Remember the old batman and robin show? They'd get in fights and the sound effects would get cartooned onto the screen? Blam! Thwap!!! Crunch!!! Well my favorite one was always "OOF!!!!" Tonight was a bit of an oof night at the track.
With my new Cat 4 track license I entered the B race with the goal of hanging on for dear life. As soon as I got to the track, I switched my 14 rear for a smaller (more teeth) gear for the warmup. In the warmup session I was hanging just fine but then started to have difficulty hanging in when the pace got up to about 28mph. I just chalked it up to whatever I could think of and went on my merry way shooting the shit with my teammate Jonathan until the races started.
I expected the first 40 lap B race to be fast but I was spun out and hanging on my a pinky finger nail for aoubt 22 laps when I finally just couldn't hang on anymore. I rode a few laps trying to catch up then went up to the rail to recover and latch back on the next time around. I missed timing the tag-on and ended up off the back again pretty quickly. So I tried again and this time just barely held on to the finish. As I rode the warmup (warm down?) track I was starting to think I was doomed. It was just way too hard to hang in - and FORGET about being anywhere near the front and challenging for any of the sprints!
With as much optimism as I could muster I decided I needed a bigger gear so I wouldn't be spun out so badly. I removed the rear cog and much to my horror/shock/amusement, found that I had been using a 16 instead of the 15. Well hell!!! I'll take being stupid over being out of shape any day! My mood immediately got better as soon as I realized my egregious blunder and happily installed the 14.
The second race was also 40 laps (with points every five laps). The larger gear felt so dang good that I found myself on the pole lane in the front and just sort of rode off the front. One lap around and I saw I had a flyer in the works so I tried to not blow my wad yet be fast. This lasted for all of two more laps before I was reeled in and smacked down like a kindergartner on the playground with the sixth graders.
I pretty much went off the back pretty soon after that. I struggled with another fellow to get back on but once there's about a third of a lap, there's no point dying out there alone so I went up to the rail and when the pack came around I latched on. It was really hard to stay in touch with the pack but I managed it until the end of the race.
So... post race. On the one hand I have very clear steps ahead of me (like "don't get dropped!") and that always makes a task easier. On the other hand, this is pretty much what I was afraid would happen after catting up. What if my meager training time budget simply isn't enough to get better or faster? This could get pretty discouraging being pack fodder race after race. Sure it's a great -strike that- excellent workout so it's not like there's no benefit.
But here I am again complaining about success instead of enjoying the fact that I DID and COULD cat up. I should be really quite happy that I managed 38 and 39 laps. I should be happy that I was able to take a three lap flyer. Arg! But sometimes that's just hard to do when this silly sport sucker punches you in the gut and you go "OOF!!!"