Tuesday night I decided to try my hand at the cat 2 racing at the track again. I walked to the window, signed in (comped on the entry fee again! awesome!) and looked at the schedule. Keirin night. I just about walked away then and there. In hindsight, I should have. But if they were willing to let me race for free, I might as well help put on the show.
Warming up was an atrocity. My legs felt awful after the thrashing I gave them in Detroit, and the 8 hours of driving back to T-Town didn't help. I put a 94, did a handful of jumps, and tried to get myself ready to race.
My heat came up, and, no surprise, I drew number 1. Right behind the motor. I can draw that position with uncanny consistency. Thus far into the season, I have only drawn something else a single time. Weird, eh? The good news for me was that someone else wanted the motor, which I gladly relinquished, falling onto second wheel. Somewhere in the first lap, a paunchy junior, clearly of the mindset that if you're in a keirin, you're obligated to hit people, drew along side and started fighting me for the position. I gave him a few good flicks, knocked his arms and bars, then thought better of the situation (does this keirin really matter for me? no.) and let him in. I drifted back to third wheel. The motor drew off, I held my position, leaving space enough to punch over the top when the time was right. We hit the backstretch on bell laps, I jumped out of the saddle, came over the top, and won the heat. Maybe my legs weren't so awful after all.
Turns out that was a very wrong assumption. In the points race after that, I took second in the first sprint, and the proceeded to get dropped for the remainder of the race. Ouch. Take that, pride.
Keirin reps came and went, and we started a win and out, with the first place sprint at 8 to go, second at 4 to go, and the rest being sorted out at the end. In short, I led out first sprint, got beaten to the line by some woman named Laura from Australia, and then did a repeat of my points race performance, popped off the back. The pride took yet another blow.
In the keirin final, I had one strategy, and no aspirations of winning. Game plan: Sit on Matt Deiffenbach, and ride his draft all the way to the finish. Matt took up a position at the back of the pack, content to let me sit on (I had told him about this plan earlier). He made his move later than I would have expected, taking me along, over the top. A huge hook was thrown his way in turn 3, sending me all the way to the rail. I kept it upright, stuck the plan, and rode away with a paltry 5th.
At the end of the night, I had a sole upgrade point to my name, and was convinced that the next two days would be nothing but recovery. Hopefully this works out for Friday, because as Ryan Nelman yelled at me from the stands, as I was suffering off the back "How do you expect to race on Friday night if you're getting beat by the ladies on a Tuesday?!"