but .. I'm a sprinter!
On Sunday my baby, the Trek Summer Sprint Series kicked off, a slow but successful start - but I wanted to race it, not run it!
Yep, another whinge of sorts! Skip this post if you like.
Many of you who've been reading my blog will know that I've been organising a track match sprint series, the Trek Summer Sprint Series. This is my baby for a couple of reasons. Firstly, a few of the riders I work with wanted to do more match sprinting, and secondly - so do I! Generally there's very little in the way of match sprinting for 'the rest of us'. There isn't all that much for the elite riders either, for that matter. There's lots of sprint events, such as kierens, sprint derby's and so on, but no-one that I'm aware of runs an actual match sprint series with regular match sprinting except at the world cup level. That's no good! I grew up watching match sprinting at the Brisbane Commonweath games and fell in love with match sprinting. Other sports drew me off for years with some success, but now I'm racing bikes it makes sense to eventually end up doing this sort of racing.
I'm of the school of thought that says "If you put your hand up to say you want something, you just put your hand up to be involved in making it happen". So, because I want the series, I have to drive it. I have to prove that it's a viable thing and make it work. No-one else is going to. So after months of politics trying to convince the Blackburn Cycling Club that not only will it be a useful and valuable racing program, but also that it won't damage the current (fragile!) regular summer track season, and then months of organising sponsors (thankyou Trek Australia, in particular Mark Gardner and James Collins, thankyou for your trust and sharing my vision) and donating a lot of aboc and my own personal funds towards infrastructure and a hell of a lot of my time, we have a series. Round 1 was yesterday. Although we had a small turnout of 9 riders (and only 8 raced) the day was a success, we got some very pleasing, positive and constructive feedback and the racing itself was great. Lots of good, close sprints, and everyone competed in the spirit of the sport. Our team of volunteers were great, and you can read about how it all went here. Suffice to say I'm very proud of what our small team achieved. We expect that the attendance will grow as word gets around that it's real and it's worth doing and most importantly, it's a lot of fun! I'm sure Dino and Rob agree, after their B grade aboc smackdown final!
But, I didn't get to race it! Neither did Nathan, who is one of the core riders that I wanted the series to run for. Nath's carrying a mystery injury in his shoulder that we hope will be fixed soon. Nath, get that damn shoulder fixed.
On the bright side, the regular summer track season starts this Saturday, and that I will be doing. No more DISC until next winter, I'm committed to the Blackburn season. DISC is fun, but the racing gets stale with the same program every week and the same (mostly) people and getting to Northcote every Thursday night is a PITA. It's too far to tow my bike and that means having to rely on lifts and favours and I feel bad about that. Not to mention that I've never been exposed to as many crashes and bad injuries as I have seen in one winter at DISC, and while I'm not scared of crashing, I think there's a big gap between rider's fitness and handling skills and their sanity at DISC. DISC is really not suitable, I think, for many of the riders racing there. Be that as it may, maybe next winter we might try and get a cage there to keep bikes and bits and make that side of it at least a bit more convenient. Anyway, it's like racing Glenvale every week. It does get a bit dull. The BBN program is varied and a lot of fun. I'll mix in Glenvale a few times a month, but crits have always been training races for me while chasing longer flat road races. The long, flat races are mostly all gone now. No more Bayles, no more Modella flat ... the only one left is Crib Point, which is a grotty course with a dangerous approach to the finish. I can't get that training race thing out of my head at crits. I just don't care about them all that much. I've won there a few times, and when I've put my mind to it, been quite competitive up to and including in B grade, but ... blah! It's just another crit.
I'm hoping that if the TSSS gains momentum and we get bigger fields and we stress-test and prove the procedures we're using to run it, that next summer I can hand over the race director position to another willing body and race it myself.