Half a wheel, dam! I lost the last match by half a wheel!!! Crap, no Sprint Finals for me this year. I’ve got a case of what Linsey was feeling last night. Maybe not quite as bad but bad enough.
The good side of this day was “It was a great day of 200’s and matches” Best Sprint result I’ve ever had at Worlds and still bettering my best overall 6th place finish in 2009 in Portugal. (Points Race)
Got to bed early last night but that didn’t help. I just couldn’t get to sleep. I turned the light on and watched You Tube Flying 200’s and Match Sprints for about 20 minutes, tried to go back to sleep but was up again watching more of the same trying to ease my jitters and try to learn more about how to make today a success. I know it helped, but I just needed a little bit more of Pat to make the dream of getting into the finals come true.
In the track door at 7:30, set up the pit, unlock the bike and rollers, change into the Speed Suit and about 5 minutes of rollers before the on track warm up session opened at 8. I planned to use a 49/14 gear for the 200 and then back down to a 52/15 for the Sprint Rounds. Through with the 52/16 warm up laps and then into race wheels and the 49/14. Ooh, that feels too big, a few more laps and yes, maybe a bit big for an early morning and after lots of race K’s in the legs. Back to the pit and on goes the 52/15 just in time for close of session at 10 to 9.
My age group is up first, there is 10 of us left after one DNS due to the Scratch race crash. I’m 6th up, right after Stan Gregg, the guy who beat me at US Masters last August, taking 3rd and leaving me 4th. I am really focused and don’t pay much attention to the other times. Stan goes and as he flies by on the back straight, Linsey gives me a monster push up onto the track all the way to the rail, perfect. I roll down about the red line in 3 and 4, up to the rail on the home straight, above the blue line in 1 and 2, rail on the back, above the advertising panels in 3 and 4, rail on home straight, rail, 1 and 2, all rail until I jump out of the saddle in the middle of 3 and 4, time for everything, across the start finish, into the lane at the 50 meter mark, still just above the sponges in the lane around 3 and 4 and still on top of the gear to the finish. Wow, felt great, but what’s the time? The big screen above 3 and 4 says yes, 12.845, almost a PR but only off by .002. Roll off the track and watch the rest of the rides. Done, I’m 3rd fastest! Wow, that’s my best ever qualifier at Worlds. The fast French guy is of course, 1st qualifier.
Time to recover and wait to see how we are arranged for heats. Could be anything and as it turns out is. 3 heats, 2 heats of 3 and one heat of 4. I’m in the last heat of 4. Don’t they know I hate 3 and 4 ups? Lots of recovery time and then we are at the on deck area and only 2 others show up for my 4 up and one of them is from Japan, the same guy I crashed out in 2009 during a 3 up Match. I draw position 3, best place most of the time. The race starts, 2 below me and in front a ways, I have up track advantage, mister Japan is leading, both watching me. On lap 2, turn 3, I jump before them and drop below and in front of 2nd place but behind 1st place. There is a gap that I plan to ride into on this last lap but I never come completely over him finishing right behind in second. Spun out in this gear. Time to go up an inch, 49/14 now, the one that felt too big for the 200. Puts me in a rep. round. The second ride was not fair to my competitor, he has been limping around and I thought is was due to the scratch race crash but later find out he is 4 weeks out of surgery. Real Ironman that one. I am in position 2 and jump going into 3 on the 2nd lap and handily ride away. Lots of great recovery time again and then more rounds. This time I am up against the French guy, World Record Holder as of this week in the 2K, only about 18 seconds faster than me! I am position one this time. The first lap is slow, I keep watching him, second lap he goes up track and I go with, holding him to the rail through 3 and entering 4 and then I make the fatal mistake of allowing him to come over me and then it’s over, he backs off, I try and attack but he is on his own across the line. What’s next? Oh yeah, another 3 up, Stan, from WA, Norm, from Canada and me. I know I can beat Norm, Stan beat me last August at Nats, but I did beat him in the points race at Nats, this will be hard and fun. I don’t show much emotion during these or any rounds like this. I get real quiet and intense and focused, just ask Linsey how much I talk, no talk. Just get ready, snack, drink, ride rollers and then race. Everyone says this is a track you need to ride from the front so my strategy is, no matter what position I draw, Linsey will give me a big push and I ride into 1st place and hold everyone on my hip. Stan, in position one has the same plan. He gets to the front first, me second. Stan has ridden all the rides the same way, no tactics, just get to the front and ride away if possible. Mostly worked for him, except 1 ride. I stay behind, just slightly above so Norm can’t come up and over me and block me. He did that in Portugal to me, not gonna happen again. I really don’t know what he is doing, he is not the guy I need to beat. The pace gets faster and I match Stan, bell lap, I get out of the saddle in turn one, gain a foot or 2 but am spun out for standing efforts. Stan does the same, no effect. We are next to each other, him about half a bike ahead on the home straight, I stand one more time and gain a few feet but we cross the line with Stan’s front wheel half a wheel ahead of me. DAM, DAM, DAM. Frustrated with that final result I ride back into the pit area. Like me with Linsey’s ride, I didn’t know what to say and she doesn’t seem to either. Time to process and then think about what just happened in the last 5 and a half hours, yes 5 and a half hours of 200’s and matches.
It has been a really great day of racing!! Almost a 200 PR, .03. A 3rd place qualification in the 200, my best ever at Worlds and a 5th place finish in the Matches, my best finish ever at Worlds. Add to that a 2nd in the Scratch and a 5th in the 500. No reason to complain. Tomorrow, a 40 Lap Points race that was going to conflict with the Sprint Finals anyway. Heer’s to luck in the Points race.