In honor of the ongoing Giro d'Italia I thought I'd give my title a little Italian flare. For those of you without track cycling knowledge there is some lingo that I'll explain quickly. A "scratch race" is the simplest race on the track. The field starts after a single rolling lap and the first racer to finish is the winner. The track is cigar shaped like a track and field track and is banked 15 degrees in the straights and 43 degrees in the corners. It is a 250 m track similar to what you would see in the Olympics. Track bikes are fixed gear bikes with no brakes and no free wheels so as long as your bike is going, so are your pedals. All right, that's enough for now. Feel free to enjoy the race report.
First night out at the track for this season and I had forgotten how HARD it is out there. Holy Smokes. Every race felt like an all out sprint for almost the whole time. imagine a greyhound race on wheels (and no rabbit). There were three races tonight. And if I am not mistaken I believe that this marks the debut for IC3 on the NSC Velodrome. Woohoo!
Thursday 5/20/10 was the first night of the Thursday Night Lights series up at the Velodrome. There were three races for the Cat 4/5 field.
The first race was a 10 lap scratch race that ramped up as soon as the gun went off. 10 laps later I found myself gapped off the back and finished midpack. Race number two was an unknown distance race. And yes, an unknown distance race is just what it sounds like. you don't know how far you are racing until 1.5 laps from the finish when the official fires his gun and then there is a final bell lap. I had planned on sticking in the pack and trying to make a go of it somewhere around lap 11 or 12 (I was hoping it would be about 15 laps or so). No luck. The strongest guys in the pack took off on lap 2 and kept the pace at what felt like just below Mach 2. End result...another finish midpack, maybe 6-10ish.
Race number three was more predictable, or at least I thought it would be. It was a 40 lap scratch race so I expected that it would at least start out at a more reasonable pace. I was wrong, but at least I was ready. This time the pack shot off again at lap 2 or 3 and I made sure to mark the right rider to take me up to the three or four who had taken off. A Speedfix rider and Birchwood rider were dominating the pack and soon the pack started to block their attacks so the race took a "surge and recover" pattern I stuck with all the surges and didn't use too much energy so that I was feeling good with 8 laps to go. There was a lull and I tried to liven things up with an attack, but didn't get enough of a gap, so I settled back into the pack. We stuck together for 5 more laps and then it was the end for me. The Birchwood rider made it up track on the home straight with three laps to go and took off like a rocket. I wasn\'t able to hang onto the others who were downtrack with me and finished with a gap off the back of the first 6 riders or so.
All in all not a bad first night. I haven't done a lot of interval training to get me ready for that. I'll be back in two weeks to try my luck again. Hopefully I will be joined by some of my fellow IC3er's? You know you want to... (7pm NSC Velodrome 6/3/10. BE THERE)