While Chris has been busy enjoying himself on the new indoor running track at the Emirates, I have been getting used to a new style of racing just across the corridor. After 4 technical training sessions and a few open sessions to tune up my speed, I took the plunge and entered my first track league at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome last Wednesday.
My schedule for the night was a 10 lap scratch race, 20 lap points race, a devil take the hindmost and finally a 20 lap scratch race. I was in the D race (Newbies and Auld ones).
A scratch race is a very simple affair, simple first past the line wins… however the tactics of being the first past the line are where the fun lies. My plan was to sit near the front and go hard from 3 laps to go… The plan went well 3 laps to go… right sprint… ahhhhhhh… got about 20m ahead of everybody, now I just had to hang on… 2 laps to go still 20m, 1 lap to go down to 10m… last 50m NOOOO 2 guys caught me and I end up in 3rd… Average speed for the race was 45km/hr and my last lap was 52km/hr… Still I was very happy with my first race.
Onto the points race, this is a little more complicated, sprint every 5 laps, first gets 5 points, 3 for 2nd, 2 for 3rd and 1 for 4th… and if you manage to lap the field you get a cool 20 points. This race started slow… but when they rang the bell at lap 4 the pace went crazy and never slowed down. In the first sprint I was way out of position and didn’t feature. However, when everybody slowed down after the sprint I went to the front and put the pace down. I won the next sprint and had formed a break with one other guy. He then took the 3 sprint with me in 2nd… After that I played the tactics card and slowed way down leaving my breakaway companion to do most of the work. With 2 laps to go I attacked as hard as I could and took the win… Again this race was about 45km/hr but this time my finishing lap was 55km/hr… I was delighted to have one and couldn’t stop smiling when warming down.
The 3rd race was the devil (last person is out every lap) and after my win in the points I was super confident. This was probably my downfall as with 5 people to go I thought I was fine but got passed by everybody coming around the last bend and was eliminated.
By the 4th race my legs were gubbed but I was hopping everybody else’s were too, things were slow for the first 8-9 laps and I figured I would go on the attack. It worked for a few laps but my heart wasn’t in it and I was caught with 6 to go. At the front now was a big guy leading out one of the quickest sprinters in the group so I knew things would not be easy. I tried staying high to give myself a bit of speed if an attack went but was working too hard and when the sprint came I had nothing left and was easily beaten into 6th. Speed for this one was 42km/hr and as I didn’t feature in the top 3 I don’t know my finial lap speed.
All in all I was delighted with my first outing on a velodrome, it’s very enjoyable racing… and incredibly hard. I’ll be back again next Wednesday but now I think I’ll be bumped up a level to the C’s… Things are just going to get faster and harder…