Day 3: Blow Outs

A funny thing has happened over the first 3 days of racing. Despite spending several hours a day racing, not getting as much sleep as I would like, and habitually neglecting to cool down, I've felt better each day. Maybe it's getting used to the track and being able to relax. Maybe it's the small gears. Whatever it is, I like it.

While being called over to the rider meeting today, everyone turned to hear the distinctive pop and hiss of a tubular blow out and going flat. To be precise, my tubular, on my rear race wheel. A decidedly inauspicious start to the day. I put on my training wheel, and went for it. Better on the infield than when racing, I suppose.

Things improved from there, though. Garnett and I taking third and second, respectively, in the opening scratch race. Grabbed some more cash in the primes during the first madison, before I proceeded to ride like an idiot at take last in my sprint. Garnett did pretty well though, and picked up some points for us. A few more primes, a good finish in the final sprint, and we were on to the miss-and-out.

Garnett throwing me onto Scott's wheel (London). Scott would go down today, his partner, Brandon, going down yesterday.

Somewhere in the first two events, our primary opponent, Team Quebec, dropped from third to fourth, and Team Delhi overtook them with by picking up consistent points, though never winning the sprints. One of the Quebec riders has been suffering these last two days, and it was starting to show. Garnett and I, on the other hand, consolidate our grip on second, but gained only modestly on the first place team, Ontario.

Given my questionable early elimination in the miss-and-out last night, I wanted to leave no doubt today. I still played the devil, as usual, but made sure everyone I picked off was clearly out, even if it meant taking one or two additional hard pedal strokes. As on the first day, the final 3 riders were me and Team Ontario, but this time I only successfully dispatched of Vince, and was unable to come around Daniele, taking second.

Despite Hanz's prediction, my luck has held out, as well as the fabric on my shorts. They have not (yet) been torn off by a particularly fierce throw.

The fourth madison involved some real racing. Things started out fast by manageable, and we took more cash in the primes. We both placed well in our intermediate sprints, as well as the primes that followed. Following one prime sprint, we found ourselves off the front with Team Ontario, but after a few laps, eased up for reasons that I'm still not sure of (even though I was part of it...) and the race came back together. Team London had attacked to try to take a lap yesterday, but crashed themselves out with only about 20 meters to go before catching us. They're sitting in last, so no one was too concerned about them going around, as 100 points racing becomes a lap, and they were too far back in the points to be a long-term threat. A $100 prime to the first team that lapped the field provided them plenty of motivation, though. They tried again today, and being even further back on points that the day before, the pack gave them some distance. We made them work in the middle of it, but eventually the succeeded in coming around. Then the somehow managed to crash themselves out, again. Earlier we had joked that we could just let them go, that they would take themselves out before getting the lap. Well, it was close. They went down only shortly after taking the lap.

Strung out in turn 4, with London leading, Can-Am (me) in second, Ontario in third, Quebec in fourth, and Delhi in fifth.

After this, the racing started to really get interesting. I won a prime sprint, and then we took second to Ontario in the next one. At that point, I was felling pretty spent, and I think Garnett was too. Daniele took that opportunity, and put the hammer down. We chased, and things blew apart. Teams London and Delhi both lost laps, Delhi going down 2, London 3. We held strong, somewhere ahead of Quebec, but about half a lap behind Ontario. With only a few minutes left to race, the lap cards went up for the final sprint: only 10 to go. A lap or two later, I noticed a rider behind me. I threw Garnett in, believing Quebec was our wheel, but it turned out to be Ontario, having successfully gone everyone now, with Quebec another 30 meters back. Ontario beat us out for the sprint, and we took second place points, thinking we had gone down a lap.

Me throwing in Garnett, pursued by Team Delhi.

Somewhere in all of this, controversy was brewing. The officials decided not to give Ontario the lap on us and Quebec, citing a rule that they posted stating that no team can lose a lap in the final 10 lap sprint. I think this is pretty lame. Ontario made a smart attack, and gained the lap. What's more, the rule is in place to prevent a blown team that has hung in the race until the end from going down a lap because the leaders come around them in the final sprint, needing to only cover 138 meters on them. No one went down a lap like this. Rather, Ontario went up a lap. While it will strengthen their lead, I still think that Ontario should be granted the lap. The call is still in discussion, so we don't know just what the final scoring will be, but in any case, it won't change the standings of the teams at all.

Oh yeah, all photos today are stolen from You can see others from the first two days of racing here. Scroll down to the bottom to find them.