Staying In and Pulling Through

Riding at the track is an interesting experience for me each and every time I show up. Adding to the variety: there are three different courses (maybe even more…). There is the road course, Frontier, and the oval (with or without chicanes). All are around a mile to 1.5 miles in length: the road course has non-trivial turns, one punchy hill and what I call a short but demeaning hill that if I don’t pay attention to, I sag terribly; Frontier I have only ridden once and is known to be hard, having one long grinding hill, and a left turn following a long descent known to cause crashes; and the oval, which is fast and hard, but allows all riders capable of following wheels to stay in – as it is usually the hills and the sharp turns that sheds any weaker/less skilled racers.

So far, I have had the most success on the road course. On the oval, I am usually too intimidated by the speed and general dickery to go for the sprints, and sometimes even to stay in. On Frontier, which I have only ridden once, I was too intimidated to stay in. I was dropped in the first lap. The first time down the hill for the left-hand turn (I was warned of crashes there), I was tail-gunning, got gapped off by other tail-gunners, and chased up the hill, never able to latch back on. Here is my Garmin data, chasing for over 30 minutes, never able to reach the group again (but passing many who were dropped, and lapping the B field).


Staying in was where I failed. The benefit of this, is that it happened the Thursday before Exeter. Chasing for 30 minutes is a lot like being off the front for 30 minutes, so this failure prepared me for a future success. I was confident that if the effort could get me away, I could maintain it to keep me away.

Bottom line: train harder than you race. You never know what you may find out. You may find the strength to stay in, pull through, and go for the lead.

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