I definitely need to be more prompt with my race updates. Good friend Wille got his up in a week. Mine is two weeks ago. Better late than never. Cliche.
A few months away from the track and as usual I was raring to go. This would probably be the first time I’m competing proper and there was quite a lot I had to take in. Just like back in the day where I traveled to rowing regattas alone. There’s so much to learn, experience and enjoy. Experience on various tracks is something I’m building up at the moment, so there were new things I had to take in while riding an outdoor track is. Ironically, I have definitely spent more time on timbre indoor tracks, enough to make me rather uncomfortable riding on outdoor ones. On top of that, it didn’t help that I realized my rear tyre had ripped open a little after practice, the day before racing commences. I asked around on how much a tyre would cost me. I decided on the hush hush, ‘just ride with it’ approach to prevent jinxing it. I’m glad I stayed upright.
My equipment remained modest with a trusty set of training clincher wheels. I didn’t have aero bars, so I took on the kilo with my drops. I finished 8th out of 10th, with a massive 4 secs away from 7th place. I haven’t quite gotten my crank arm position at the gate to where I am capable of getting a good start. Then there is gear selection. Initially I thought that I had it spot on. After that kilo performance, I started wondering and asking around whether one gears differently from an indoor track.
Next was my sprint qualifying flying 200m. I felt that I had gone through the process rather well. But my time was far from satisfying, with the slowest qualifying time. As I was about to pack up for the day, I was told that there would be 1/4 finals, after the last event on the program. Yes, this wasn’t on the program. It was dark by the time we got on for the sprint 1/4 finals. This would be my first time doing a match sprint. Another lesson learned: always ask how many laps. I assumed it was 3, which was also what I saw at the start line. A few thai sentences were exchanged and I found out on the second lap that THAT was the bell lap. You can imagine how that looked. Those who didn’t make semis had to race for placing. I finished overall in 5th place
I lined up for the Keirin the next day feeling rather relaxed, not as nervous as my past few attempts. At least I’m taking steps forward. I knew that when the motorbike pulled off, that I was either under-geared, or I just didn’t have enough horsepower. It was probably both. I didn’t make the finals and finished with 8th place.
It’s a good reflection of the training I have done, a gauge to where I am at the moment and what is the next step forward. Thanks Siripong for helping with the translation of the race proceedings and all the Thai riders for looking out for me. It’s always great racing in Thailand.
Photo courtesy of Siripong Injai