Went out for a night of track racing this evening with the OBRA Thursday night track racing series at the Alpenrose Velodrome. The track is very unique as it is the only track in the country that riders do not have to pay to play which is good because the steep banking and an unusual 266 ft length per lap make for some needed acclimation time. Nevertheless, when I jumped on the track tonight, my first time on an outdoor cement track, I felt very comfortable as there was considerably more grip that on the wooden velodrome in Burnaby.
I started the night with the Cat 4 riders (C category) as I needed to pick up some pack riding skills. Each week OBRA organizers choose a different style of racing and this week was an omnium. An omnium event features multiple events where riders are scored by points (not time); winning honors go to the rider who accumulates the greatest sum of points over the evening's events (just like a decathlon in Track and Field). The C category started the evening's racing with a Points Race. In this race, only 12 laps long (30 seconds a lap), intermediate sprints at laps 3, 6 and 9 set the rankings while the final sprint on lap 12 awards double points. The breakdown for each sprint is four deep at 5,3,2,1 (so 10 points for the final sprint). I was able to win all the sprints and the final.
Norrene and Heather raced well in the opening event of the B category which was a Miss 'n Out. In this event, after a five lap warmup, the bell is rung each lap indicating that the rider to cross the line last the next lap is out. Eventually the race comes down to a two up sprint. Very exciting. The sling shot off the banking is huge and a rider can get caught sleeping if they are in the sprinter's lane (space between black and red line at the bottom of the track) deep in the pack as riders come around on the outside.
The 2nd C race was a Unknown Distance. In this event two dice are rolled so the event will be anywhere between 2 and 12 laps. The only indication that the end of the race is approaching is a bell at 1 lap to go. This means is it important to attack or stay very close to the front. A rider in front attacked on lap 2 and in the process of bridging up to him on lap 3, officials rang the bell! So a little effort to catch him and I ended up taking the top prize again.
The 3rd C race was a Tempo race. In this event points are awarded 2 deep (2,1) each lap through the duration of the event. Our race was only 10 laps long so I kept the pace high to start, duking it out with Cam and Aubrey (I met a lot of people tonight) as they were teammates and made me chase. I ended getting it in the end.
Hungry for more, officials allowed me a spot in the final A race of the evening. This event was a 50 lap Points race. There were two teams (each with two riders), Gentle Lovers and a team in black and white kit who were fighting it out for the evening's omnium. I knew that they would team up and try to outsmart and outpedal each other so since I just wanted track experience, I told them I would be there to keep the pace high. Immediately following the neutral lap, the race started with a bang and I found myself in a group of 5 (the two gentle lovers riders, the two teammates in white and black kit and myself) sprinting away from the 20 rider field. The two teams took turns crushing one another while I hung on (at times for dear life) and pulled through when they slowed down too much. Since the final sprint of the evening was double points, I bided my time and targeted that last effort. I was able to seal the night off with that final sprint, vaulting myself into second on points for the last race. That's good! I felt comfortable and am looking forward to more racing.
Currently we are in the final stages of solidifying my trip to Canadian Track Nationals in Bromont, Quebec from August 23rd-30th so after some time off the past five days, I am feeling rejuventated!
I practiced my track stands this afternoon and found out the since we all drive on the right hand side of the road (unlike the Kiwis on the team), when I track stand on the street, I turn my wheel left, with the right foot back because of the rain-drain angle of the street. This doesn't help you though when you are riding/track-standing on a left turning track. Oh well. Practice makes .... better.
Below are some picks from the day.
Don't miss my entry tomorrow afternoon - Got a good idea for it!
Alpenrose @ Sunset
Labels: Track Report