This past Saturday was my first track event of this season taking place at the Ed Rudolph Velodrome in Northbrook, IL. The race was an Omnium format, which I had never competed in before; because of this, I was somewhat unfamiliar with a majority of the races that were included in the event.
The Omnium consisted of three main events:
The beginning of the event started with flying 200m sprints, this was used to develop a bracket seed and decide who would race who in the match sprints. I ended up posting a time of I believe 13.4 seconds. This placed me in the B category bracket which comprised of a few more experienced racers and a few newer racers, so I felt hopeful going into my sprints.
My first sprint was against Junior, Aaron Harrison, and I have to say that I was slightly nervous because I ride with him during our track clinic nights and he is insanely strong for being where he is; and as soon as he is allowed to move up from the restrictive juniors gearing. This was also my first match sprint ever, and he had done plenty of these having been to junior track nationals. As our race started, we worked around turns 1 and 2 very slowly, pushing the limits of the walking pace rule, and this continued around till about the end of turn 4 in which the both of us began to trackstand; unlucky for me, I cannot trackstand very consistently, so it was at this point that I decided to take off. Apparently it had been the right choice, because as I had done so, Aaron had began to get comfortable in his stand, which means he had to readjust the bike before he was able to make an effort to catch me. I was out front for the entirety of the second lap and stayed there for the finish, moving on to the next match-up.
The photos that I have included with the report were all shot by Mr.Ed White A fantastic racer who just happens to take amazing shots at the events as well.
The second sprint too place against my new friend, and from what I have heard, very accomplished racer, Robert Higgins. Robert has a lot of experience, but has been away from racing for a while; let me tell you, his form is still just as good as anybody’s. This race was a little bit faster paced, but not by much, although our speed was much faster coming up to the second lap. As we did so and came through corner 1 I was luck enough to get a jump from the top of the banking and get a lead on him. As we came around the bend of corner 3 into the last bend Robert began to close the gap, but I suddenly heard a loud cracking noise behind me. While continuing to ride hard and realizing that my bike and I were o.k. I put in the last bit of effort I had to stay in front for a very close finish between Robert and I. - It was not until after the race had ended and I had found Robert again that I had learned that when he sat down after sprinting he had actually snapped and broken his seat post. I certainly look forward to racing with Robert again because he is a great rider with super legs on him.
My next two matches were much more disappointing than the previous ones.
For the third match-up I was pitted against Jeff Perkins. This guy is something else, probably one of the nicest guys I’ve met up at the track; but look out once he gets you up by the boards. Our race was light years faster than my others and after the both of us had gone back and forth trying to get a move going, for a short bit of our second lap the both of us were riding near the top, with Jeff tring to squeeze me out from behind him by riding near the boards. Jeff made the successful attack and it was all over from there, the rest of our race saw me trying to close the gap but in the end it was a race that I couldn’t win. Phenomenal racer and a great sport, he even apologized for sticking me near the boards, what a guy!
My final sprint was against Ted Burger. I drew the top spot on the track which meant I got to trail behind him for the first lap. Unsure about how he planned to make his move, I felt that the race would start off slow; this was the wrong decision to make. As I pedaled away from the start slowly behind Ted, his intentions became clear as he stood up and shot off away from me before we had even finished the first corner of the first lap. The remainder of the race was spent fruitlessly trying to catch up to him as I was completely caught off guard.
After competing in all of these races, I have to say that the Match Sprint is one of my most favorite races to partake in.
The next event that was part of the Omnium was the Chariot Race, for me, this race was hard from the start; I had just finished the last of the match sprints and my legs were begging for a break. The combination of my fatigue and the somewhat large 90 inch gear that I use on my bike doomed me to not be able to catch the first kick of speed and I was only able to make my way into 6th place out of the 8 competitors. Not the greatest result, but I still had fun.
And finally came the Scratch Race. For this I felt fairly prepared, I had been practicing these almost every week in the training clinics at the track and knew I could use the tactics that I had been honing to get a good placement. The only thing that I saw that would possibly stand in my way was that in the cat 4/5 field of the race, there were numerous members of the Half Acre team. Knowing that these guys are all strong competitive riders, and that they would be putting their team tactics to work, I decided to work off of them and try and make a move when I felt it was time. The race began, and just as I had predicted, the Half Acre guys began to control the pace of the field and I moved into position near the front of the pack. The speed began to pick up and about halfway through the third lap there was an attack from the back of the field in which another racer and my friend and Turin rider Ian Murray took off from the rest of us. The Half Acre team began to try and close down the attack and I used this to launch my own attack, making a slingshot off of multiple riders and into m own chase for the break. I managed to catch up to the two leaders but couldn’t pull close enough or around them. By that point in the race, we crossed the line and I had taken 3rd place in the race (out of 13 competitors), a result that I was quite pleased with and I felt it was a great way to end the day of racing.
Overall, I felt that for my first time competing in an Omnium format as well as two new race formats, I did quite well. This event got me entirely pumped up for the rest of the track season, while also giving me a confidence boost in my abilities. My and the rest of the results can be found here. I will continue to post up race and training updates as they take place.
This Friday is the first night of Cat 5 racing at Northbrook, and I will be there, trying as hard as I can to do well in the races. Wish me luck and hopefully I will bring home some results to write home about.