This weather is crap! Woke up this morning feeling absolutely miserable and listening to the rain outside. Still 5 hours for the skies to clear before racing starts, but the news this morning is all doom and gloom about the weather.
The first day of Devonport was actually quite good. Since the carnival is split over two days, we only had one UCI race to do on top of the wheelraces. That UCI event would be the kierin. I was feeling pretty good about myself after yesterday and my goal was pretty clear: figure out my round and do nothing wrong. Once again it was 2 go through with a stacked field, so saying "I want to qualify" would be like hopping in my truck and saying "I want to drive a top 5 in a F1 race." So I started at the back and watched everything shake out. One of the Malaysians was trying to push Perkins off the track (despite perko being twice his size) and they were inspiring the rest of the field to get amongst it for the first few laps. I was rolling at the back with a small gap, watching everything shake out when I saw one of the Kiwi kilo riders swing just a bit too high off Azizul Awang's wheel and I fired off a good one and took the wheel from him. So here I am, 2 to go, motor pulls off, I'm on the wheel of the fastest guy in the race thinking "SWEET." One to go and I'm actually entertaining the thought of sticking to Awang and maybe me sneaking in for a second place. Then he jumps. It's not like I missed it, I could see him winding up for it. As he stood up and jumped, I stood up and jumped. And as I jumped I watched him accelerate away so fast it didn't even seem natural. My brain had a bit of trouble grasping how fast he was traveling. Either way, I made it to mid-field and he made it to 4 bike lengths off the front of the field in about as many pedal strokes.
Just before he jumped.
The lightning wheelrace went much better. Not much you can explain about such a short race. Just making it into the finals is an accomplishment in itself, as every heat starts with 25 and only the top 3 go through. The Devonport oval was being whipped by an offshore wind all day, so the homestraight was a stiff headwind. I went out hard, caught the front markers, hid from the wind and went with one of the kiwis in the last 100m to grab second in the heat and make it through to the final. Kelyn made it through his heat as well, so we were both in the big show off the same mark. Starting off 55 in a 1k handicap is a tough mark. You're pretty far from the frontmarkers, and at the same time, if the scratchmen catch, they'll have a full head of steam and you'll never have a chance. So the challenge is to keep it fast enough at the front to overtake the guys off 150 and keep the scratchmen behind you, at the same time saving enough for a sprint. Tough to do by yourself, so you have to split up the work. As the only one of us who's been on the track doing sprint work in the last 2 months, Kelyn was drafted to do the finish, while I would do the bitch work in the first 700m. We were off to a decent start, caught the frontmarkers reasonable quickly, I hit the front at full noise with 500m to go and pulled off at about 150. Somewhere in there Kelyn lost my wheel, but still managed to snake by for 3rd. Only 2 of the 5 scratchmen caught, and they would be the two in this picture:
So overall, the day went well. Made enough money to have a decent New Years Eve and raced smart. It took until the last day at Burnie last year for us both to make a final, so things are looking up.
2 years ago