Thursday, Rain and cool.

Wednesday was another long day but an easy day until getting to the velodrome about 4 in the afternoon. Rest and prepare has been the motto of this weeks racing more than any other national or worlds event I’ve been to. Mostly because I planned it that way and some because of where I am staying and modes of transport. I don’t have a car so I need to rely on Dan, Cynthia or cabs. There are four of us racing here but our schedules are much different which makes it harder to support each other. In the past I have found it better to get back home and rest rather than stay at the track and get worn out by the activity that surrounds you.  I tired to get on the Cycling Masters web site for Wednesday updates to make sure I was at the track in time. I was planning to cab or if Cynthia made it home for work, ask if she could get me there. The web site was still crashed from the night before so no help there. Lucky for me, Cynthia made it home and agreed to take me the 2-3 miles.

It’s nice to have a real cafe/cafeteria at the track so you can get more than just snacks. They prepare all kinds of full meals that are quite tasty and healthy. I met Nick in the cafe right after getting to the track and sat with him for dinner to get the late afternoon started. Dan and I met Nick last year and went out to a fancy dinner one night. We thought we could do that again but not in the cards. We talked a bit, he is making some kind of film about his experience this year. I am not sure how that will go, the initial shots look kind of dark and gloomy.

Looking at the schedule, my race looked to be later again so roller warm ups were the plan. I haven’t really spent much time on the track this visit so I decided to change the warm up a bit and roll around for one of the 15 minute track sessions at 5:15 in a warm up gear just to get a feel for the track and traffic. I guess they are letting about 30 riders out at a time for the warm ups so kind of busy but not really. I followed some of my competitors around some and did a few minor jumps and then was ready to come off as the whistle blew. Trying to figure when I raced was tough. I heard the officials across from me say they were changing the published schedule and dropping some races but no where was a list of what really was happening and the lady handing out schedules had no idea, she was just there to make copies of what was originally published. There was a bunch of sprint and pursuit finals and 2 other older age category scratch races before mine. I just watched the heats unfold and keep track as best I could and actually got it figured out so my roller work turned out good. The first scratch race group was in the warm up ring about the time I thought they might get there so as they formed up I could watch and remember how they start mass start races. The race group is formed at the exit of the warm up square, instructions given and then you slowly roll out to the inner rail in turn three. Once everyone is there and ready you roll off and for the first 2 groups, one neutral lap and the gun. Should be the same for us, wrong! I barely heard it but the official told our group the race would start immediately on crossing the start/finish line, no neutral lap. And so it was, a group that was lined out almost immediately.

The Race;     My plan was to stay in the middle of the track just above the red line and draft anyone I could. I know some of the faster riders so I knew who to follow. It’s only a 30 lap race and last year it got fast quick and the same for this year. It immediately felt like I had to produce a lot of power to stay with the pack, which I did, adjusting who I followed but working hard. I saw the  attack happen with about 5-6 riders at about 12 to go and tried to counter and get with it by dropping into the lane but they were just plan faster and gapped me.  I dragged about 3 others with me but had to roll off after about half a lap. I saw a few riders off the race already, including the sprinter who won my repechage  round. By now my legs were feeling the efforts and eventually I got lapped, dam. With the main pack on the last lap, I got pulled from the race, so a DNF for my scratch. Certainly not in the plan.

My rear Mavic tire has been losing air faster than normal since Tuesday. It may have been slightly low during my 200 even though it was up to higher than what I usually run at the beginning of the day to compensate for normal air loss. I brought it back to our home and dip tanked it in the bath tube and couldn’t find any leaks. Wednesday, race day it was worse so I decided to use the rear Zipp 808. Back after the race I found the problem. The tread surface is pealing off from the tire. I brought one new tire and glue, hoping not to use it but Wednesday night after racing was spent with a glass of red wine in hand, glueing a new tire to use on Friday. Our host is learning all kinds of new things.

Dan is off at the track with I think Mark and Timmer doing qualifying heats for scratch races tonight. I have a points race tomorrow, Fiday. Time left to redeem my DNF!!!

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