A good day at the track

Just rolling after a great night of sprinting

[ed: Here are the results

I’ve been at the track a lot so far this summer. Most days when there’s racing I’m there. This year we’ve had a lot more variety to the programs as folks are learning and trying new things, and as we have a few new people with different experience that they’re bringing to the rest of us. Tonight I got home and realized just how good a time I’d had.

This year we’ve added sprint nights, alternating Thursdays with timed events. Tonight was a sprint night. The week nights are always less formal than the Sunday omniums and usually have a smaller turn out. The sprint nights so far this year have been lightly attended by a dedicated group. Tonight we had the largest group so far, with seven riders and Alan, our dedicated judge.

On sprint nights, Jamie has been starting us off with warm-ups and drills specifically for sprint training (Crazy Ivans are FUN). We’re gradually learning the elements of a regular sprint program. Alan patiently waited for us to finish the first hour. A couple of us did a single flying-200m run to get seeding times (I took 1.2sec off my previous with a better gear and some good advice on technique and line selection from Jim), After that Alan was ready for us with a set of 2-up and 3-up sprint matches. (with 7, someone has to ride 3’s so everyone gets their sprints in, no byes).

We’re all getting better at riding matches, learning how to pace, and position and work to our strengths and our opponent’s weaknesses. We all have them. Watching Jim and Jamie set up the first lap was a masterclass in controlling a stronger rider to your advantage. Jim and I also had a very fun time testing and trading leads. In the end he got the jump on me but it was far from forgone. I didn’t get to do either of the 3-up races but they are definitely a different thing when you have to watch two different opponents.

The real twist was when Jim and Mike and I were chatting during the cool-down after the second round of sprint heats. Jim mentioned team sprinting[1] and Mike and I both piped up with “I want to try that sometime”. Then we looked at each other and said “why not now?”. After a few moments talking to Alan and a quick explanation to Aki, Keven and Jarec we were all in for two runs. Only Jim had done it before but Mike and I were comfortable enough to have a go and set an example, of dubious quality, I admit, for the second group to follow. Jamie bowed out of racing but stayed to hold and we went for it.

For the first team sprint, I lead off in the #1 position. Jim lead the second lap and Mike brought it in as the anchor on the final lap. I think we may have had it backward, Mike had his typical spinning gear and Jim and I were set up with big gears. We’ll try it differently next time. After us Kevin lead out for Aki and Jerac. I don’t have the times yet but Jerac seriously brought that last lap home. I have video and when I post that I’ll add a link.

After that we packed up the lap counter and bell and paperwork and took a few cool down rolling laps as the sun set. On the drive home I re-ran the night in my head and realized I was smiling. Alan and Jamie ran a great program. All of us went all out when it was our turn. I love riding track, but some nights are better than others.

Tonight was a good night.

[1] GCN Guide to Team Sprinting

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