velodrome track race - kissena queens new york

Friday, July 25, 2008

Field Sprint at Rockleigh

Finally won a field sprint at the Rockleigh criterium

Course description: 45 minute flat technical course, 6 turns. A big sewer grate on the first turn and a jolting stretch of pot-holes between turns 4-5.

Finished: 4th out of about 25 riders.

The Race: There were a few teams with a strong presence, westwood-velo, GS Park Ridge, and a new team aptly named retro-velo, plus a decent sprinter from WS United whom I know from racing and riding in the city.

Two preems were offered. I was in contention for both but I didn't get either one. On a breakaway with one other (westwood) rider when they rang the bell for the second preem. We were both tired but had 250 yards lead on the field the last time I looked back. I wasn't worried, and was amazed when two sprinters blasted by to take the preem at the line. I think this effort turned into an incidental boon for me. The other sprinters had lit and burned their biggest match, but I had a bit of energy left at the finish.

The Sprint: I wasn't feeling so great, and I wanted the sprint to be as short as possible. Just before the final turn, I was on the wheel of a guy who went early. He slowed down and I didn't come around since it was too soon. The field caught up. Coming up to the finishing stretch I stayed at the front. I didn't want to be at the front... but that's where I was, moderating the pace. I looked around to see who would jump. With 335 yards a retro-velo guy accelerates hard. He's on my left with 2-3 team mates on his wheel. I think to myself, we are too far from the line but I have no choice. I have to stay on the front and cut my losses now. I accelerate ahead of him and hold them off. With 100 yards to go to the finish line, I can feel other racers breathing down my neck. This adds the extra motivation/fear I need, and I take mental note there is nobody ahead of me. I'm on the front and I don't have to worry about anything but finishing! I put my head down and jam as hard as I can, shifting 1-2 more times, elbows out, ass on the saddle, low and aero, giving everything I have. I am surprised nobody has come around me yet but fear there is still a small chance, as the course is fairly wide. I throw my bike and win by a bike length. On a slightly uphill finish into the wind top speed was 35.5 mph.

I didn't raise my hands or do a silly victory dance. It would have been ridiculous since 3 other riders from a breakaway group finished ahead, leaving me the spoils of fourth place. My friend Mattio also raced. He got 6th overall, 3rd in the field sprint, and this was his first criterium race.

The entire ride from my apartment to the race and back was 70 miles.

Photos from the finish line camera are available.

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