So part of my perception about racing here I gained from listening or hearing about events in the past related to racers I know. One of the perceptions was that this track was very slippery and easy to crash off. That maybe racers needed to go through an orientation session to get certified to ride here. That means maybe riding faster to stay upright. In sprint matches, fast is ultimately the end product but getting there is sometimes very slow. Earlier in the week I proved to myself that I could be comfortable riding slow but also that I slipped a few times in the turns riding slower. So what is it. One very experienced local rider told me just don’t float the turns, power through them at least a little and the problem goes away. The other thing I know is that riding alone worrying about things is different then riding with others and just doing what you know, I know, from riding thousands of kilometers on a 250 meter track. My favorite quote from Aristotle is ” We are what we repeatedly do, excellence then is not an act, it is a habit”. Watching others sprint one another on other days I can see that I may not be the only one who’s thought about slipping. More matches are ridden lower that higher on the track even though advantage can lay in altitude.
If you know about Sprinting you know the day starts with all riders doing a qualification Flying 200 ride which seeds them for the matches. My fastest time for a 200 this year was in the last few weeks at Boulder, riding a 13.4?? second 200. My hope was to be able to get in the 12’s, this track has felt fast to me but 200’s are also technical. Watching and talking to others as they do really fast 200’s I’ve decided to change my line some and try something new. There about 23 of us vying for the top 12 qualifying spots. I’m first to ride so at least for a very short time I will have the fastest time of all, ha, ha. I do a 13.508, ugh, not what I was hoping but maybe I can hold on. The racers go out and a few go faster, a few slower. My newest Team Sprint guy beats my time by a tenth of a second, huh? how did he do that after how he rode in the team event? Linsey is here with me to help and we keep looking at each other as the times are done, at the end, I maintain a qualifying position but it’s 12th. That means I have to ride my first match against 1st place qualifier who is a second faster than me, doesn’t sound like much, it is!
First match, me against New Zealand. I draw position 2, higher on the track. I have a strategy, doesn’t even come close to working. New Zealand just rides faster and faster, I can’t get enough altitude to help, he beats me handily. One and done. I am now in a 3 person/3 up ride, winner gets to move on, losers go home. I draw position 1 for the 3 up. I have Linsey give me a big start push which surprises the other two. I’m off the front higher on the track so they have to ride higher at slower speeds and I have a lead but not working hard. We have 3 laps to ride, they pass me on the home straight with 2 laps to go. I am up high in turn one and sprint down track between the two of them and surprise them again gaining a big lead. Both riders have faster 200 times then me and one uses his speed to catch and eventually on the back straight start to come around me, then pass in 3 and 4 and eventually win the ride, me taking 2nd beating one of them but out of the matches for the event. My day is done. Not anything near like my Nationals experience this year when I rode all day long, riding 8 separate matches along with my 200. Hardly my monies worth for Worlds but at least I qualified and had 2 matches, 11 guys only got a 200 ride in for the day.