Battered and bruised after last weeks SCX race at Silver Lake I jumped in the rig for the short trek out to the Marymoor Velodrome. It rained pretty hard off an on all day Friday and Saturday but was starting to clear up a bit as I entered the parking lot. I registered and had a chance to watch my teammate Tina go wire to wire in the women's 4 field! Theresa and Brianne took 3rd and 5th. After only one race the team was looking good. I kitted up and took a couple of recon laps on the wet course. It was getting a little shredded after the pounding of 300 or so racers but so far it was holding up nicely with only a few areas of rim deep mud. There were a couple of tricky off camber turns around the velodrome but other than that it was a fast course. A new element was added in the place of the traditional uphill barrier sections. A nice flight of wooden stairs (slippery when wet) that briefly brought riders up to the edge of the velodrome. I watched a lot of riders go down during this transition but crashes were happening all over the course. As usual, tire pressure was going to be key.
I've been going a bit backwards as of late but I still managed to get a front row call up when we staged. I really needed to get a good start. Zac sent us off and WTF??...I actually had my best start of the year and made the first turn sitting 3rd wheel, right behind Todd(Collision One) and Robert(Team CNC), who always seems to have good starts. I knew Rocky, Larry and the rest of the crew were not far behind so it was time to try to make the best of my early good fortunes. Even after the long start the first part of the course was still mainly straight and fast. Course Map There was some serious jockeying going on and I moved from 3rd to 5th and back to 3rd before we made out way to the steps. The first time through was pretty crazy. We were in one big heap and timing through this section was key. During previous races I'd seen racers dump it by dismounting too late, by slipping on the wet stairs and by remounting too early. My plan was to dismount as we made the turn, make it up the stars without looking foolish and then run to the highest point by the velodrome railing before jumping back on. Being in 3rd really helped. I made it though clean but could hear guys going down behind me. We powered into the interior of the velodrome and that is when I decided to make a move. I'd been a little tentative of late and it was time for a change. I drove past Robert and Todd and into the lead. We hadn't caught any riders from the field in front of us and it was nice having open road to work with. I was feeling pretty good so I continued to up the pace. By the time lap one was over I was still sitting first wheel. All the big hitters were still on my wheel but the pack was starting to spread out.
Lap two was pretty much like the first. I did relinquish my lead and gain it back a couple of times. The racing was pretty fierce. By the time we finish lap two Rocky and Larry had mad it by me. I was OK with just sitting on Larry's wheel for a while.
Lap three was more of the same except we had started to hit a lot of traffic from the first field. Rocky and Larry were able to get by several of them on the early straight sections and got a small gap on us but nothing too serious.....YET!! I had a little bobble on one of the tight infield turns and got caught in the tape. I was able to get untangled pretty quick but with my momentum slowed, a handful of guys made it by. Man, you cannot make too many mistakes in this field. By the time we were done with the lap I was sitting 6th. I had moved back some but was still feeling good. I don't know if it was because we did 6 laps the last time we raced here of if I just wasn't paying close attention. I had put myself in the hurt locker to get back on with the lead group and thought we had two to go...NOT!! As I crossed the start/finish line it was the first time time had stopped and the lap board was out. It read 3 to go, not 2. Shit!!
I had gaged my effort mentally for two more laps. It shouldn't have been a big deal but lap four was a mess. I got passed by a couple more guys and must have hit course post and/or went though course tape three or four different times. Some guy I'd passed from the early field actually made a comment to me about it. We came though one of the muddier sections on the course and I caught a big ass clump of muddy ass grass right in the left lens of my glassed. When I tried to flick it off it just smeared. Now I was blind in one eye. I decided I was going to wait until I reached the pits an then toss them to my teammate Vern. I couldn't really see and instead of waiting for the last left turn and then going directly by the pits I tried to toss them over a full section of the course....NOT! They landed right in the middle of the course and I went through another post and into the tape. Luckily I was able to get through without dismounting. Paul(Cyle Therapy) and Don(JL-Velo) flew by. I made the corner and there were my $260 Oakleys sitting in the middle of the trail. I thought they were toast but everyone was nice enough to NOT hit them and they were back in my hands after the raced undamaged.....Anyway.....Don and Paul are super strong so I just got on Don's wheel and let them set pace. We made our way onto the track and as Don was getting ready to transition onto the interior of the velodrome he went down hard on the pavement. I barely managed to miss t-boning him. A couple more guys got by.
Two laps to go and it was time to regroup and make a race out of it. I had gone from 1st to about 13th and was not happy. I decided to put myself into puke mode and at least get something out of this. I felt a lot better on lap 6 and did manage to get by a couple of guys. One lap to go and I could see everyone ahead except Rocky and Larry. I pushed as hard as I could and as usually, no one felt the urge to be nice and wait for me. I could see Brian(Stanley) closing fast. He had an earlier mechanical and was making up for lost time. I focused on not letting him catch me and at the same time worked on really Robert T. back in. By the time we were half way done with the final lap I had made it on Robert's wheel. I was starting blow up but tried to remember that I only had to suffer for a few more minutes and made a move to get by him. This gave me some momentum and I was able to get a gap on him. I saw several others just ahead and pushed even harder to catch them too.........But.....I ran out of course and came across the line in 9th. It was the first time I actually collapsed onto the infield after a race. Besides a couple of small mishaps I actually had a pretty solid race. Unfortunately, eight others were a little more solid today. Rocky took the win....again....after a hard fought battle with Larry. I bow to them today. I was pretty satisfied with my effort. Next week we have MFG on Saturday and SXC on Sunday. Halloween weekend is going to be painfully fun. There you there.