|Home Depot Center Velodrome, Carson, Califronia|
Photo Credit: Steve Ryan www.JuniorVelo.com
This lat weekend I was unable to do Merco because of the amount of school that I would have had to miss so instead I made the trip down to LA to race at the track and a local crit in Long Beach. I was very quickly reminded why I love track racing so much, especially on a track like this one. Feeling the G-force through the turns is quite a sensation and pulling straight up the track in the turns and then diving back down is quite an experience, and with a reasonably small field, ~17 riders, there was a lot of speed and also tactics involved in the racing. One rider in the field that has some notable accomplishments was the current women's track world champion, and with worlds coming up she was on good form! The first race was a 60 lap points race with sprints every 10 (every 2.5k). It took awhile for me to get into the mindset of paying attention to laps and getting into position in time for the sprints. Although it did come back to me, but I then realized that this was a bit of a shock to the system. So when it came to the sprints I did not have that much of a jump compared to everyone else. I was able to race aggressively and almost won the last sprint, but got caught on the last lap. Even though I did not score any points for the omnium from this race, I was happy with that I was able to race aggressively. The next race was a miss 'n out, which I normally do well in, but I failed to establish a spot in the top 4 spots of the pack and was forced to play devil at the back, which is not a good position for me. I was able to get by for a bit, but was roughly the 6th rider pulled. Really early into the race. I was not too happy with this, but it is March and just a low-key race. The next and final race was a 20 lap (5k) scratch race. I knew that this was going to be a relatively active, fast and short race. The Guatemalan national team started the race attacking, but they also sent riders to the front to block which made me fairly upset and when teams use tactics such as blocking I usually change my tactics for that race to make sure they do not win. So at about halfway through the race when they had two off the front and the pack just slowed I rolled to the front and pulled the two in (~half a lap gap). They then sent two guys to the front and started to do a lead out, with about 2k to go. Just a bit early, but I was sat third wheel and the rider at the front was moving fairly fast so I wasn't complaining. But with ~2 laps to go the raced slowed and there was a shuffling of positioning and I lost my positioning. Overall it was a good weekend of racing and speed. Definitely a good start to starting to work on the top end speed that is going to be needed for the big races in June, July and hopefully August! The being in a smaller gear than most of the field was also great because by doing that I get used to riding at 120 RPMs consistently and having to accelerate above that and hold it for a while, which will be needed at races such as track nationals and also l'Abitibi. In addition, it was a great start in seeing how much I need to work on my top end speed and what areas of it I need to work on.
It was definitely a trip worth taking and also great to race on the track and cannot wait for racing to start at Hellyer!