Well, there was no Disney-esque come-from-behind Cinderella story this night. I didn't have the legs to compete. I chose to ride a bit more conservatively and picked a smaller gear (50x15= 90"). With a field packed full of very fast guys riding larger gears (93-96" mostly), I was just outgunned. When it came down to it, my lack of speed training meant I didn't have the leg speed to keep up on the smaller gear. Maybe a bigger gear would've gotten me to the final, or maybe I would've been bogged down and unable to turn it over.
The first round bracket of 6 I was in consisted of 4 guys who would end up qualifying for Nationals. So, on paper anyway, we had the fastest/ strongest group of the night. We had to draw numbers for our position behind the motor and I got #1, which really isn't the number you want in a 6 lap event where the motor pulls off at 4 and leaves you with 2 laps in the wind. I don't know why I thought I could lead things out from the front with 2 laps remaining, but I tried anyway. I thought I was in with a chance until I got passed and had nowhere to go to move up. I was stuck down low, boxed in and too slow to push my way forward. Since only the top 2 moved on to the finals... I wasn't moving on. Off to the repechage with the other "losers"!
Repechage round with 8 guys trying to get 2 remaining spaces for the final. Think it was going to be a fast ride? Uh huh... And with my "luck", I drew the #1 spot behind the motor again. Yippee for me! So, ok, I learned something in that first round; get out of the darned wind when the motor pulls off. Well, that only works when the pace doesn't instantly explode as you are drifting back for a better position. I fought my way back in to the line and was sitting in third as we headed into turn three and I was feeling suddenly like I had a realistic chance of making it to the line in second. Then "The Doc" came over my hip on the right side to make his move. As he accelerated over me, his rear disk wheel made a grinding/ skipping noise like it was coming out of the drop out or the cog was spinning off. The noise startled me and I thought we were all going down at nearly 40mph. I tensed up and braced myself for impact... and slowed down. The only "problem" is that nothing was wrong with his disk and nothing happened, except that my chance to make it to the finals rode off ahead of me, since 4th just got to go home.
Stupid mistake on my part. "What happens behind you doesn't matter", is what my first track cycling coach taught me years ago. After that disappointing repechage ride, those words were ringing in my ears the whole drive home.
Oh well, if I can avoid divorce, I might make that horrible drive in traffic to Encino this Saturday and Sunday to try to qualify one last time. Maybe...