By Dennis Pedersen
I was getting over the flu and a crash that spoiled my races at the Santa Cruz and Sea Otter Classic Criteriums. So, even though I needed to get up at 3:00AM on Wednesday morning, I decided to do some track racing at Hellyer's velodrome on Tuesday night. I've really appreciated the new Cat 3/4 races they now offer too. Hey, live life, carpe diem and all that!
First we lined up along the rail for a 12-lap points race (sprints every fourth lap). Though I was somewhat marked in this race, often finding myself slowly drifting to the front while others watched, I was able to get two 2nds and a 3rd for 3rd overall, behind Stefan and Andrew, a fun Junior on SJBC.
Next; a 20-lap scratch race. Right off the bat I took a pull to speed things up, but nobody was willing to pull through. So I ended up staying at the front, but high on the track, so I could use the banking to accelerate downhill to catch any attackers. None came until John, a Junior on Specialized, flew off the front below me... I refused to chase, given how marked I was, so everybody just continued to follow me around high on the track, with Andrew glued to my wheel the whole race. Stefan mocked him jokingly, but Andrew was not amused like I was! This went on a while until John was a half-lap ahead. Then a few guys took pulls so I joined in and the gap came down to about a quarter-lap. Finally, with 2 laps to go, people woke up and a few of us caught John. Stefan took a strong 1st; I took 2nd by jumping past Andrew at the line.
In our 30-lap points race (sprints every fifth lap), John and I talked about trying a break, and got Andrew to join us. I was worried we'd blow up so I took the first pull, keeping the pace under 300W. But that wasn't hard enough so the pack stayed mostly together. Eventually I was able to go off the front with Andrew briefly, and took a 1st in our sprint, but I gapped him the next time we tried so I held back... that's when John took off. He took the last two sprints while we sat up. Stefan joked about Andrew following me again to the point where tempers flared a bit. I got a few more points along the way so I didn't do too badly with 3rd overall. But we had to soothe some ruffled feathers afterward. I like these guys, so keeping the peace is good.
Once again I succeeded in accomplishing my main goal: to have fun! Plus won a few minor victories to boot.