Thursday, July 17, 2008

Track racing-keep pedaling doofus!!

I went to Pista Elite's Track racing tonight at Lorain Speedway. Ever since Tony announced it at Westlake I have wanted to go, but lack of motivation, a bike to ride and other reasons kept me away till tonight.

I had raced some at Powell's car race track near Columbus in the 80's, but that was on a road bike. I have ridden a fixie enough to know about the need to keep pedaling, but all week I kept having visions of myself stopping pedaling after a sprint and flying over the handlebars. Crazy eh? Well not really as it turns out.

I have to thank Thom Domonic for basically building the drive train on my old Paramount steel road bike as we watched the Tour on tv and transforming it into a nice track racing bike. He also loaned me a BB, Wheel, chain, chainring....Yeah, you got it, the bikes more his than mine!! Thanks td!!

Again its hot and humid tonight and as I warm up slowly I keep regretting my gear choice.My license of course says I am a Cat.5 track racer, but knowing I was racing some experienced guys I inquired with my past experience in Columbus would I be allowed a Cat.4 upgrade and it did. But I didnt have time to change it (or the tools and parts) to the higher (by 4 teeth on the chainring) gear.

But Thom and I agreed it was my first track race and spinning has some great benefits as well. While warming up when i punched it up I realized how low the gear restriction was. I was spinning my legs like mad.

The first race was a 5 lap Scratch (first rider to line wins) on an almost 500m track. It was fun and I played going up the track and diving back down in the corners to get better or different position. Thom won that and I think I was maybe 3rd?

Next up was a Kierin where we followed Mitch Gable (acting as a durney) for 3 laps then we sprinted it out for the win. Sadly Thom flatted right before the start and had to drop out of the track racing with a related mechanical. I was in a close race coming out of the last corner gaining on Tony on the outside and probably went a bit early for my low gearing giving Tony time to see my wheel come parallel to his rear wheel and match my speed and pull ahead at the line. At the line I saw Gary Burkholder coming up and I threw my bike across the line and YOU GUESSED IT!! I stopped pedaling, tossing my butt in the air and unclipping my right pedal.

I very ungraciously rolled around one foot clipped in and one out. What a Dork!! I dont think I brought it upon myself by worrying about doing that, but I was realistic in thinking that it would come after a heated moment and it did.

The last race for me was the Miss and Out race where the last guy every lap gets pulled. I survived 3 laps and when we were down to three I tried the inside line, but got pinched and the door shut hard and that was that. By the time the lane opened I didnt have a prayer and I drifted up the track to prematurely to start my cool down laps. I felt I had the legs to win that race without Thom in it so i was bummed a bit for my choice, but theres next time. And I learned a lot of new things in getting beat. Heck it was my first time and I am NO sprinter. But tonights workout will help that!!

I also out of curiosity did a 500m Pursuit effort. Thanks to the Madis family for holding my bike and taking care of timing. It felt great actually and I was spinning so hard right from the gun, but I kept at the bottom of the track, controlled my breathing and came across in 40:95. Not bad considering the gearing I thought. Hopefully I can improve upon that baseline figure each time I go.

The track bikes are so beautiful in there simplicity. Only what you need to pedal from point a to b. All of the road bikes there seemed almost grotesque and overly busy with the computers, brakes, gears, derailleurs and brake levers with cables going everywhere.

Theres a lot of competition right now on Thursdays what with running, track, Leroy TT and one more Chapel Criterium. I'll be at Chapel I think next week as Ive heard great things about the course, then maybe Leroy and finally back to Lorain Speedway, but with those extra 4 teeth on the chainring!! OH yeah and most importantly no throwing the bike and keep on pedaling!!

I thoroughly enjoyed my evening and cannot wait to go back again. Road bike or track bike I'd recommend you try it out.

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