A Trip to the Velodrome

A Short-ish Race Report

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Super Saturday was held last weekend in Glasgow. An event catering for Masters (that’s over 30s, not just us really old Vets), Ladies, and Tandems.

For my sins, I’d entered the three endurance events – Elimination, Points, and Scratch. Originally, I had also entered the 500m TT, but a recent tendon injury suggested I should avoid high output standing starts… 😦

Elimination: Only my second time at this event (where tactics are paramount!). Last time around, I was out before I’d even got started, so I was extra keen to do well (or at least better than last time).So it was, race on, and lots of jostling for position in the first three or so laps.Worried about my lack of experience, and my ability to keep a good position, I did what any sane, strong rider would do – attack, get off the front, and stay off the front for as long as possible!Gaining a lap would be a bad idea – once your back in the bunch, you’re eligible for elimination again, despite being a lap up – so I maintained about a third of a lap advantage to the bunch.

After three or four laps, I was eventually joined by three other riders (John Gartland, Jason Roberts, and an Ivy rider I didn’t recognise). The four of us soon organised into a team pursuit format, and easily maintained our lead while the rest of the bunch slowly evaporated.

Keeping a keen eye behind us, I made sure I was not getting culled when it was down to just the four of us, and it was time to mentally wave bye-bye to the Ivy as he cleared the finish line just off my back wheel.

With just the three of us left, one lap to go (no more elimination), I just had to match Jason and John, and then out-sprint them. I failed! Their acceleration for the finish was just too much, and I rolled across the line for an otherwise very satisfying third place.

I later heard of one rider complaining (in jest, I expect!) at my attack – that’s just not how elimination races are supposed to be raced! 🙂

Points: 32 laps of sprinting every 8 for points.

Deploying my ever-present S.W.A.N.T. concept – Special Weapons And No Tactics – I raced around the track scoring absolutely zero points! Getting to the front at precisely the wrong moments, and having nothing in the tank when it mattered.

I did, however, manage to sprint into fourth at the finish, thinking I’d salvaged, at least, something from the race. Only to realise that with a couple of points from that sprint, and nothing else, it was almost a pointless exercise (see what I did there? 😀). Not sure where I actually finished – time, and the BC Website will tell..

Scratch: Finally, a race that I can understand – ride around the track for 30 laps, any way you like, just so long as you’re at the pointy end of the race on the final crossing of the finish line…

Cutting and thrusting, and trying to race wisely, there were no big breaks, a few failed attacks, and a lot of new max heart rate PBs set. When it came to the crunch, we rounded the final banking, and I was sitting in fourth as everyone unleashed their sprints and the speed increased by about 3 or 4 additional kph. I mean, really; when you’re already on the rivet, how are you supposed to accelerate? Getting out of the saddle to go faster achieved nothing (where’s that damn gear shift lever?).

Fourth place I remained – same as last time around. Still, a satisfying result for my third competitive meeting at the track.

A small handful of licence points attained (before the race season has even started), and a thoroughly enjoyable day.

Racing at the track is so different from road in many respects, and the atmosphere is really great – a very friendly bunch of folks, and plenty of time between events to ride the rollers and chat to folks (learned that my tendon problem may be caused by doing my shoes up too tightly – it’s handy knowing the odd doctor that also races!). Speaking of which, the tendon (anterior tibialis tendon, for those who care to know), survived, but not without some pain… Now for a bit of rest to try and sort it before the Joe Wilson TT in two week’s time where I’ll show that young whipper-snapper John Archibald what real speed is all about (and then I’ll wake up from my slumber, turn up at the event, and apologise to him for having such ridiculous dreams!)…

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