Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Hellyer Tuesday Night Race: April 6, 2010

Hawt dayum I loves me some after work track racin'. Tonight I was up on the rail waiting to start a race and two old guys in the stands reminded me exactly of the two old dudes up in the balcony on the Muppet Show.

Old Dude 1: Livermore?
Old Dude 2: Isn't that some town back East?
Old Dudes together: Har Har Har Har.

Well at least they didn't mistake me for a Peninsula Velo-ite like 90% of people seem to do with our kit.

Three races tonight! First was a scratch race, second was an inverse win-n-out, and third was a points race. I showed up nice and early and got a really good warmup in. People kept coming in and coming in and coming in! I've never seen near that many people at the track before. It was pretty cool, yet, I felt bad for Larry and the Ref for having to wrangle the mob.

Scratch race: 42(!) people went to the rail for the start and Larry immediately divided the field (phew!) into an A and a B simply by order on the rail. I was a late liner upper so I was in the B. Not much to say about the race. I was purposefully undergeared and didn't have alot to contribute to chase down a breakaway that stayed away for the whole race. No one wanted to work hard in the wind, it seemed. I think I was 8th or so in the sprint, out of points so it don't matter.

Inverse win-n-out: VERY strange format. Race and ride for 12 laps. The winner on the 13th lap comes in 5th. The next lap winner is 4th, and so on and the winner of the final lap is the first place. Strange, no? I had regeared for this race and was ready to compete now. The talk in the pits was that it would be good to have a five or six person break and let them duke it out for the places. So I stayed up at the front for the beginning but nothin' was going and I was burning my matches. I drifted back and recovered in the pack. I moved back up to the front and before we headed into the first bell lap, I attacked from the top of the track and held it around for a 1.25 lap effort that netted me fifth place. W00 h00. I was pretty sure I wasn't going to do higher so it was a good strategy to go all or nothing for fifth.

Points race: 25 laps, points every five laps. I got one point on the first lap. Then two guys went off the front and we were sprinting for the two remaining places on the next three sprints (I got nothin') and then things really splintered and I didn't have the gas to make the front group of four so what was left of the pack just chased until the end. Still, one point is better than par for me.

I'm pretty happy with the first day of the year on the track (well, for mass starts anyway). I was chatting with a fellow after the race and I commented that I thought maybe the B fields were actually slower this year. He said, "No, you're just faster." I'd like to think that's true. Tonight was certainly a good indicator that maybe I can be competitive this year rather than just pack fodder. But then again it always just comes down to who shows up, good old luck and a dash of confidence.

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