I've been dealing with breathing issues and after a visit to my pulmonologist on Monday, hopefully we are on track to get it under control. So last night's racing was going to be a test--could I even go hard without wheezing/coughing/being unable to breathe?
Tuesday Night Women's Racing and Madison Practice is the alternate Tuesday nights. Michael just started up this series to give the women (especially the new women) more opportunity to race against each other (instead of coed racing which is good, but sometimes not so good).
I got to the track and got in a good warm up, first in the warm up gear and that felt pretty good. I changed to the race gear and in the warm up it felt ok, but a little big (47x14). It was cool and really windy so I switched over to a smaller gear (46x14) and raced on that.
12 women, 4 of them were track Cat. 3 plus one of the Proman gals, who may be a 2 on the track, but she was there to mostly mentor. The rest of us were 4s with a number of very strong riders. First race was a 15 lap scratch. I felt ok for about 10 laps then couldn't go when there was an attack. Breathing was actually pretty good, but I was on the conservative side. Use this race as a warm up. Legs were pretty tired.
Second race, a 12 lap points race, points every 4. I did OK for about 5 laps then got gapped on the second sprint. I took a lap and got back in when the group came around again and ended up scoring a point on the last sprint. My breathing pretty much OK--I just couldn't go super hard and that's when I got gapped (though my max speed was 29.9 mph so we were going pretty hard). But no coughing until after the race was over. Last week I had started to cough and wheeze during the races, so this is improvement!
Next we did some match sprints. I was in a 3-up and was watching Carol and junior Becky got behind us and took off. That was very smart of her. We chased and I couldn't quite come around them at the finish, but we were all within a wheel of each other. Good effort!
Then we did some Madison practice. What is the Madison? The madison is a conventional race but, since the innovation in New York, with riders in each team riding part of the distance, handing over to the other member, resting, and then returning to the race. Teams are usually of two riders but occasionally of three. Only one of the team is racing at any time and the replacement rider has to be touched before he can take over. The touch can also be a push, often on the shorts, or one rider hurling the other into the race by a hand-sling. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Madison_(cycling).
We were practicing the "hurling" part. We got into one long paceline on the stayers line in the middle of the track and when you got to the front of the line, you dropped down to where Daniel Holloway (Garmin U23/US National Team, guy who was off the front for 75 miles last weekend at Philly and recent finisher of the U23 Paris-Roubaix) was and he was doing the throwing. He did the Madison circuit this past winter, racing with Colby Pearce. The first time it was pretty stressful as you had to keep holding onto the bars with your right hand and put your left hand out and down by your hip. Your partner comes alongside you and grabs your hand and they are moving forward and they then sling you forward. I did it twice. Kind of fun! A really big WHEE factor!
Last we did a combined points race with the guys as there were only 5 guys there and half the women had left. (Very casual night of racing, but a lot of fun.) We are all in a group and the guys weren't supposed to attack or anything and then all of a sudden we see Daniel taking off attacking. Why is Daniel attacking??? We could then see that he's pushing junior Becky and they get a gap on the group and it was pretty funny. We finally chased them down after a few laps and I was able to lock onto Ben's wheel (he's a good draft) and on one of the sprints, I got 4th. On the last sprint, Bev attacked and I tried to follow but got to the edge of coughing, plus my legs were not responding at all so I just rolled it in.
A very fun night and a lot of good group riding practice. Encouraged about the asthma. Hopefully we'll get that under control.