Today was different though - lots more people on the track. 22 to be exact so one needed to pay more attention and communicate more with the people around. The program was scheduled to take about 4 hours, but we lost some time to rain. Well there is no way anyone is riding track sloped 28 percent during rain. The rain delayed the start by about 45 minutes, but once we got rolling it was a lot of fun.
First we were split into two groups by ability and rode two pace lines just like in pursuit races. Leading each group was coach who controlled the pace so the groups stayed at equal distance from each other. Then on a whistle the rider right behind the coach had to jump the gap and make it to the other group. Lots of sprinting.
Then we did some racing in smaller groups of 4-8 people - normal scratch races with coach pacing the group for first 1-2 laps and then letting us go. I did well in the first race - knowing my strength I positioned myself at the front (first race was a 1k out of which only 1.5 lap was on our own so I wanted to ride from the front). It was good planing since nobody was able to jump on my wheel when the coach peeled off and I kept pushing the whole 1.5 laps.
Then we did races in three little bigger groups and I was paired up with bunch of strong roadies. I did not mind it even knowing that the distance was 5 laps. Once we got into pace line we rode 1.5 laps, the coach peeled off and I was on. I knew I can hold it or if someone was on my wheel we can tag team. But there was a problem - the tail of the group was not in the pace line when we started so we basically caught up with them on 3rd lap, had to slow down and the race got restarted. Well so much for saving energy. I had so much lactic acid in my legs that it was challenging to repeat the attack. I asked the guy in front of me who was strong to tag team with me. We lead the race for 3 laps, but then I ran out of steam. That wasted sprint to make the gap in the false start was just too much to keep the pace for too long. Ended up finishing little worse than I wanted, but it was a lot of fun.
More so with the coaches that were all very experienced track riders - well there is probably no one more qualified in T-town to talk about track racing than Marty Nothstein that was accompanied with two other coaches - Bobby Livingstone (who fit me on my road bike) and another gentleman whose name escaped me.
We got a feel for just how good these gys are - while we were racing all out both coaches riding with us just zoomed by us and kept encouraging us to put more effort. Amazing athletes.
I'm sure I'll be back to the track this year and next year I'll partake in the Masters and Rookies races that seem like a lot of fun.