Race Report from Vera Divenyi
US Masters Track Nationals
Scratch Race: 3rd Place
I’m a mass start racer. What does that mean? I need to have people around me to feel like I’m racing. When I’m doing an individual (such as the 500M) I have no carrot in front of me, no one behind me and there is a little less of a desire to go fast. That little less desire means that I don’t place well in an individual race. Back to the mass start.
For you newbies to track and those that have no idea what the hell we do going in circles, the scratch race is a race of a certain distance, tonight it was 5K, and the first person across wins. I love the scratch race as it tends too be fast with less surges than the points race. (Stick around until Saturday when I race the points and I will explain that one to you, too.) I got 7th at Elite Nationals last year in the scratch and from then on, I decided it was one of my favorites. Funny how doing well in a race will do that for you! My favorite isn’t even one I do all that well in, it’s the Kierin and you go for 5 laps behind a speeding motorcycle that pulls off, then you race a scratch for 3 more laps. Since you now know what is a scratch, I don’t need to explain it to you. You are a smart track person!
Back to tonight’s race. I was worried that it would be a “recipe exchange”. My coach, the esteemed Mark Tyson refers to a race where no one does anything and everyone just sits in pedaling nicely a recipe exchange. Ingrid Alongi made sure that it wasn’t to be. After our neutral lap, she hit it hard and took about four people with her. She did it again, and again, and again. This broke up the race a little and also meant that we were not fooling around and no, I don’t want to know your recipe for zucchini bread!
Unfortunately, the race tonight was a little on the short side and I think we were done in less than 5 minutes. With five to go, I made sure I was in the first 3-5 spots at all times. I was behind someone who started to slow and I was a little boxed in when Brooke who got 2nd went around me and went hard. I grabbed her wheel. There were two that had already gone over her (on the track, it’s a little harder to move around as there are really few places you can go, particularly if you were in the sprinters lane.) I went with Brooke, we passed one person, I tried to come around her with about 200M to go, and almost had her on the turn, but just couldn’t get around her. I took 3rd.
No stars and stripes, but I will take the podium and the medal! And, if you look at photos, you will see that I’m in the new summer whites TriBella skin suit. I thought it would be fun to have a white version for the National championships!
And a few more items regarding track:
1) The sprinter’s lane is the lane closest to the inside. It is the shortest distance around the track and the least banked. You have to respect people in the sprinters lane.
2) The inside of the track, usually painted blue is the “cote”. You cannot race in the cote and cannot pass people in the sprinter’s lane in the cote. If you end up in the cote during a race, it’s usually because you are trying to avoid someone who came into your lane.
3) The sprinter’s lane has a black line on the inside of the track and a red line on the upper side of the track. The next line up is the blue line which is usually the middle of the track.
4) Track bikes are on a fixed gear. This means that when the bike is rolling, the cranks are moving, too.
5) The track bike has no breaks and only one gear. You need to choose that gear wisely!
As for the 500…..