Vera, here. I’m your go-to for track 101. We have now had the pleasure to be back racing for three weeks at the Colorado Springs 7-Eleven velodrome. For me, coming back is like seeing family. Even though the track opened in April, racing didn’t start until the May 22 with Tuesday nights and May 24 for Thursday night races. What is the difference? Tuesdays are A, B and C races. They do not count for points, but are a lot of fun! Thursday races are Category 1/2/3 and count for points to upgrade as well as points towards top racers in Colorado.
The 24th was really fun. Cari Higgins has managed to get a lot more women interested in the track and I am so thankful. We actually had 9 women racing which is more than we have had in a while. I’ve also been working on Therese Johnson of the ProDesign team and she has started to come and race, too. I just love track and track is a happy family that tries to rip each other’s legs off. Sounds good, right?
It’s been a while so I cannot remember the first week’s races too well other than Katie “Effing” Compton and Cari “World Track Kick Butt’er” Higgins were in the house and trying to school each other which in turn were schooling us 7 other ladies. Each Thursday night we start with a short race, do a medium race and then finish with a longer race. I think we started with a 5 lap balls out, tongue stuck to the roof of my mouth race. I think I was 4th or 5th. I cannot remember. Cari and Katie took off and we all tried to hang on. The second race was a 12 lap scratch so that the first person across the line wins. Again, same scenario, Katie and Cari went hard off the start, the 7 others tried to hold on for dear life. I think I was 4th or 5th. I cannot remember. See a pattern? Well BOOM, I did something in the third race. I remember it as I did well. (Another pattern.) The last race was a 25 lap points race. As you may recall from last year’s track 101, a points race is where each 5 laps there is a sprint for points. The first person across the line gets 5 points, the second gets 3 points, the third gets 2 points and the fourth gets 1 point. I have never been great at points races, but had a points race epiphany last year and won master’s nationals. This points race, I did not go for points in the first sprint as I knew I didn’t want to wear myself out, but I was right there with everyone, in the second set of points, I was 3rd or 4th behind Katie and Cari (dynamic duo) but I sprinted onto their wheels right after the sprint was over. I did this as many people will rest up right after the sprint but I had a sneaky suspicion that Katy and Cari would go and drop the field, which is exactly what they did. I rode with them and traded pulls. I did not contest the sprints for anything other than 3rd as I was working very hard to just trade in the pulls. With two laps to go, I got tired. They lapped the field, I stayed out alone and got 3rd overall. That felt good, but OUCH did that hurt!
Last week, we had the fabulous sprinter Maddie Godby at the track for races. We did again, a sprint length, a mid-length and a long one. I again, cannot remember the races so much, but I got a 3rd in the short race (felt boxed in and couldn’t make more of a move) and a 4th (in an 8 lap snowball race) and an explosion. We raced the final race with the men and for some reason, the cat 3 men like to leave the women up front pulled for a while and then they get annoyed and pass us but we still hold our own. I tried to cover all the moves, but just wasn’t feeling super spry. I was dropped with two laps to go. I’m hoping this isn’t my new pattern.
Last night, we had sprint championships. The wind was whipping, potential tornadoes were about and some occasional dark, black cloud would pass, but us tracksters pushed on. The match sprint is a wonderful spectator race. We start with a flying 200M to build our ranking. The times on those put you against your opponent in the first set of match sprints. Match sprints are when 2 racers are on the track and do a 3 lap race. It sounds short and easy, but there is plenty of tactics going into the sparring. I first raced Kate Grachek of jetcycling. I won this sprint and I think this was my very first match sprint win, ever. Second, I took on my teammate Renee Schroeder who is quick and very knowledgeable when it comes to match sprinting and track racing, in general. She has been track racing a very long time. I know her strengths which makes sparring a little easier, but frankly, I didn’t know her weaknesses as she’s been racing like a champ the past three weeks! I was in the back on this race and she held me at the rail so hard that for a moment, I was worried I would slide out. She would not let me slow to get behind her as to make it harder for her to watch, she just kept me there. Finally with a lap to go, I just got nervous and went for it, flew down the track and took the sprinters lane. I turned in the final turn to see where she was and she was right there, on my line! I picked it up and won the sprint by nothing more than a half a wheel. And there was my second match sprint win and the state title.
We also raced an 8 lap point a lap race, I was second as Kate took off for some time doing her time trials. It’s hard to catch her once she gets going! Our final race was cancelled as the sky turned a very dark grey and lightening started coming out of the sky.
All in all, it’s so fun to be back at the track. We are racing State championships this weekend, so more race reports to follow!