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Ginger Avenger back on TRACK...

Ginger Avenger back on TRACK...

On Sunday 6thJune I completed in the British Cycling National Derny Championships at Scunthrope Track. The event is simple really; you ride behind a mini motorbike as fast as you can for 30km and the first person across the line wins. 

Now, nothing is quite that simple. You do have an other 8 or 9 riders on the track with you at any one time and they also have their own motorbike so it can be quite hectic. You then also have to deal with the speeds that range from a steady 50kph to 70kph when the hammer is down.

When I arrived at the track it was raining so “wasted day” I thought. In good old traditional UK track racing style we sat it out and let the rain pour until 2 hours later than scheduled we got under way.

The event had 20 riders so two heats of 10 with the first 5 from each heat going through to contest the final. I was drawn in heat 2. I decided to ride 50 x 14, which is about a 96 inch gear, this is bigger than I would normally ride but I not ridden my track bike since last July and come back from the RaS so should be stronger.

The heat was 15km long, 31 laps of the track, and started with a big attackby one of the local riders going nearly half a lap clear in the first 5 laps. I was drawn in 9th position so had a long way to make up. This meant only 4 spots remained for the final and the heat still had 9 men looking to get into those slots. Gradually the pace picked up, 50, 53, 58, 59 kph as people jockeyed for position at the front. I sat and watched from the back waiting to see what would happen. As they raced up front I stayed clear of danger and with about 10 laps to go made my move up the outside. Dropping into 3rd place I was in a qualifying spot and not really having to work that hard. An attack came alongside me so the speed rose again to around 63kph as we enteredthe last 5 laps. Then the hammer came down and riders started to blow all around me. The heat was over, a comfy ride into the final.

Although the heat was very comfy I was undecided about my selection of gearing. The final few laps had me pedalling very quickly and although this is my preferred style without the specific training I was not sure if Icould cope with it over the 30km distance.

Should I change gear or not, I probably need to go bigger to around 98 or 100inches. All sorts of questions in my head; the race is double the distance, it could be up and down, what if the wind picks up, maybepeople will tire. I finally decided to stick with what I know and keep 96inch on.

I was drawn 9th on the starting grid. As the race began I was happy to drop back to 10thman and watch the race unfold from the back. I was feeling very good. The field stayed together as the speed rose from 45 to 55kph in thefirst 10 laps. 51 laps to go. Then at 30 laps the pace rose to around 62kph and the gear was feeling very small now as I rev’d away fasterthan I have for months. 2, 3, 5, 8 , 15 laps later and the pace wasreally hot. 65kph with only 15 laps to go.

I was still at the back, the field was still together, but I had nowhere to go. I was sprinting and had been for about 10 laps. Under geared but not really out of breath! As the speed maintained at 65kph a couple of riders in front of me started to lose contact with the group so I tried to go around them. Big mistake as coming into the last 10 laps and I cracked. I couldn’t keep up the pedalling rhythm anymore. I lost my pacer and the game was up.

I was tired after riding the RaS, I was out of practice on the trackbike, I should have used a bigger gear. I am kicking myself today!! It was a great event and well organised. Well done to all the riders inthe heats and the final. It was a good race and they all deserve credit for racing at that speed for 30km. It is not easy.

I now move onto the Roadman 25 and Newcastle under Lyme Track meetings in a couple of weeks hoping that the form will improve as the National Masters Track Champs approach at the end of June.

9 June 2010

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