Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Festival of Speed non-race report

by Cathy Boland

The Festival of Speed at the Dick Lane Velodrome in East Point, Ga was my first track race of the season and the 3rd time I had been on the track all year. I wasn't expecting much in results since I haven't been doing much track work so I was looking at this race as more of a training effort than anything else.

Woke up to the sound of driving rain early Sunday morning. The race would be a no go if it was raining, so I had to make a decision whether or not to chance the 2.5 hour drive to Atlanta. Judging from the weather channel, the rain would blow through and there was a good enough chance of racing to justify the drive. So off I went. All the way to Atlanta I kept asking myself, "Why am I doing this? I could be in bed sleeping right now. I could have a lazy morning of coffee and breakfast. " I never could figure out why I torment myself with these stupid bike races.

I arrived at the track just as the rain was letting up. Hooray! The trip was not wasted. The track finally dried enough to get on it around 1:30 with the racing starting at 2.

As I was warming up, I noticed that my rear wheel felt squirrelly. Sure enough, I had a slow leak. I ride tubulars on the track, so a quick tire change was not possible. Fortunately, I had thought to bring a set of spare training wheels with me. The rear one weighs as much as a battleship, but it was better than nothing. I had just enough time to run to my car, change out the wheel and get a few more laps of warm-up in before the racing started. How can it be that I'm one of the first to arrive at the track yet I still don't get a warm up in?

We started with a flying 200 meter time trial to seed us for the sprints. I swear a saw the officials pull out a calendar to clock me. I felt like I was riding through molasses. Later I saw that I had pulled off the slowest time for all the women. 15.67 seconds – yep, they really did have to pull out a calendar. Well just happy day.

Our first race was a snowball – the winner of each lap gets the number of points of that lap number – winner of lap 1 gets 1 point, lap 2 gets 2 points and so on. These races start out fast and furious and I'm generally not too good at them on my best days. Today was just flat a disaster. The top women and the juniors took off a half lap into the race. I almost had enough jump to stay with them, but not quite. The gap between me and them kept getting bigger and pretty soon the group of women that had even less jump than I came roaring over the top of me. Well crap. I decided that chasing was hopeless, so I sat up and let the group lap me and I
jumped in behind them. 2 laps later I noticed something weird was going on with my bike. And then there was suddenly no pressure on my left foot. Looking down I saw my left crank arm just dangling from my shoe! Shit! (Actually what was going through my mind was much less clean than that) Somehow I managed to pedal with one leg (remember that track bikes are fixed gear and have no brakes) off the track and into infield where some alert friends caught me before
I fell over.

The bolt for the crank arm was lost so I couldn't re-attach the crank arm. And I decided that 2 near disasters was enough for one day. Basically I drove 2.5 hours to get 15 laps of warmup, a 200 m TT that Grandma Moses in a wheelchair could beat and 9 laps of racing. I felt like throwing my track bike in the nearest dumpster.

A half a bottle of good wine later the whole thing was actually pretty funny.

1 Comments:

At 9:11 AM, Blogger placeholder said...

Oh Cathy, you're a great race reporter, that post made my day, so it wasn't really a wash after all :) Will we see you in NC at Sugar Mountain?

 

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