The Good, the Bad and the Ugly......
Let's start with The Bad.
Dave M. and I showed up to the track around 6:00pm last night. It was dry and cold but it looked like it would rain any second. did I mention it was cold? My in car thermometer read 50 degrees when I parked. We did our warm up laps and headed to the start for the race instructions. Right about that time the heavens opened up and it started to rain. I was hoping it would hold off but.....
It was suppose to be the traditional counter clockwise flat course with two pimes. Rory told us that they decided with our numbers, about 40 it would be perfect for a points race. The first lap would be neutral (ask Mezera about that) and points would be awarded for every lap, 3 for first, 2 for second and 1 for third. We would go 45 minutes and at the end they would rank you by how many points you racked and the winner would get 5 points for the night down to 1 for 5th. When you get your mind set for one kind of race and they change it up like that it messes up your strategy. Now every lap except the first was a sprint. You had to figure out which laps you wanted to make a run for because you can't go that hard on every one. I figured that I would go for the opposite laps that Ross tried for.
On the second lap we came around the back stretch and we looked up and saw a huge pile up of riders from the Masters group. It looked like a Tour de France crash where no one could get through the pile up. Everyone was either trying to untangle themselves or walk around it. By the time we got there we were able to get through a small gap. I was up front with Ross. He finished the lap first with me 2nd. I did't work hard for it as I just happened to get through easier than most. I figured the next lap was mine. As we came through the back stretch we crash in the exact spot. A bunch of guys went down and I was able to get through. As the lap finished I was sitting 10th wheel and didn't think I had a chance. I went for it and managed to take it by less than a wheel length. I was spent and sat up to recover. Michael from Wines of Washington came flying by and decided to make a breakaway attempt. No one went with him and I was too spent to try. I figured we would regroup and haul him in. On the back stretch we had another crash in the same spot. Again, I got though and took 2nd in the sprint as Michael was still way out in front. As we came through we were told that for the rest of the race we would now be using the escape route. I guess some type fuel or oil got on the track and the rain brought it to the surface. A lot of guys were really bummed about that because it added a hill and with every lap being a points lap it would be really tough. Of course, I was happy.
Ross went out and tried to catch Michael and the rest of us just hung out. I was racking up points and figured I would at least get third. I wanted to conserve my energy for one last go at a sprint win at the finish. We came around and were told we had two laps left. I looked back and noticed we only had eight or so guys left in our field. Everyone was either a lap down or had packed it in for the night. I figured we had to catch the two leaders no if I was going to have a chance. We caught them just after the start of the last lap and it was looking good. We hit the hill and Rory took off. My legs and lungs were burning but I had to reel him in. Four of us were able to catch him on turn three and the games began. He told me that he and I should go for it as we had a good chance of taking it. Every time he has said that I've gone around him and then realized that I was going into the final sprint in the lead. It is a bad position to be in as you either have to gun it or wait for someone to make a move. You are always looking over your shoulder. This time I sat up and refused to take the lead. the pace slowed to about 10mph and were were doing the serpentine thing all over the track as he kept going slower and slower trying to get one of us to take the lead. It came to the point were we had about 60 meters to go and no one was making a move. Ross swerved hard to the left and I followed. He made the mistake to look over his left shoulder to see where I was and Michael took the chance and bolted on our right. Ross didn't see it but I did and quickly jumped on Michael's wheel. He was flying but I managed to get up to speed and hang on. Just before the finish I "slingshotted" around him and won the sprint. Ross got third. It felt good. In the end I ended up with the 2nd most points for the night behind Michael. For a race that was only 17 miles it was the hardest race I've done this year. I got off my bike and fell to the ground and had to sit there for five minutes before getting up. I won three sprint laps and took 2nd or third in most of the others. I was able to maintain my 2nd overall place for the series.