Quiz Yourself on Women’s Cycling
Check out this awesome quiz by Amazon on a Bicycle to learn a little bit more about women’s cycling.
Race Report // My 1st Omnium at the Velo Sports Center // Friday Night Racing // Carson, CA // May 30th, 2014
My goals for this omnium included staying with the pack and being cautious. I signed up without any knowledge of the competition, but knew that most of the girls/women had done the three Friday Night Races before this final event of the series. I was the least experienced racer by far, having only trained (not raced) on this track maybe two or three times.
(My First) 3K Belgium Win and Out
This race was such a confusing mess for me. I thought that simply understanding how it worked in my mind was enough to secure some kind of placement within the actual race.
For those of you that don’t already know what a Belgium Win and Out is or for those of you that haven’t Googled it yet, here’s how it works. Once the race has begun and after a specified number of neutral laps are ridden (we rode 11), a bell is rung and the winner of the next lap (our 12th lap) wins 5th place and exits the track. A bell is rung again and whoever wins the next lap gets 4th, the winner of the next lap gets 3rd, and so on until 1st place is won.
My strategy, once again, involved staying with the pack. I wanted a better placement than 5th, so therefore planned to hang back until 5th, and maybe 4th had already been taken. I ended up not placing in the top 5 at all. Once the first bell had rung the race became a whirlwind and I ended up not having a clue as to where I even stood. My first mistake was not knowing how big the field was. I thought there were 6 racers, including me, but there were actually 8. I also hadn’t thought to count the laps ridden after the first bell. Instead I tried to find my ground and base my current position on whoever I was riding next to.
The race ended before I could get a hold on anything and as I slowed down to meet the boyfriend (shutuplegs) as he entered the apron for his race, I flat out exclaimed, "What happened???" I walked down the ramp sheepishly, awkwardly, hoping no one would notice how perplexed I felt.
8K Points Race
Since I felt so out of place (pun intended) from the last race, for the 32-lap points race I chose to feel it out. I just wanted to see if I could keep up with the other racers’ attacks and maintain the endurance to finish in the top 5 (as if it were just a scratch race).
However, in the event that I felt strong enough to attack, I quickly learned that riding second on the black line is a great way to get yourself boxed in. You’d think I would know this from all the racing I’ve done at the Encino velodrome, but I realized I’ve really only participated in shorter sprints, pursuits, and other individualized races over yonder. When you’re in this position, those riding on your right are apt to get really uncomfortably close to you. More than once I felt forced onto the apron, yet instead of moving I just yelled “Stay! Stay! Stay!” or “Stay?! Are you serious???”
Trying to hold such a position was certainly a lesson in closeness; when you’re forced to keep your cool riding less than an inch away from another track cyclist, when there’s absolutely nowhere to go except out, as the inevitable G-forces press your whole rookie existence into each turn. I thought about crit racing and how this experience might actually help me maintain more uncomfortable closeness on the road bike.
I felt much more accomplished in this race than the first. Although I hadn’t won any points, I was proud that I had kept up with the attacking group and had kept my cool.
5K Scratch Race
I was excited for the 20-lap scratch because these races are a little bit less about strategy and a lot more about endurance, conserving energy, and sprinting to the finish. Despite my high hopes, hilarity ensued as I crashed out most of the field by riding too slowly during the neutral lap.
I left the rail first and attempted to lead out, when halfway into the first turn I felt my rear wheel start to slide and my body begin to fall to the right. It was such a slow fall. When I first felt the slip I thought, "Oh, so this is what it feels like to ‘crash’."The following clanks and thuds were minimal, everyone was okay, and we were able to start our race again. Several people told me that it wasn’t my fault, which were kind enough words, however I knew if I had been riding a little faster my bike wouldn’t have slipped. Lesson learned.
During our second attempt at starting the scratch race, I spent a lot more time in the front, fearful of going much slower than whatever slow speed had caused the slide. During one of these laps I pulled up track, only to have the entire field attack. I was way above them at this point and watched them quickly form a pace-line. Luckily, I was high enough on the track to use its “down-hill” momentum to latch onto the back before they got away.
The last 3 laps were about gaining momentum and the last lap and a half was an exciting all-out sprint. I was able to stay with the lead group and finished 4th.
It was an awesome night of racing. I was so nervous but I am so grateful I participated. I’m grateful for the wonderful women/fellow racers who still wanted to talk to me after the crash (haha!), and especially for Ivy, a gregarious 13-year-old going on 20, who was one of the first to introduce herself. I really enjoyed being a part of this community and I’m looking forward to showing up more often.