I came to the realization last week that my track season is pretty much over. I was in really good form in late July, but immediately thereafter, got Very Sick for a week and a half, was off the bike for a bit longer due to Other Things, followed that up with Too Much Work And Not Much Riding, a short vacation. The end result was that I spent three to four weeks being sick and riding very lightly.
I did, however, make a point of going to Kissena for the State Champs and Nat'l Qualifiers for one of the three days of racing - just to have a last couple of races for the season. We did Flying 200s, match sprints, a 4-mile scratch race, and a keirin.
Very soon it was clear to me that I lost a lot of my top-end, which could be strong but wasn't exactly a thing to brag about earlier in the season. I also realized that I lost that ability to surge and recover, surge and recover, though I wish there were more mass-start events on Sunday to see exactly where I was after a slow month.
My flying 200 was unimpressive - actually slower than right at the beginning of the season, which was a bit of a disappointment. I got seeded into a 3-up match sprint, holding the obligation to lead for the first 200 meters. I did so, brought the other two into turn 3, and went into a trackstand. An MIT rider took the lead and I fell behind the other rider into 3rd. We stayed high on the banking, no major moves, just a lot of watching. MIT ramped it up on the homestretch, but didn't jump. As we went into turn 1 I took the opportunity to go high on the banking; MIT was looking over his inside shoulder, and Kimani wasn't looking, so I came down and passed them both at a good clip. But I left the sprinter's lane open for MIT, who came inside me; Kimano went over the outside on turn 4, and as my Felt hopped around on the bumps of turn 4, I eased up - my race was over.
MIT later told me that had I came inside after passing him, I could have taken the sprinter's lane and boxed him, preventing him from really winding up for a few more seconds, which could have held him (and, just maybe, Kimani as well) off. It crossed my mind but I didn't want to completely come down hard in front of him. But it was a really good race and I raced it smart.
In another match sprint, Niki
took off with 500m to go, surprising me and the other two riders (yeah, a 4-up match sprint. Hmm), and rode away with it. Nice one! But he no longer holds the track hour record. That belongs to Ken Harris, who broke it on Thursday morning with 110 laps - 44km, averaging 27.5 mph for an hour. Wow!
I raced pretty smart on the long scratch - not contesting a prime, keeping myself in good position. After the prime, the leaders recovered and stayed together, the ass fell off the back, and I and two others were trying to bridge back up. Alas, we couldn't do it - the other two fell off and I rode through in sixth place. Not a bad performance, but obviously nothing special from me.
After hours and hours of waiting around in the strong sun, I was pretty cooked and not really psyched for racing the Keirin - especially after I drew the first position and had the obligation to stay behind the pacer - thus, leading out the sprint.
But by that time, late in the afternoon, I was ragged, and had a hard enough time finding Campo's draft as he brought the fume-spewing moto up to 32mph. When Campo pulled off, I was pretty done, and the earnest sprint passed me with 300 to go.
Later today I'll look back on the highs and lows of the season, and think about next season.
Labels: Kissena, track racing