By Dennis Pedersen
These match sprint events are a lot of fun and great practice. This is one of the events I'll probably enter at the Master Track National Championships in August, so I do want to get some good training in for these.
Unlike my recent sprints event we did get to do flying 200 meter runs for "seeding." I selected 50x14 teeth gears (96"). My 37.4 mph max during warmup was a sign of good things to come! My timed run felt superb too, and even before I knew the results I was tempted to go home on this high note. But of course I didn't. And when I set a new personal record it was worth it: 11.94 seconds (5.94/6.00 splits), at 38.8 mph max! My first run in the 11s, and a real milestone in a sport where we struggle to cut 1/10ths off.
I changed to a lower gearing for the actual racing: 49x14 teeth gears (94.6"). As we usually do here, for the first round I was matched against a rider of similar qualifying time. Just 2 laps, though, not the full 3 we sometimes get.
In the first round I raced against Brian Moore (who, coincidentally, will be my team sprint teammate at Nationals): I started from the back, stayed high on the banking throughout the first lap until turn 4, attacked, passed Brian, backed off a bit, went fast again into turn 3, and won. (37.4 mph max.)
Second round against Chris Gaitos: Similar to above, I stayed high and passed Chris out of turn 4, but Chris was able to catch me in turn 4 and just pass me at the line for a close win. (37.6 mph max.)
Third round against Brian and Luis: I started in middle position, Luis took the pole, Brian jumped under me to follow him. I dropped down next to Brian and boxed him in, forcing him to back off and go around me out of turn 4. I followed Brian's attack over Luis, thus boxing Luis in, then I went around Brian and dropped into the sprinters lane in turn 3 for the win. (36.3 mph max.)
So, this event was truly a morale booster for me leading into the busy summer schedule of State (district) Elite, Masters, and National Championships. I look forward to it!