Sunday, September 28, 2008

55+ at Track National, San Jose, CA, September ‘08

We (Paul, Dennis, and Steve) arrived in San Jose a few days before racing was to begin.  Dennis was on a scouting mission and ended up working 12+ hours most days.  He volunteered for whatever was needed; it included controlling track crossing traffic, hauling ice and liquid refreshments, holding riders at the start and generally giving a hand to any rider he know that look like they needed help.  Much like his time trialing, he has a deep well of endurance.

We were seriously under whelmed by the track facility.  It is 335 meters long (if you want to hear why there is such an odd dimension ask me), which makes it a strange beast for measured events in kilometers, or parts there of.  From the measurement line to the wall it is relatively narrow with very shallow banking (less than 20 degrees), neither give aid and comfort for surprise, fast, attacks.  The lights are retrofitted street lamps making the night events feel like alley racing.  Lastly, the facility had no bridge or access tunnel.  All traffic crossed the racing surface.  I thought certainly there would be major crashes, but much thanks to the traffic cop (Dennis) I heard of none.  Enough of the negative spin!

The great thing about track racing is everyone hangs out in the same place.  If you are not warming up, racing, or warming  down you can circulate around and visit various team encampments, BS with fellow fanatics, and cheer on others.  There is always racing to watch.  The CA teams showed up with big numbers and were always pretty jazzed about racing, so that was fun.  They hosted a great event.

Paul was the first to take the start line for Subway/Peerless.  He had a great start, but fell a little short of his expectation at the end.  He was dealing with a lingering head cold and without doubt that held him back when reaching for the high 30's mph at the end of the 500 meter TT.  To get into the hunt for this event you must go under 38 seconds - definitely  a sprint all the way.  Want to see how you would size up?  Toss your road machine in a 94-98 gear in combination, come to a dead stop, then go full gas for about 40 seconds - all kinds of wonderful feelings will rise up and grab you at the end.

The 2K TT pursuit came next as a night session event.  Paul had the first heat for Subway and rode well even with the bumpy track, and odd starting point, and an uninspiring dimly lit track.  With two heats (four riders) left no one had posted a sub 2:33 time.  In the second to the last heat Kent Bostick informed everyone who was boss and posted a 2:26.  Your truly, knew 1st was not possible, but felt 2nd was - with a good ride.  The good ride did not happen and I faded after a good start and was edged into 3rd by about 1 second by Chip Brezny.  Time, 2:32.

The next event was the Points Race.  With only 10km and sprints every six laps it was obvious that every sprint counted.  I pretty much botched it, I wasn't quick or fast enough to out gun Kent, Wood Cox, and Chip.  Summing up 4th place points isn't going to get you there.  Paul, however, pulled off a very nice move.  After a slow start he got the mo-jo workin' just at the right time.  The top points holders eased up a bit for some watch and see, PM timed an attack perfectly.  Gone - free to ride hard out front and capture first place points with about 75% of the race completed.  I bided the time leading the group around at a sub-PM pace that was acceptable for awhile - long enough.  In the end that was sufficient to put PM in four overall and he did it with his relatives - mom's side of the family - in the stands.  Obviously, this was a great time to make it happen.

Above are a few photos.  the podium shots don't need explanation,  the other one does.  Men note, your Specialized Transition too can be rigged for track pursuiting - this guy was a local Specialized employee and a crowd favorite (name Swanson I think).  Think about it, you too could ride the clean cycling sport in a white skin suit.  I take it back, some of you guys are just too boney to look good in white, we could find a different color.

Next year track nationals will probably be in Indiana.  In the spirit of Major Taylor it is time to mont the fixie and start preparation.


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