I arrived at the track before 0600 pm. it’s about a 50 min drive from the Westside of Santa Cruz. After a good warm up my race started at about 0700 pm. Rode my usual 51 X 15 gear, considered large. Immediately before the races Larry Nolan, the promoter, encouraged anyone with a Cat 3 track license to race with the 1-2 Pros, to even out the field sizes, I accepted.
Scratch Race 25 laps.
“Scratch race”- the first rider across the line wins, the type of race we are all most familiar with.
The race started out fast with a series of attacks. I sat back, watched the other riders and only closed gaps if the others didn’t look like they could. About half way through, the group started to break apart and I was moving up. With less than 10 laps to go I was in 4th position and should have moved up to third but assumed the guy in front of me had enough left to close the small gap. Turned out he didn’t, I got stuck in no man’s land and was in third position until 2 laps to go when the 3 guys behind me, working together, blew by me before the finish. My potential 3rd place quickly turned into 6th.
Points race, 40 laps sprints every 5 laps.
A “points race” is a specific type of a track race were points are awarded 5,3,2,1 for 1st through 4th place at multiple intervals during the race (20 points for lapping field or 20 points subtracted for losing a lap). The winner of race is the person with the most points.
My tactic for the points race was to sit back and wait. Unfortunately the others never tired to the point that I could put in an effective attack. Unlike the scratch race the pace was slower so the sprinters had a chance to recover so they could easily cover any attacks. I did try an attack with into the final sprint but it was easily covered and I was not able to score any points.
I am a really crappy sprinter (my peak 5 second power is incredibly low) and I enjoy track racing. My point is I don’t think anyone should avoid track riding/racing because they don’t see themselves as a sprinter. And if you do consider yourself a sprinter- definitely should give it a try. I find it safe and a very good speed workout.
Everyone should give track riding a try. Just like, I assume, everyone has given off and on road riding a try. Track bikes are available to rent for $5, bring your pedals. Anyone can ride on most Saturday mornings- go to www.ridethetrack.com to check the schedule, more information. After riding 3 Saturdays you can race during the week. Please let me know if you are thinking of racing- send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. I have an extra 56 cm track bike that I would be happy to share.