Monday, April 19, 2010

Also Ran... Hellyer Get Ready For Summer April 17, 2010

Coming off the last two Tuesday nights I had some hope for a good race day but Saturday morning found me with some tired legs and a fuzzy brain. Getting ready to go I was standing in my "garage" gathering and looking for crap when I looked up to see my jeep rolling backwards toward me. I just sort of stood there with no idea how to escape as it filled the doorway and sort of slow motion crashed into my bench and the side of the door. Damage: one tail light (that was already pretty much toasted from wheeling anyway) , a tire mark on the garage door trim and my brain. Not an auspicious beginning coupled with trying to get a moody 6-year old out the door for his TaeKwanDo green-belt testing.

Four races on tap: Kieren, Scratch, Miss-n-out and Points.

Kieren: After a brief warmup, I was happy to feel the legs come around. I took the start too casual and after a lap finally retreated to the absolute last wheel. But I was hopeful since I was behind two potentially fast riders. They both pulled up track before the moto took off and I went with them. As the moto pulled off there was a little bit of a hesitation as I was accelerating and I ended up with my front wheel just slightly behind and down track and got stuck behind slowing riders since I couldn't cross over. By the time I got through that the train had left the station and I briefly had a hope of surging up to nip fourth but that was a fantasy. Dammit! I felt like I had the legs to have maybe sprinted for third or fourth but just didn't play it right and had a little bad luck. Next time: -more aggressive for better wheel -if following riders, get my front wheel uptrack so I don't get boxed in.

Scratch: So having screwed up the Kieren, alot of sitting around and stewing followed. By the time we took the rail for the scratch, I had pretty much deflated my own sails and was kind of unenthusiastic about any chances of being anything but pack fodder for the day (BAD BAD BAD mental game, little Roy. Bad.). Anyway. It looked like MetroMint had the numbers so I went with their first move. We did get a slight gap but it was brought back after a lap or so. After that it was just follow follow follow. I was on a good wheel with three to go but I lost it. Then I moved up for the final but moving up took too much gas and got swarmed and came in with the pack. Blah.

Warming down I heard, "Hi DAD!" and looked up to see Jasper and Kris had shown up (fresh from picking up a new rooster!). Of course about 5 minutes later there was only the second crash I've ever seen at the track and it was a bad one as the C race Miss-n-out had a nasty one that left two people laying on the track for long time and another sitting and very dazed. "Really Kris, that NEVER happens!" In my inexperienced opinion, the accident might have been caused by too large of a C field for that particular race. A very long (and unfortunate-since it was a wait for ambulances) delay followed while the injured were attended to. Jasper and I took a number of laps on the warmup loop and hanged out until Kris and Jasper had to get going (rooster sitting in the back of the car and all that) so they didn't even get to see a race...

Miss-n-Out: With the crash and all the sit-around time, I took the rail with even less enthusiasm than before. I think I lasted about ten laps and it was all playing the devil from the back so I was kind of pooped and basically just let go instead of trying to do yet another sprint up at the rail.

Points: Fast race and it was shortened to only 20 laps with four sprints. No way I was going to get anything in those conditions with the level of competition in the field. The 5-to-go sprint looked doable but I got boxed in and couldn't burn that match. Finished comfortably in the pack. The final was a little nerve wracking since I got pushed up track as a guy came out of the sprinters lane for no apparent reason between turn four and the finish line. If I'd been a few inches further up I would have stuck an elbow in his hip. Just cuz you're not in the front sprint doesn't mean the rules don't apply to you too. This is why I so often don't bother sprinting for tenth. It always seems to be the most dangerous place. Up at the front is safe. The back of the pack is safe. But right in the middle where there is no hope of a good place yet it's fast while riders are falling back and alot of people just stop trying and shut down short of the line while others are (in a fantasy land) trying to sprint up into the places that are already won makes a nasty combination.

I'm not sure how I managed to write so much about such an uninspiring day but there ya are. This week is the beginning of Wednesday night racing but work is the theme of the week so no track this week. Wente is next weekend and then it's back to concentrating on climbing and miles getting ready for Mt. Hamilton road race at the end of May. That said, I hit the climbs really hard yesterday for the first time in quite a few weeks and the concentration on flat speed and track time hasn't seemed to killed my climbing like it did last year. So I'll probably come out for the first couple of weeks of May.

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