It's a while past, and you may have already heard, but the final day of nationals was a bit of a disappointment. Hanz, Franz, and DGC rode a good team sprint, but came up with 6th, one spot out of the medals (This is familiar; Ferris, Richter, and I finished in 6th in this event two years ago). They had done considerably faster before, so I think they were a bit down about this one. Regardless, they had a solid ride.
Ferris and DGC also raced the kierin, and put in a pretty decent showing. Ferris set the new nationals fashion trend by wearing not only padded Japanese kierin shorts, but a full set of BMX chest, shoulder and arm pads. Keep an eye out for this one to crop up all over the National Track Racing Calendar next year. Neither qualified through their first rounds, and they both ended up in the same rep. You had to win to advance, but they both came up short. Oh well, they rode well, and both stayed upright.
My luck on the day didn't improve from the rest of the week. In fact, it got considerably worse. I pumped up my rear wheel before warming up, only to find that it had gone flat. Fortunately, DGC was willing to let me ride his disc in the madison, which was conveniently at the end of the session. On to that... I started in the race. My partner, Steen, was beginning on relief. I made the first few laps, and didn't see him. At first I thought he had just hesitated in leaving the rail, so that he could position himself in an open part of the track. But I still didn't see him. So I started to think I had missed him. By now we were about 6 laps into the race, and I was getting confused. About 8 laps in, I saw him walking along the apron, his bike being carried by someone else. So he crashed. Maybe he would get back in... I kept riding. By 12 laps into the race, it was clear he wasn't coming back. I dropped out. We didn't even get in a single exchange. Lame.
I walked down the stairs to the infield, and encountered a half-frantic Ferris, carrying Steen's jersey, with the other set of madison numbers still pinned to it. Apparently he had seen Steen crash, and when he realized Steen wasn't able to keep riding, ran up, told him to give him the jersey, and implored the officials to let Chris race with me. They would have none of it though. Bummer, but a nice try on Chris's part. It would have been awesome to get to race, at least in some capacity. It turns out some other relief rider, riding too slowly through turn 4, slid out, and hit Steen and Mike Friedman on the way down. Steen got the worst of the deal, landing on the first guy's handlebars, and getting some deep-tissue bruising on his hip and back. He's out for the season.
Now I've had some pretty raw luck all season. It definitely didn't go unnoticed, though. Earlier in the week, Scott from Fixed Gear Fever had told me to make sure to stick around after the madison awards, that he had some special award for me. I was a bit nervous about just what this would entail, but hung around regardless. It turns out I was awarded the jersey for the "Unluckiest Rider" on the National Track Racing Calendar. No kidding, they actually made up a special jersey, and presented it to me along with the other--and in most cases, more legitimate-- awards.
What's really amazing is that I managed to garner the award prior to the madison failure at Nationals. So I guess it's only fitting that my luck, bad as it may be, continue unabated through my last American race of the season.