This is mostly an update with a few small race reports thrown in.
Hugo Road Race: Dumb, dumb, dumb, not because it was a bad course, but due to the wind. 30mph sustained winds with gusts to 45mph, re-read that, it’s the report from NOAA for the day. I was fine in the headwind, but when we turned into the crosswind it was everything I could do to keep the bike upright, much less hold a wheel. I usually don’t blame a race result on having a gimpy arm and leg, but the arm made a difference here; leaning into the wind put some very unusual strain on my upper body and balance control systems. I couldn’t drink enough because I couldn’t take my hand off the bar, it was 78 miles of misery. Lesson learned: 135lbs doesn’t mix with stiff winds.
TT Bike: Hugo did nothing for my confidence, but over the weekend I built up a TT bike. I have not raced a good TT this year and I’ve been putting out pretty good power numbers, so the missing piece of the puzzle had to be the bike. Initial testing shows it be a huge improvement over the road bike with clip ons, and I have not done any testing with race wheels, a skinsuit, or an aero helmet. This is all happening just in time for nationals.
Track Racing: I raced the letter grade night last night at the 7-Eleven Velodrome. I haven’t raced mass start on the track since last summer and I was excited to get back to it. I seeded myself into the B’s initially. The first race was a Chariot heat (1 lap, standing start with a holder, 6 riders). Now, I’m no sprinter, but I do a lot of standing start work for the pursuit and kilo. I also used a little gear so I could get off the line quickly. I started in the poll lane and was 2nd coming into the first banking when the guy above me moved down into my lane early causing me to back off (I should have ducked onto the apron). I had a run on him to the line, but it wasn’t enough, still I advanced to the final.
I drew a crappy 5th place seed for the final meaning I had a lot longer to go through the first turn. I got off the line very well and was first to the turn, but was passed by 2 riders that were lower on the track, I once again had a good run on them down to the line but I ran out of room and finished 3rd. I need to work on timing.
The next race was a Miss and Out (last rider each lap is pulled), we started with 12 or 15 and I lasted until there were 4 riders, I was eliminated by half a wheel.
As we were waiting, the announcer said there would only be 2 Points Races (Sprints every 5 laps with 5, 3, 2, 1 points awarded for 1st-4th, most points wins), a B/C and an A/B race. Decision time, do I race the easier group in a race(my favorite mass start track race) that is far more suited to my strengths than the previous two, or do I risk being blown out the back in the A/B race? I was just about to race the B/C when I decided to Nut Up or Shut Up and race the big boys. Most of the B’s had the same idea so we started with a good size field in the 40 lap race. I didn’t contest the first sprint, but when Ryan jumped for the 2nd sprint I gave chase and took second. Shortly after this Ryan attacked and blew the field to smithereens, he was being chased by 2, I was 4th and 40 meters off that pair, and Eric (who just raced Philly Sunday) was 5th. It took me about 6 laps to catch the 2 in front of me, Eric finally caught us and we went about trying to catch Ryan, but he gobbled up enough points to take the win. I’m pretty sure I scored enough points for 4th place, so instead of getting destroyed I finished with the fast guys and rode a respectable race.
A new bike and good legs are pretty nice to have 2 weeks out from Nationals/Worlds Qualifier.