Raced with K-Dawg on Sunday, one day after he decided to see if he could bounce off a curb. He’s apparently healing quick. It was a first for me since my recent upgrade to Cat 4. Photos courtesy of the Dawg’s lovely wife Sal.
Took three hours to drive to Richmond on Sunday, getting stuck in nasty traffic and getting lost, but I finally arrived at Southside Speedway about 15 minutes before my race. Change in 5 minutes, 5 minutes to register, 5 minutes to warm-up, then go. I was more than a little nervous since this was my first race as a 4, but since that field sold out, I was racing the 3/4 race with guys another step up the food chain.
Naturally, I started conservatively toward the middle or back of the field, but once I realized I wasn’t going to be blown away I worked toward the front. At one point, I even got on the front and pulled in a breakaway, so my Tripower teammates Greco and the Dawg wouldn’t have to work. In the final few laps, I got up to 4th wheel, and rolling into the bell lap I was in 3rd wheel and feeling real good. Then the Fat Frog on the front looked back for some reason, lost control of his bike and had to unclip to avoid crashing. Moving to avoid him I started to go outside, but he also steered toward the wall. With Greco on my wheel, I had to brake hard, dropping from about 30mph to about 20. A large group of guys rolled inside of us before Greco and I could duck back in and start sprinting again. Greco managed to work his way all the way back to 5th and I scored 9th. Can’t complain about that debut as a 4 in a field of 3s. And I feel like I could have done even better.
Since the race was so short, maybe 10 miles, I decided to also race the 40+ a while later. That race started very similarly. I worked my way toward the front. About midway through the race someone attacked off the front and nobody moved to chase. As everyone went wide on one of the turns I dropped inside to move to the front and pull it back. Next thing I knew I was off in a solo chase. I caught the breakaway a lap later and someone else bridged and the three of us worked together. I started to tire after a while and my handling got sloppy. I even overlapped and rubbed one of the guys wheels, risking bringing myself down. Thank goodness for the mountain bike skills. Despite my flagging energy, we stayed away until five laps to go when SR and Fat Frogs got serious and pulled us back. I was fried by that point and just tried to hang on to the end of the field. Greco, who also was in the field, attacked with some others going into the last lap, got a great gap and got third. Let’s just say I finished with the group after busting my butt in that breakaway.
And I’m glad I upgraded.