I was a bit tired from Tuesdays ride at the port. Hanan organized a women’s/slower men port ride at six. Pace was perfect for me the day before a race, challenging but not killer. I was surprised I was a little sluggish Wednesday morning.
Wednesday Night Racing
Finally I got a good warm-up in. The key is leaving work at 4:00, not 4:15. The “C” group was all together this week, so that meant it was faster than previous weeks.
Kierin Round Robin. This race is 6 laps. You get paced by a motorbike for the first 4.5 and it gets progressively faster. Then it pulls off and it is balls to the wall for the last 1.5 laps.
#1 – I wanted to try the spot behind the motorbike. This was cool- it wasn’t scary at all and I could get really close. The draft was awesome there – until that motorbike pulls off and I was stuck in front with 5 people behind me going really fast. I figured when the bike pulled off I would just kick it to hopefully get a gap. Man, I kicked it all the way around the curve, thinking I totally must have a huge gap cause I was going to so fast—then I saw the shadow of riders behind me. I saved a little for the last half lap and kicked it again, hoping no one would come around me. No one did! I was surprised I held everyone off to win this round...but realized that might not be the best spot, especially if you are with people faster than yourself. Being first position felt like doing a 500TT…with all your competitors sitting on your wheel.
#2 – This time I wanted to try a different spot- so I went to the top of the track. There were some really fast people in this heat. Mike was my holder and right before he let go he whispered in my ear: “Don’t get in last position!” and then gave me the biggest push ever—I got in position 3. Draft wasn’t as good as in position 1, but I knew I’d be in better shape when the bike pulled off. When the bike pulled off there was some moving around. Nicolas came around from last position to make a big gap and I didn’t move quick enough to get on his wheel. Grey came on the outside on that last straight away to get 2nd, and I passed some guy on the last straight away to get third. I was really happy with this cause it was a fast heat!
#3 – I wanted to try to get 3rd wheel again, but was put in position 1 behind the motor again. There were some faster people than in my first heat, so I knew this wasn’t optimal. What do you do in this situation? (Please let me know!) Anyway, I tried to accelerate before the motor pulled off in hopes of opening a bit of gap. I don’t know if this happened or not, but I thought I was flying. No one came around for awhile, then Nole came around and I didn’t catch his wheel, but I did manage to hold off anyone else passing, so I got 2nd in this heat.
Pretty good practice all in all. This is a hard race and requires lots of thinking while all you are really can about is trying to keep your legs moving faster. I ended up getting 5th in the overall round robin, so I was pretty pleased with this, as there were some fast people out there!
Scratch Race. We were running short on time, so this was shortened to 6 laps. My plan was to stay on Grey’s wheel cause he knows what he is doing. Then a couple laps in I got worried cause it seemed like Grey (and subsequently me) were boxed in—and I was pretty far back and thought if there was a jump from the outside I’d be screwed. I maneuvered a bit and got to third wheel. While this may have seemed like a good position, I knew I was not in good position because all the fast people were behind me and to the right and I knew I’d get boxed in shortly. It is weird when you know things aren’t good, but you don’t really know what to do. Anyway, as predicted pack came tight on my left. The guy in front of me slowed down a lot. I needed to slow down cause I was going to hit him, but I couldn’t move up track, so I did something I knew I shouldn’t and went on the blue line on the left and went around him cause I didn’t think I could back pedal hard enough at this point. (What should I have done here? …when you can’t slow down moving up and it seemed like my only option was to pass on the inside?) Anyway, by the time I maneuvered that, there were 5 ahead with a half lap and I just a bit behind to get 6th. I should have stuck with Plan A and hung on Grey’s wheel, ‘cause what I did was dumb.
Miss ‘n Out. Couldn’t wait for this race! It is becoming my favorite, because as Courtney says: “Everyone’s a winner in the miss ‘n out!” It was very confusing, though cause they were eliminating 2 riders each lap. It was hard to keep track of 2 people instead of 1, and makes the being the gunner from the back more difficult. Things were a bit shaky/jerky the first couple of laps – it calmed down when the pack got smaller. Then on one of eliminations, someone flicked out to the right before the elimination, almost t-boning me. I yelled ‘watch out!’ kinda loud as I saw him jerk into me- so he jerked back down. I was about a quarter to a half wheel behind him there, so that would’ve been disaster if he came up further. I don’t really know why he jerked so much, cause he wasn’t close to getting eliminated that lap, so he didn’t need to pass anyone at the line. Anyway, that was a bit scary, and I backed off a bit on the next lap, I ended up getting eliminated in, so I got 5th. I shouldn’t have backed off so much after that scare, cause I think I could’ve made it one lap potentially.
Well, all in all, a good Wednesday. It was fun to race with some really fast people- and I learned a lot about positioning. There were also quite a few women, so that was cool too. I am pretty tired, so hopefully I won’t be too spent for tomorrow’s loooong points race.