Day 1: Acclimation

First night of racing in the Forest City 6-Day was tonight. Things didn't start off too well. The program began with a 30 lap scratch race, with all riders in, and I just felt twitchy and out of control. The sprint came, and while I could hold the speed, I couldn't come around anyone for the life of me. I finished somewhere in the middle, right behind Garnett. In any case, it was points enough to put us into second.

Next up was a 30 minute madison. While most madisons are done like points races, with a handful of sprints thrown into the process of the slings, Forest City does it a bit differently. There is only one sprint during the course of the race, with a second sprint at the finish. The mid-race sprint isn't quite normal either. First of all, racing on time, there aren't any lap cards counting down until there are 10 laps to go before a sprint, and this is announced with a whistle. Then on rider from each team comes off the track, and the remaining riders have a 10 lap sprint race, then they leave the track, their partners come on and do the same, and finally everyone gets back on, with the first group now becoming the field. Convoluted? You bet. This is another idiosyncrasy I'm not keen on. It seriously detracts from the flow of the race, and doesn't for you to be prepared to make an exchange right after a sprint, and either cover an attack of make one yourself. Immediately after the sprint is the prime time to attack! Why would you remove that from the race? At least the final sprint is still run with all riders in the race, but you can't attack after that one.

One upside of the one rider on/one rider off sprints is that it lets you grab a drink halfway through a 45 minute race.

In any case, I rode pretty poorly in my sprint in the first madison, but Garnett won his, keeping us in second, and lending our team a hint of credibility.

Winding it up...

Next up was the miss-and-out. I like these races, but wasn't sure how my standard technique of playing the devil and riding from the back would work out. After all, in the first two races, I had either no or very limited success is coming over riders in the sprint. Heedless to common sense of adapting my plan, I rode from the back. The funny this is that it worked. The final three riders were the pair of Team Ontario (Daniele DeFranceschi and Vince DeJong) and myself. I came over Daniele, and he was out. I jumped on Vince's wheel when he attacked, but he seemed to be tiring, and coming out of turn four, I picked him off for the win. This was quite a moral boost, as I my riding was longer hapless, Vince is considered one of the track's most promising young riders, and Daniele had won the Canadian national omnium title a few weeks ago. Things were looking up.

...and throwing down.

The last event was a 45 minute madison. Bolstered by the miss-and-out, I rode more aggressively and took second in my sprint, and believe Garnett did the same in his. Unfortunately, my legs started to load up with about 10 minutes to go. Garnett and I had decided to try taking the last sprint by attacking at 10 to go. He threw me in just as the cards came out, I made a dash over the field, strung it out, and started sucking wind. I got Garnett back in the race just I was hitting the wall, and while he held off the most of the field, when he threw me in at 3 or 4 to go, I was toast. I dropped anchor. We finished the sprint in last, and with double points, dropped to third. Oh well, now we know what we can do, and I'm finally getting more comfortable racing on this track, so I can only imagine tomorrow will be smoother.