Sunday, September 5, 2010

The Points Race and More

I tried to write this piece last night but could not get on the internet.
Yesterday (9/4/10) broke sunny and warm with not too much wind. I had a points race scheduled for about 7:30 PM. Trish and I went to see The American, with George Clooney, mostly as a distraction, to escape the heat and to sit down. It worked.

Got to the track and had a good 1 hour warmup. It was just getting dark when the race started. The track is beautifully lit.

The points race is a mass start race. There were 11 of us starting. All the competitors line up along the top rail at the straight away in single file. A whistle blows and we all roll forward and start pedaling. This is a neutral lap; racing has not yet started. When the group is all bunched up after that lap, a gun goes off and the race is underway. In our age group the race is 40 laps long which comes out to 10 KM (250 m track). Only every 10th lap counts. Thus, there are 4 sprints at 30, 20, 10 and 1 lap to go. The first rider across the line at these sprint points gets 5 points. Second place gets 3 points, 3rd place gets 2 points and 4th place gets 1 point. If a rider laps the field he gets 20 bonus points.
What happens between the sprint laps does not count for anything.

Going into this race i knew I had the fastest 2 km time as I had already won that event 2 days earlier. The amount I won by was the thickness of my riding shorts so I knew I was not going to overpower my main competitor, Barry Messmer, from Colorado. Mr. Messmer had a team-mate in the race who was not much slower in the 2k pursuit. I had lots of suggestions before the race on how to do this. I am not a good sprinter. My strength lies in endurance. I knew that I could not let either Colorado guy get away. They individually kept attacking off the front in between the sprint laps. I just stayed on their wheel. I garnered a few points in the first 3 sprints but with 10 laps to go I was in 4th place on points. Typically after a sprint lap riders veer uptrack to rest as the sprint is so exhausting. Just after the 3rd sprint they all went up and i went to the bottom of the track (called the black line, representing the shortest distance around the track). It was now or never. I accelerated and kept going as hard as I could maintain. I had a 15 meter gap by the time Colorado #1 realized what I had done. He was uptrack and boxed in and by the time he could start to chase I had a 30 meter gap. The gap stayed at 30 meters for a couple of laps and then he started to fade back. It took me 8 laps or 2k to finaly catch and lap the field, giving me 20 points and putting me into the lead. I hung with the pack in the last sprint and won the race. Without question, the sweetest victory of my cycling career. Trish told me that people in the stands were standing and yelling for me. I heard and saw none of it. This race takes lots of focus and is painful.

Today we had the 500 meter time trial. I really suck at the 500. Like I said, I am not a good sprinter. I got 7th place. That turned out to be important, however, as there is an award called the Best All Around Rider or BAR. A first place in an event gives the rider 9 points and spots 2 through 8 get lesser points. Anyway, the 2 firsts and one 7th place were enough to get me the BAR in the 60-64 year old group. Got an engraved beer glass for it. Woo Hoo.

Tomorrow Trish and I head home. I am tired. I need to go take a shower. We're going out to dinner and I am going to have more than one drink.

Thanks for reading.


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