PR: Flats

2011 Pacific Raceways started with threatening skies… so what else is new? Flats, with a decent number of Bikesale guys riding Masters (David, Alan, Gordy, Barry, Laura, and I). However, we were completely unorganized. We rode around, and I got myself in position for a go at the first preme. However, as I swooped around the corner, I saw 2 KR guys with a nice lead-out going for it. I sat up and hopped in the chase, but they had the preme.

A few laps later, second preme… 3 guys were off the front, and I and a KR guy moved to chase. We drug the pack to them, and swallowed them up. The pack slowed up at the end of the drag strip, so I made a half-hearted attempt to go for the second preme. However, didn’t have that much gas, and a bunch of others did. I ducked in the back for the rest of the laps until the 2nd to last. At this point, moved up a bit, but saw the train for KR again, and nothing really for us. Half-sprinted to the end, but was tired and just rolled it in.

Good workout, but no teamwork… just lots of individual efforts. In 2 weeks, we’ll have to try and be a bit more organized; for example, putting together a lead-out train or two on the premes / final.

PR: Flats (no points!)

This week was laid back, as it was the annual PR BBQ. Which means it was cold, cloudy, and threatening rain. Also meant flats – just flats, not point per lap. Ah well. I, Max (our awesome junior), and Eric (Michael’s brother) were in the race. Lots of attacks tried to go, but everything was covered. Bunch sprint at the end. I had a crappy line, as it turns out. Max got 8th – good for him!

PR: CCW with S-Curve

Today was the only date on the calendar going down the S-Curves. This is the most technical race, and I think the hardest, PR offers. Rather than racing down a decently steep hill and then up a curvy, gentler hill (or the reverse), racers have to descend a technical double-hairpin. Those not in the front then need to sprint up a small rise to catch on.

I personally lasted for 4 laps – the preme lap, to be precise. I wasn’t in the back, but even in the middle it was tough as the yo-yo effect was that severe. People kicked it up a notch on the preme, and while I was finally able to catch back on as the pack descended, I was done. Waited for a lap, hopped back on at the end to finish it out, did another few laps… but oof. Tough race. Each sprint at the bottom of the S-Curves was over 1000 watts for me… which is up there with PPL sprints. Oof!

PR: Flats Point Per Lap

Another week, another point per lap race. In addition, the course was slightly modified with a new earlier turn, due to a sand pit being added at the end of the dragstrip on the far west end. Anyway, we had one neutral lap, where I noticed the cornering was actually nicer than the previous route… banked well, new pavement. Cool. So, on the first real lap, I was in the lead, so I pushed it a bit to see what others thought of the new corner… and found myself way out ahead of the pack in front. I pushed a bit, challenging the pack… and they let me go! So, I settled in to an aggressive tempo… if they chased, they’d easily get me. And around the end of the drag strip they did, but I was by myself for quite a while.

5th or 6th lap I did the same thing with another guy, and this time we got away! The two of us had a huge gap on the pack. The other guy seemed to be content to do most of the work… in that he wasn’t pulling off. I passed him once, then he passed me back on the final curve… and then I just attacked off him for the win. He didn’t really contest, so I rolled over the line for my first PPL win! 2 points! And man, was I exhausted! Luckily, the Masters were there for me… I was struggling in the pack, but as we rounded the first corner into the drag strip we were neutralized for the Masters to pass us. Yay! We basically mailed it in on that lap and then back to game on. Woof! Thanks for the recovery!

I sorta contested another lap or two, but otherwise, took my 2 points and was done. Good enough for a tie for 5th place. Still no season points though. But we’re getting closer!

PR: CCW with Escape Route

June began with another counter-clockwise escape route course. Scot Weeks, another 4 on our team, was racing with me. At the preme lap, I hollered at him to get on my wheel and as we rounded the corner for the downhill, I sprinted out. I told him to stay on my wheel until the bottom, where I’d have gotten a reasonable gap on the pack and he could hopefully power it up for the preme. Well, he decided to go BEFORE the descent… and was promptly swallowed up. He’s not as big as I. 😉

Anyway, we raced around until the end, and I was just in for the pack finish. However, on the final lap, pushed, and saw him pushing as well. Moved up to the top third, but on the hill was too tired to do much. But did hear, and then after the cool-down pace heard from Scot that he managed the win! He had good position on the downhill, followed a reasonable line up, and the guy in front of him was just gassed, so he was able to pull it off. Nice work!

PR: Flats Point Per Lap

This week brought another points per lap race. Craig and Michael were there… Michael wanted to try and shred the field, so we were going to let whomever contested get lap 1, and then attack right after that sprint, and try to keep up the counter-attacking every other lap or so. Well, as we rounded the corner for lap 1 (well, first point lap), nobody was attacking… so I did! Full on sprint, and someone came with and then pulled ahead by a few inches to beat me again like the week previous. Blast!

I spent the rest of the race recovering, actually. Michael contested a number and I think placed in the race, but overall not much happened. There was a stiff headwind coming from the west, so every sprint was right into it, and every counter attack was right into it… which really put the brakes on that kind of thing.

Pack finish, but got another PPL point (ok, no season points yet… still working up to that!)

PR CCW Escape Route

Today’s race was sparsely attended after last week’s Crashapalooza. It was raining, and the forecast was LOTS of rain. But, I took a chance after my friend Laura called me out. Got down there, and cold, wet, but not raining. And the sun came out!

There were only 14 Masters, and no Wines guys in the 4/5s, so I raced Masters. Laura was also racing Masters, along with Eric and Greg. Laura told me that she felt Masters was more intense, but same overall speed as the 4/5s. Plus, they did the hill slower. Slower hill? I’m in!
Woof… why do I always forget that Masters rip your legs off? 😉

The 4/5 Escape Route race is basically a “thin the pack sprint finish” race. The pack powers up the hill, then recovers on the flat until the downhill and up again. If you can hang on after the pack gets to the top and the false flat curve, you’re good until the next lap. Preme laps can be tough, as often the pack will sprint up that hill and you need to sprint with them. But ultimately, it’s a semi-sprint finish for people to power up the climb on the last lap.

The Masters… don’t do that. They go slowly up that hill, conserving energy. Then, on the flats… ATTACK! Yes, an attack at PR. Today, even though there were only 15 racers, someone was always attacking – esp. Greg. After the preme lap, I and some others got dropped – or at least formed a smaller group of 4 from the group of 15. We chased for a bit, then the 4/5s caught us, so we drafted them. Then, they towed us to the Masters. Thanks guys!

We did a few more laps, then the end. Greg, Eric, and I were in the lead on the descent, and Eric was giving Greg an OK lead, but Greg had gone too early up the hill and blew up about halfway up the final climb. Tough race, legs were gassed… good stuff.

I drove home in the downpour… yow. Then, came home to my wife pointing out some leaks from the rain. Attic spelunking after a race…. suck-tastic. Oh well, still didn’t crash. Just now need to find a roofer!

Flats, point per lap, crashtastic, then Hills, point per lap

Today… um… sucked. But I didn’t go down.

The course was flats point-per-lap – 2 points for first across each lap (except the first), 1 point for second. Highest points at the end wins. Cool.

It was lightly raining. Not cool.

We sped around the first lap, fast… some people were pushing, rest of us were chatting, “Um, first lap neutral, no points guys…” But whatever. Second lap, GO! I was around the top 10ish, positioning myself for a sprint. Third lap, we round the bend, I’m in a good position on the right, and GO! There’s someone leading the main pack in the middle, they start to drop back. There’s another guy on my left. Turns out the pack conceded to us… sprint! sprint! sprint! And he gets me by a hair. That’s OK, first point in PPL.

We sit up and let the pack catch up. As we round the bend for the drag strip, we see that the Masters have crashed. Oof! Neutral through the crash. Sprint again, and then I’m back in the top 10ish ready for another go. I’m nervous on the drag strip, so I’m leading out the third line (left-most). We get to the almost-end of it, and CRASH! I hear bikes falling behind me. I don’t even look… I’m all about maintaining my line and maintaining my bike upright on the slick rubber. We cruise around, some people sprint, but more are looking at the carnage. There’s about 10 of us. Rory or Deanna, who run it, yell “ESCAPE ROUTE!” So the course shifts to PPL Escape Route (HILL!).

Well, with crashes and hills, we’re done. Mike, one of my teammates who made it through the crash, has legs. He pretty much goes off the front up the hill, stays away for 2 of the final 4 laps. Nobody is really pushing things though… two crashes and sprinting after a hill has just taken the wind out of everyone.

Oof… made it, got a point, drove home. Weird, rough day.

PR Flats

PR CCW with Escape Route

A week later I found myself doing the Escape Route again. Stuck with the pack (again). This time, I had told Max, the junior on our team, to get behind me on the final lap, and I’ll blast him down the descent so he can climb to victory.

That was just how it happened.. well the blast down. I sprinted to the front of the pack on the last lap, Max behind me, bombed down the descent, and then was done costing up the hill. Somebody was on my wheel, Max followed… and then the pack got us. I rolled it in on a pack finish, my job done. But, finished with the pack again… guess those legs have improved!

Pacific Raceways Escape Route

PR: CCW down the escape route

My first PR hills route… fun. Felt good. Started the race towards the front, and made it a goal to lead the pack on the descent. We did 7-ish laps (need to look at my stats), and I was on the dfront on the downhill for at least three of them. I’d extend a gap, make it up about 1/3 of the hill, and then be caught. Stuck with the pack on the first preme, which is usually when I lose them. Second to last lap was the second preme (bastard). So 2 spirited laps… but I held. Didn’t try and contest the finish, just stuck with people and rolled over the line with the pack (think I was dead last in the pack, but hey, pack finish is a pack finish!). Think this is my first finish on the hill… least first that I can remember!

Pacific Raceways Escape Route