26th annual Clarence Street Cup race update

The last week has been a blur of activity. We are now back in Minnesota after a exceptional month long trip to Australia.
Part of the original plan of course was to race and ride push bikes down under.
The last scheduled race there for me was the Clarence St Cup, hosted by the Sydney Velodrome, Dunc Gray.
Racing started at 2:00 with Masters Club Pursuit Championships, then Juniors racing from about 2:30 until 5. At 5:00, Jayson Austin, native Australian, was attempting to break the mens 30-35 age category World One Hour record which was set by an American, Jason Sprouse, last September. The rest of the Clarence St Cup started after the Hour attempt about 7:00 and went until about 10 or so.
Jayson missed setting a new record by a few laps. He was probably hindered somewhat because the time keepers clock stalled after about 15 minutes into his first attempt and he had to re start the attempt.
We got to the track early enough to see the end of the juniors and the hour attempt.
I tried to warm up some by riding on the “infield” but that is also the set up area so you really can only do short slow laps around about half of the inner area, better than nothing but not really a warm up.
It was in the high 80’s when we got there, they turned off the lights for the hour record and the place cooled some. It is an indoor track but is not air conditioned and there can be a lot of heat inside due to sun effect.
We got a real track warm on the track for about 15 minutes prior to racing, there must have been 60-70 riders on the track all at once. If you led a paceline, it would take almost a full lap to get to the end and back on again.
I switched to a slighlty bigger gear after the warm up and decided I was ready to race.
I was a bit nervous, most of my fields had 15 to 20 riders and I was still getting used to how things were organized. I was glad to be with my friend Chris and the rest of the Goulburn Cycling team to get advice.
I am classified a Master, C grade (MMAS6) in division 6 and somehow got a handicap of 230 meters assigned to me.
It was also kind of fun to be the only listed “International” racer in the program.
My schedule for the night was a possibility of 5 races total.
1st; a 7 lap scratch qualifier for the final wheel race, only the top 2 go to the final.
2nd; a 7 lap scratch Repecharge race with handicap starts with the top 4 returning to the final
3rd; A 17 lap elimination/Miss and Out race
4th; The Wheel race final, again handicapped.
5th; a 12 lap scratch.
There were 10 in my first race, I stayed with the pack a few riders back from the front most of the race, every time I got near the lead I would roll off and get back into the pack. The last lap and a half got hot and I eventually finished 6th about 30 meters back from the lead.
The Repecharge had 20 or so riders and we were scattered all over the track. I was at the 230 meter mark with 4 riders ahead of me one next to me and 2 right behind me at 220.
The gun went off and I had to slow a bit to let the handler in front of me get off the track, accelerated and passed that rider and got into 4th place right behind my friend Chris. There were 2 guys up front feverishly doing half lap pulls while Chris and I watched.
At about lap 5 the faster riders caught us, I accelerated and tried to stay on the pack but missed out and eventully finished 10th about a half a lap back from first place.
No wheel race for me tonight!
I was still feeling good and happy that I was not getting dropped and actually finishing at least mid pack.
The Goulburn group, Coley in particular, advised me to get to the front of the elimination race and stay there, surging some at the finish line. That was easier said than done. I didn’t get lined up soon enough so I was near the back rolling onto the track. (you line up against a rail on the infield and then ride up a ramp onto the track to start) The group gets on the track and then when the leaders are at about turn two the start whistle blows. I was about mid pack by turn two and passed a bunch while riding on the measurement line on the back straight to get in the top 10. I kept forcing my way through at the bottom and eventually got to 3rd behind 2 team mates. The second place guy kept watching the rear and telling his partner and of course me as well, if we were alright for each lap. My ride was easy, in the draft in 3rd with someone telling me what was happening behind. I must have gotten lazy though, as we came around I accelerated a bit thinking there was at least 2-3 riders behind me, No, there was only one and he got me at the line. The race was over so fast I couldn’t believe it. 4th overall. My best Miss and Out ever, so I felt good. It was also fun to hear the announcer talking about “the international” racer while the race was on.
The last race, a 12 lap scratch with 17 riders. Similar stategy, stay near the front, don’t lead the pace for any more than half a lap, roll off and get back in the front group.
I followed my plans but eventually got blown off the pace towards the end but still finished 10th overall about a half a lap from the winner.
Overall, it was a GREAT night of racing. I felt good all night, comfortable in the packs, stayed mostly towards the front in all the races, had a 4th place finish, just generally had fun and enjoyed the last race and ride in the land Down Under.
There is a bar, the Handle Bar Pub, attached to the track so we all retired for a couple of beers before heading to dinner and our next stop for 3 days, Manly Beach area of Sydney Harbor.