We have training races on Tuesday and Wednesday nights throughout the season. Tuesdays are "endurance" night. Endurance on the track is 30 laps, or 6 miles for me. This year all Tuesday nights will be points races. Two 30 laps points races, sprints every 10 laps.
Points race involved both endurance and sprinting strength. You score points during the event, and the top scorers at the end are the winners. Points are scored in the sprints -- which are every 10th lap on the second Tuesday of the month -- the top finisher earns five points, and it goes to three points for second, two points for third and one point for fourth. Add up the points at the end to figure out the winner. (Well, it’s a little more complicated than that, but that’s the gist of it.)
The afternoon started out stressful. My teammate Nole couldn't get away from work until 5PM so we were late hitting the road, then TRAFFIC! An accident had jammed up the freeway and we got there really late. I was stressing since the C racers go first. We got there and it's nice and hot (probably still 80F). Change clothes quick, jump on bike, get about 6 minutes in on the warm-up (small) gear, including one 100 meter hard effort. Jump off the bike, change gear to race (harder) gear. Larry has already blown the whistle to clear the track so no warm up on the race gear. NUTS! Larry says there are 15 women + 1 junior, so we get our own race. Yea! Plus, we had 3-4 other guys ride with us, but Larry told the guys they couldn't sprint for wins, etc. and that it was our race, but they could work.
We roll off the rail and I could barely turn the gear. Yikes, not good to have no warm-up! This was going to be a long race! But we got rolling and I felt pretty good. I was sitting about 2/3rds back (due to the very slow roll off) and kind of got boxed in and about the 4th or 5th lap I got squeezed with riders coming in towards me from both sides and I had an "oh shit" moment and a very high heart rate. Still a little gun shy on close riding. I decided to move back and to the outside and that was better mentally. The speed was good and then when the sprint came, I was able to hang on at the very back of the group. There were two gals who went off the front, with the rest of the group pretty much staying together, though a couple women dropped out during the race, and then there was a small trailing group of Zeke the junior, a couple of the guys and junior Taylor. With about 5 laps to go, the speed went up again and I lost contact with the big group and tried to get back on, but then waited for the smaller group and finished with them, working on my sprint at the end. I think this is the first time in a points race where I did not get lapped, which is a HUGE improvement over last year!
The group included a two very fast Cat. 2s, some other Cat. 2s, and then Cat. 3s and 4s. Not sure what the average speed was, but it was a fast race. My max speed was 29.6 mph.
The group was a little smaller as one or two people left, but one more was added as she got there late and missed the first race. I wasn't sure how my legs would feel and we started out faster than the first race! A lot faster. About 5 or 6 laps in, I couldn't catch my breath, started to cough, and lost contact with the big group so I sat up a lap and got my breath back (track hack definitely in evidence) and by this time, the group had split into three--the two fast girls off the front, the bigger group and then the smaller group. Same as the first race. I jumped in with the smaller group for a couple of laps and then I was in the 2nd slot on Mike's wheel and coming around turn 3, I yelled at Mike that I was going to try to bridge up to the big group which was almost to the start/finish line (so 100-150 meters ahead). I stood up and sprinted like mad and caught them! Super psyched about that! I was even more happy that no one went to sprint right then so I could sit at the back and recover! I wasn't sure of what lap it was and thought a couple of laps later that I saw a "3" on the lap counter, so I decided to try an attack so coming around turn 4 I sprinted and moved up and then got absorbed. Come to find out, the "1" doesn't work on the lap counter, so it was 13, not 3! Argh! But, I stayed with that group the rest of the race and didn't get dropped again. Super happy again! A big break through for sure and it was really great to see so many women racing at the track. Keep coming back!!