Saturday, June 14, 2008

Track: Master's Regionals 2008

I decided to do the 1st day of Master's regionals/Texas state championships for one simple reason:

Nothing better to do on a Friday night.

That may offend a few (and I'm sorry about that...), but the underlying reason is that I can't race or ride on day 2, so the sprint and TT events were out. My only choice was to jump into the Points Race (40-49) and the Team Pursuit. Or sit at home and watch TV.

How it went down:

Points race. The 30-39 and 40-49 categories were combined into one race, 12.5K (50 laps). This being age based meant all skills raced together, from Cat 1 - 4. I'm a 4, so I figured the pace to be pretty quick.

We came off the rail and the first jump was within 2 laps. It didn't take. I sat on some faster wheels to judge my own abilities for a few laps. Specifically I sat on the wheel of Mike Gacki* as long as I could given the speed and crowd. At one point everyone went high except Drew Tucker who made a jump. I went with him and we started trading pulls to see if the group would let us stay away...they did for a few laps. Effectively, we gave them rabbits to chase and they blew by right before the first points sprint bell.

I stayed in it despite being blown out the back for 23 laps. Having been lapped twice (and down 40 points as a result), I pulled out to rest up for the Team Pursuit, which was coming up next.

Team Pursuit:

4 man team trial for those that don't know the track events. 4000meters (16 laps at the Superdrome), fast as you can. 3rd front wheel across the line stops the clock. Team Matrix/RBM went first, with Mike G, Dan T, Yo and a 4th (Scott?). Full on aero gear, disc wheels, experienced legs and riders. Dan my have been riding the drops. They were smooth and polished. Dan fell off the back at some point, but since you only need to finish with three, that didn't hurt them other than not having him to share the load once every 4 laps. They wound up doing 17 laps somehow and after re-calculating, they got a corrected time of 5:14:05.

Team "Pray for Rain" - a composite team of me, Chris Williams, Mark H and Mike Owens. We cobbled this thing together at the last minute...literally. We got Mark from Houston on the team with one minute left in registration. No aero equipment, and no practice. 2 Cat 2 guys and 2 Cat 4s in their first year of racing. We started without falling over, formed our line quickly and ramped it up to 28mph. Exchanges were all smooth and everyone took a solid one lap pull throughout the event. We might have been able to spin it up even faster, if not for the 50 lap Points Race my teammates had just completed. We finished in 5:47:something.

2nd place by 33 seconds means that Matrix and their gear/experience/etc. averaged 2 seconds a lap faster than us, which I am VERY PROUD of. First effort for me in this event and I'm a silver medalist. Of course, only 2 teams entered, lol.

Good times. Learned where I stand against the big boys in the points race, and had a blast in the pursuit.

Cyclist to pray for: Karen and the kids...just cuz she is new to our group.


* Michael Gacki is probably one of the three most experienced track racers I know. He's got skills and speed and will throw down in any race, any time, and ignore the pain until after the race. He's aggressive, but so are most of the elites. Better bike handling skills than 99% of the dudes out there. This is not a man-crush...just an explanation of why he gets mentioned from time-to-time in this blog as someone I watch or compare myself to. I want to get to his speed, my style at some point. We have polar opposite personalities, but are able to respect each other despite that.

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