What a day! What a ride! What a race!
Take your life in your hands and literally ride to Casey Fields. The day was gorgeous, sunny, perfect for riding, a fresh breeze. This was, I thought, going to be a great day. I settled in on the ride, I noticed the wind strength increasing - was this going to be painful? I calmed myself down and looked at my pedals turning over, I was now facing a strong headwind - I was attacking the wind - I saw cars flashing past, I was sure they were driving over the speed limit (seriously though, you need to have your wits about you and be on task. The traffic is very aggressive and gravelly road surface, in places, is hairy and scary!).
I was turning the pedals quickly in low gears the wind hummed through the Mavic spokes. I was saving myself, saving my energy for the racing to come. I arrived at "Cranny", rode down the main street looking for the turn. It was busy, lots of shoppers bargain hunting. I noticed lots of good looking folk in modified cars - I knew they were cutting blockies, doing laps. Someone actually leaned out of the window and yelled at me to get off the X1$#* road - their road.... Oh great, yes, the number plates, personalised, you know the type "hotdvl", "blown", "redjet" and of course, not to forget "shedemon".
I finally arrived ready to race. Flags were fully extended and a sweet gale was blowing. Just what I needed a good sandblasting, yes, facial scrub to remove the wrinkles. Casey Fields is a purpose built bike track for racing configured in a horseshoe. It has many corners and is generally flat. There are many places to attack and withdraw, and more importantly for the novice racer, places to shelter. I've made it a point to read and reread Thom Pren's book on racing tactics as recommended by Carlo. I tried nervously to remember what to do, here and now! As racing began we quickly head into a headwind, on the turns there were crosswinds. Around again and the sprinters were delighted with very fast tail winds, a slight uphill grade and the circuit finish line was in sight. The pace was on from the start, I decided to hang in the middle. This was going to be a learning race. As it wore on, time wore the racers out. There were elaborate shows of strength, it slowed, then it took off.... There weren't many options, either you followed and kept your place, hiding from the wind, or you were hung to dry. And... the riders did fall away, picked off, lap after lap by the wind. I was feeling desperate - I had forgotten my race plan (Carlo says - always have a race plan). Somehow I recovered, I sat in the last ten remaining riders, it was three laps to go - then two laps - then the bell - I attacked from the middle with 500 metres to go, on that little incline. I was coming first, I had it in me, I was full of it, forza italia.....I knew that I had fired them up - being chased like a rabbit - pursued! I could feel them behind me, I looked down at my lolly legs, I was fading fast. Then I was 2nd, no! 3rd, damm! half a wheel and 4th as we hit the finish line. Still on the money though ($15.00 with $5.00 to spend). The race ended and the pain was over. I turned the pushy northward to home. I learnt some valuable lessons today. I sucked down some sweet drinks, ate the jam sandwiches and thought about a T-bone for dinner. With the wind on my tail I said "arrivederci Cranny".