Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Back to the Track!

Last night was my first night of Tuesday Night Track Racing at the San Diego Velodrome. Last year, I managed only two races at the track... which was twice as many as the year before. The work schedule, the travel and the sheer volume of work make it difficult to get out of the office in time to make it to the races on time. That said, I'm still committed to trying again this year. Thing is, I simply love track racing and every year it kills me to not be there in the action each week.

So anyway... on to the racing! (Blue Squirrel has a good recap too- so I'm pilfering some of his photos.)

It was another chilly early season night of racing with temps in the upper 40's to low 50's and clouds that threatened rain and kept us all a little cautious... as rain turns the track into a death pit.

The evening's festivities began with the usual motorpaced burnout. Since I decided to race the B's, my race was only 30 laps. And as is customary for this time of year, the long paceline inch wormed along and kept getting bunched up and then strung out as people tried to find the rhythm of the track again. The C's sprinted at 15 laps and then it was the B's turn to sprint at 30 laps. So when the motor pulled off, with 3 laps to go I began moving forward and got to the front with a lap+ to go and gunned it. I had a great gap, but got cocky and thought I had the race won and ended up getting swarmed to net 4th place instead.

Lining up at the rail- the full field for the racing was probably around 50 riders.

Hanging on to the rail waiting for the start of the race... and trying not to freeze!

The next race up was a 10 lap Win & Out; that means you race for 10 laps and the winner of that lap is 1st place, the winner of the next lap is 2nd and so on until 5th place. I rode a bit smarter this time, but timed my movement to the front wrong and got kind of boxed in when the winner rolled to the front and took 2nd with him with a sizable gap. I managed to get away from the field with a good gap myself and grabbed 3rd... which felt a lot better.

Next was a 10 lap Scratch race and I was just a victim of poor timing. I blew my energy trying to get off the front with the two guys who'd beaten me in the previous race when they rolled off the front again. I launched a good attack from the field to catch them, but then they sat up- maybe not wanting to bring a sprinter to the line with them. I dunno... but when the field caught us, I faded pretty good and sat about mid pack and finished maybe 10th with dead legs.

My last race of the night was a 25 lap Points race. Everybody knows I hate Points races. I'm a sprinter... and one with poor fitness at that... so 25 laps is like an eternity with sprints every 5 laps. So what do I do? I launch a solo attack on a huge gear with 22 laps to go... The attack looked good, but I quickly faded and was caught by the winning break of 3- 4 riders. I then sat in the middle between the break and the chase for what seemed like 100 laps... but it wasn't. I sat up and joined the chase group, but then slid off the back of that and decided to call it a night.

All in all, I was super happy with how my legs responded to the racing. Far better than I expected they would, since it was my first race in a long time and my first time on the track since December. My legs had great power/ acceleration and my leg speed was better than I thought it'd be- must be from all the roller workouts on the Fixed with the smallish gear (46x16). The first races were all run on a 49x15 (88") gear and then I hopped up to the 49x14 (94") for the Points and I think I was just bogged down. Racing on 170 cranks still feels a little different too, since I'm used to running 167.5 or 168 (depending on the crank). I do have to say that the TruVativ (SRAM) Omnium cranks do feel very stiff. I was also testing a new chainring from a small supplier in Taiwan and I was very happy with how it rode. So now it might find a home on a Masi bike in the full line. Hmmm... Also, the Cane Creek wheels combined with the Vittoria Pista tubulars was an insanely fast feeling set up. I can honestly say that they felt much faster than my tri-spoke wheels... which I've always said were very stiff and fast. If you are considering high-end racing wheels... you HAVE to check out the Cane Creek wheels because these babies are practically an unfair advantage.

On top of it all, I had the distinct pleasure of having both Masibestfriend and Masidaughter there to watch and cheer me on. Masidaughter spent the night running with me around the cool down/ warm up track and standing at the edge of the track screaming "GO DADDY, GO!" By the end of the night, the other guys were teasing me, saying "yeah... go daddy... GO". But I just kept saying, "it's good to have a fan". And it sure is!

Sitting on the rail, waiting for action! Dig the red chainring!

Masidaughter getting her exercise chasing me around during my cool down/ warm up rides. She really enjoys going to the track to watch the races and was already asking if we were coming back next week as we were leaving last night... makes a Masiguy happy.

Squirrel getting all artsy on us with some cool camera angles... but dig the sweet wheels! Damn they are fast! (Even with ME on them.)

Hopefully there will be many more race reports coming this year. This should just be the first of many... as I hope to really race this year. We'll see what the travel schedule yields this time. Off to Texas for the Houston-Austin MS150 over the weekend... more on that tomorrow from Houston!

Time for bed now...



erv said...

Always great to have you out at the track, high 40's can anyone confirm that?

Vincenzo said...

great story. Tim, what chainring and rear cog are you running for the 10 and out race?

Anonymous said...

Please bring back the Masi jersey.
Just Look at the frenzy for this used one on ebay now:

(item number 160231638550)