By Dennis Pedersen
This year the NCVA is offering a new series of weekend "novice races" that cater mostly to juniors and beginners... but also with races for old guys like me. The first one was last Saturday. I hadn't raced on the oval track since last Fall, so I was looking forward to racing at Hellyer Park's velodrome again.
First up were our timed flying-200-meter individual time trials. I was one of the last up and managed a 13.08-second run. Not my best (which is 12.48). I sometimes have a wobble in the steering during these maximum efforts, and that happened this time. But it seemed everybody else was a bit slow too, perhaps because of the wind, so I ended up well placed; I think 3rd or 4th.
This was followed by a 12-lap "scratch race." They ended up shifting us Masters away from the planned race, with juniors and women, and into the open-age Category 3/4/5 race. That ended up being fine with me, since I was able to jump with 1.5 laps remaining and solo to 1st place. Woo-hoo! As a sprinter it's usually better for me to wait until we have maybe a half-lap remaining... but I knew guys like Andreas Vogel could probably out-sprint me at that distance, hence my decision to jump much sooner. (Video on FaceBook.)
Then we did some cool standing-start-500-meter individual time trials. I'd never done one of these before, though it's the same concept as the 1-kilometer I did back in 2007. Michael Wesley was our "holder" and did a great job of holding me while I was clipped into both pedals, on my bike, at the ready on the track. They even had a very Pro-sounding starting audio signal. I actually had the best start of the day, but faded a bit toward the end. Anthony Borba consoled me by saying the wind picked up during my run. Even so, I think I got 3rd fastest time.
Last up was our Cat 3/4/5 15-lap "points race." I won the first sprint, on lap 5, giving me 5 points. But I got boxed in on the second sprint, on lap 10, for zero points. For the final sprint I again managed to take the win, giving me a total of 10 points. But "Scott," from Chico Corsa, had managed two 2nds, plus a 1st, giving him 11 points. So, I got 2nd place. (Video on YouTube.)
As always, I had a great time and was really happy I made it to this race. I'm looking forward to the rest of the track-racing season!