July 17, 2006
pre race jitters
Monday night's Portland Short Track single speed race again started under sunny summer evening skies at 6:30. Unbeknownst to me, the course promotor mixes up the course each week so it had a totally different layout than what I expected. (Note to self: Get to venue early enough to preride at least one time...) This week's course consisted of more single track weaving in and out of a grove of trees and less on the moto cross course. I'm fine with the change, however I wished there were more places to pass in the trees as I was often bogged down by inexperienced riders slowly weaving between the tight trees. Most were good about letting you pass, however as you were waiting to do so you watched the race leaders increase their lead.
Coming around the corner onto the moto track
For whatever reason (most likely field size & logistics), the Single Speeders race at the same time as the sport women (vs the sport or expert men). Being that the bulk of the SS riders lapped most of the women's field 2x this resulted in repetitive problems in passing. You could basically win or lose the race based upon whether or not you got in front of a field of slower racers and your competitors did not.
Don't get me wrong, it was a fun night. I did 9 laps & placed 8th (one place better than last week), so at least I am consistent. I know now that my strategy has got to be to get out in front of the group at the start of the race vs. my current 'strategy' of starting slow, picking up speed and spending the race picking off slower riders during the course of the race. I'm one of those racers that take a few laps to get up to 'race speed', and unfortunately, with just 30 minutes of racing you need to be firing on all cylinders from the get go. All in all, I think that Short Track is going to be a great primer for cross this year.