Thursday, 7 October 2010

The fredator, the 9 fingered man and other tales from the velodrome

Well I'm on a plane again, so im writing a blog again. I'm off to Texas for a ride and some doctor visits as well as a press conference and a school visit. Yep, they have schools in Texas, this should be an interesting visit. Right now I'm pretty much resting. Ride my bikes because its fun, not because I have to train. If we're following the lego training analogy (forgot about that didn't you) this is the cup of tea and chocolate digestive which you drink with your mum after you've built your lego castle. I haven't been overindulging in the tea and biscuits but the ale and burrito portion of my diet has increased in proportion to the oat and electrolyte drink portion.

I flew from LAX on Thursday, just two days after closing out my bicycle racing season with the last night of Tuesday night racing at the San Diego Velodrome. Our velodrome is without doubt the coolest place IN THE WORLD to be on a Tuesday night. They say you can only have so much fun with your trousers on but this place pushes the limits of the amount of enjoyment you can achieve in a skinsuit.

Tuesday seemed to be the peak of what has been a really fun track season. We raced a points race and a scratch in which I distinguished myself only by a third place in a points sprint and a particularly poor time on the front: beer primes won ratio. Then we engaged in some novelty events, I match sprinted my good friend Mike Morton. Given that my pancreas doesn't work and Mike is one digit short, we figured it was a fair match. I decided the only way to go was to make it a kilo effort, mike has easily 50lbs and about 200w at max on me so I wasn't going to leave it late. I geared up for the sprint and this was perhaps a mistake, I got the 92 inch gear moving alright but mike got on me and then came around for the win, albeit not by a large distance. Bollocks.

On the plus side Mike's wife Kirsten furnished me with a delicious bowl of butternut squash soup and two very fine cookies. Somehow mike comes back every year lighter and faster. If I got food like that every day, my motivation to ride would be quoshed by the opportunity to stay at home and eat!

My next match sprint was something of a battle of Britain. My friend (and multiple Olympian/ world champ) Sean Wallace decided to throw down the gauntlet, this surprised me slightly given that he's a fair bit better than me. Then he turned up on the rail on a beach cruiser. I figured he wouldn't start if he didn't think he could win and we cut it pretty close, I could hear him on my wheel changing gear (yep, the beach cruiser had gears) so I kept jumping to make him close the gap. Sean's known for his timing and he wins just about every race by a wheel or even less but he nearly always wins. I backed it off a bit and sean made his move out of turn 4, I picked it up just enough to edge him out on the throw, ending my season on a (somewhat childish) victory. There was also some sartorial flair on display, yep for one night only I was superfred.

What makes racing on a Tuesday night special isn't the winning or the prizes it's the people. Its not that often I get to enter a race where everyone drinks beer and eats pizza together afterwards (how many cyclists drink beer and eat pizza full stop?). it's pretty rare that I split a beer hand up with a dude who just beat me in a sprint on our warm down lap! By the end of the evening results are totally insignificant, your legs hurt and you had great fun and that is important. Racing costs 5 bucks and has precisely bugger all to do with the USCF, you can't win money, qualify for nationals or get upgrade points. Despite having had the privilege to race with Olympians and world champions this season I remain a cat 5 on the track in the eyes of the USCF and I don't think I'll be upgrading any time soon, they wouldn't let me do a monkey bike Madison at ADT