Promised someone that I would pre-ride Mt Hamilton with them in the morning so my warmup for this race is probably not optimal but it's lots of fun.
I don't get to do a lot of keirins since I mostly did Friday nights only for the past three years and it would be mostly pointless for me to race against sprint specialists and other cat 1/2's in those races but today I get to race against just cat 3/4 track riders ( one of them won Cat's Hill in the cat 3's yesterday) so it would not be so lopsided. Still, unless Gen Kogure or Gary Yokota show up, I am the smallest guy on the track.
Six riders including me start this. I draw a number in the middle. Four riders form a paceline behind the motor and a fifth rides on the hip of leader rider above the sprinters lane, I just ride in the back and take it easy. I wait until two laps to go to start my move and try to time my attack with the moto moving off but I mistime it a bit and have to back off then go again which of course makes me a bit slower than I want to be going so the field easily passes me and I only manage a fourth.
Six riders again. This time three riders get behind the motor and the other two float slightly above but I am still last. This time I time my attack just right and am passing just as the moto is pulling off ( passing the motor is an instant DQ ) and hold it for the 500 meters to the line for the win.
This time we have eight riders and I draw the top position. I sprint for the motor but Keiran Cox gets there a little before me so I give up and have to pull up track to wait for everyone else to get in line and find my usual spot tailgunning. Passing seven riders instead of five is a bit different, it's funny how much practice one needs for such a short event to get it just right. I repeat the same tactic from the first two heats and mistime it again. This time it only draws me even with Keiran on the lead and he starts to razor me. At this point I should have fully commited to passing but I eased up a bit and that was the end for me as I can only manage sixth.
A few riders go off in ones and twos but we manage to always catch them. My legs feel awfully sore from pulling fence posts from the ground yesterday and today's efforts so I just sit in the back.
Towards the end there is the mushrooming and hesitation that happens when one is in a race when a lot of people want to sprint. I do not want the race to come down to a sprint so when we hesitate with two laps to go I move up to the rail and when we come out of the next corner I use the banking to attack and get clear of the group and hold off the pack for third behind the two riders off the front.
24 lap Scratch Race
Usually I just like to sit on the front and razor the rest of the field but since there are fifteen other riders and lots of them are probably stronger than me it's going to be a bit difficult to pull off.
I get the hole shot at the whistle. One rider's chain immediately comes off but he is in the sprinter's lane and is successful at safely pulling off track. This didn't affect anyone elses race AFAIK.
After six laps on the front I can see a rider accelerating to pass me and I speed up just a bit but he was fully committed and I was not so he easily takes the lead and I slot in about four riders back. Here I should have immediately gotten out of the lane as quickly as possible but I was so disappointed at losing the lead I made a mistake an was easily boxed in and eliminated two laps later.
Miss and Out
Usually this race has a breakaway with two to four riders, that's enough to get away, and they will get the lion's share of the points.
If my legs were sore during the scratch race, they are screaming in pain now before the race starts. Since I don't know what my legs can do at this point I attack at the gun and am chased down after half a lap. Wow. Then the pack slows immediately and I am bored so I attack again. This time when I am caught someone counters and the race splinters. A group of four, the magic number that means the whole race is in front of us and the rest of us don't count, get away. We start chasing but only one rider from that group is dropped and the other three stay away and lap us by the end. I stay with the main group until the end.
30 Lap Points
Since there are so many riders and I did not ride that consistently in the points I think I only manage a sixth place out of sixteen.
D: 50 km