What an awesome day and what a blast racing on the track was today. I don't have anything to show for it since I managed to make a few tactical blunders but I'm very happy with my first day on the track and -more importantly- had a great time racing and hanging out with folks and making new friends. So let the boring gory detail begin!
First Race: Kieren Race one. In a nutshell, you ride behind a motorcycle getting paced for a number of races, the motor pulls off and you go like mad for about 500 meters. The ticket is to be second or third wheel so the poor sap on the front acts like the motorcycle after the motorcycle is gone. In my heat I ended up being that poor sap and when the motor pulled off I just turned it up to eleven and owned the pole lane. One fast youngster smoked me with 200 meters to go and then a little pocket rocket girl easily went around me for the finish (she won the women's cat 4 race at the Wente Criterium).
Kieren Heat Two (repeat heat?): So if you aren't first or second you get a chance to earn your way back into the final heat by getting second or first in this one. Think best of the rest. I was last wheel of seven and started moving up when the motor pulled off. At 200 meters I was on the stayer's line and just jumped as hard as I could. My jump is not really all that strong but I was able to wind it up enough to come around everyone in turns three and four and win the heat and get into the final.
Kieren Final: I'd already tasted my eggs and begal breakfast once today and this was the second time. I could only manage fifth place (of six). But that was okay. I was just happy to get three heats worth of racing under my belt.
Scratch Race: This is just a basic race of fifteen laps and the first guy across the finish wins. No tricks, no counting points in your head, just race and try to sprint at the end. I mainly just surfed around in the pack trying to get comfortable with a pack at race speed. Mostly I found myself at the back -my predestined place in any pack race for some reason. Hesitated when I saw what I should do, started my sprint too late and not sure where I finished. Maybe sixth?
Miss and Out: Simple rules. Last guy across the line on a lap is out. First lap I took the very high outside and just accelerated to the mid pack level. Easy! Second lap, same thing. Third lap, did it again. Hey this is easy, lemme try to do it going low. D'OH! Shouldn't have broken a good recipe for success. I (predictably) got boxed in and that was that.
Snowball: The first person across the line on each lap gets points. The points increase as the race goes along. I sat in for four laps then decided to try and get some points. I sprinted but failed to catch the person on the line. But I did notice that I had closed a three bike length gap up to the sprint so I just dove down the track in turn one and put the pedal to the metal. I came around and scored points on the next lap solo off the front. I looked back and had about a quarter track gap so I kept rolling. I think I managed to score four laps (or was it five?) before getting caught and I was toast. I went as fast as I could for a few laps but then I went up the track and took a couple easy laps. Then I heard someone say, "keep going or you'll lose your points". BIG OOPS. I didn't know it worked like that! So I lost my points a lap and a half later when I got lapped. Crap! That cost me a top five in the omnium for sure. Oh well. This is all about learning right now and I'm a veritable sponge.
FOLLOWUP::: So I ended up tied for 7th (of 10) with my only point coming from the fifth in the Kieren. I thought I had points in the scratch but it was REALLY close at the line so that's okay. I'd rather come away from the day with a bucket of learnin' than points (not really but I'll say that to feel good...). Off to the track again tonight!!!