Well, I turned up to the Friday night track at the local velodrome. I turned up in my crappy old Ute(pickup) and got a few strange looks. Or maybe it was just that I was feeling intimidated and paranoid.
The track itself is a 450 metre undulating bitumen oval. Not that great a track but its the only one locally. It seems that 450 metres is the ideal length to go around a cricket oval, so more of an afterthought really...
About 18 riders turned up. The first part of the evening was just rolling round the track, getting used to the track bikes again, blowing off the cobwebs so to speak.
After about 45 minutes one of the blokes decided to organise a race. 20 laps. So we all rolled along thinking that the race was on, about 4 laps in we hear "19", next lap "18", so it was more like a 23 lap race. A mate said they like messing with riders heads... Interesting.
This was my FIRST track race ever and I was nervous as hell. I know the basics, hold your line, look before you move, do your turn at the front. I've read about them, so now it was time to put it into practice.
About 5 laps in some riders started to come off the back of the pack. I held in there.
I did well to hold my line and stay on the wheel in front. I did my turn at the front at about lap 15 and thats where I made my fatal error.... TIMING.
I peeled off for the next bloke to have his turn and went up the bank a little. I waited for the pack to come through to rejoin at the back... I should have accelerated to get back on sooner. Before I knew it I found that the pack was now only about 7 riders and I they were already past. I couldn't get back on. F**k! No matter how hard I tried I couldn't quite get back to them, so I dropped off the back and rolled slowly watching.
So I got a big fat DNF!! I went home and felt very depressed. I'd been mentally gearing up for this for ages. But then I realised that the pack was being pulled by the state champ. The other guys were VERY experienced. Only 5% more power and 5% more fitness and I'd have been finishing with the big boys. And TIMING, goddam that timing. I might have at least been able to hang on the back if I'd timed things a bit better.
Hopefully I'll do better next time. I suspect that a 20 lap track race is a bit long for me. I'm going to be better at 2000m race etc, well, we'll see.