a few more hours of rest before load up and back to the track. Traffic is heavy around here so I left early to make sure I wasn’t stressed by traffic jams. 4:00 at the track, unload all the gear including some food I brought along in case the night grew long. Gear selection made, slightly smaller than I already was thinking but still bigger than I used last year at Indy. On the track at 5 for warm ups with an easy gear and then race gear. Got in some good pace lines and did some hard sprint efforts, off the track with 5 minutes until track close. I seem to be on a very good easy schedule.
6:00 and the session starts with some sprint rounds and a few mass start races and then it’s time for weigh in and on the track. Normal line up on the rail like we do at NSC, one lap neutral and then a whistle start. Disclaimer here, we have a small race group, only 7 of us, down from 12 in the 500. Where are the rest of them? I’m lined up near the rear which is my new strategy for this weeks mass start races. I’m trying to use all my sprinter knowledge to stay in the draft, don’t lead the pack much and sprint hard when I need to. I have to adjust my sprint tactics to start coming out of turn 2 instead of entering turn 1 because the track is much longer then our 250. My thoughts were to be easy at the start and collect points near the end but as the 1st sprint bell rings I’m in a good position and feel good so time to collect points. (I still need to find results that show how many points and which sprints but I think I got points in every sprint) The problem with that strategy is as me and the first place guy eased up after the first sprint, another racer rolled under us and off the front. One guy, usually not to be chased but, the racer in front of me didn’t want to go and neither did I and no one behind us would chase so sadly I watched him go off half a lap and then I lost him. I kept fighting for sprints on every bell lap and kept collecting until 2 other guys rolled off under us after a sprint ease up as well. By then I was gassed and let them go, in fact I’m not sure if I can even remember them going. Second to last sprint, got more points but worked hard and was getting stressed. I forced myself back into the pack which was now all together, 3 of them taking a lap. Last bell sprint, 3rd with a total of 10 points collecting 4th over all, first one after the lap takers.
Overall, I feel really good about my strategy and my sprints against some other fast guys. I was aggressive and smart using some out of the saddle efforts when I needed, which is different than my usual NSC tactics.
It was great to get some rewards for a long training and race season. I missed out on a podium spot last year at Indy so this is good. Looking forward to another lazy day today and then a Scratch race tonight. Thanks to all the NSC support and sponsor support (Metropolitan Heart and Vascular Institute, CARS Bike, FFWD wheels, Skratch Labs, Champ Systems and Fit Kit) this last year which makes this week possible.