“One more time, just one more time” is what I was thinking. I had just finished sprint number two and there was only one more to go and the last race of the night (a 15 lap points race) would be over. One of the Half Acre riders was right on my wheel and then I caught the other shadow out of the corner of my eye. “Crap..” Jason Fergurson countered my sprint and was off for a 5 lap tear until the last sprint and there was no one to chase him down.
This is how the last race of my track upgrade campaign was shaking out. All I needed to do was win this omnium and I would have enough points to submit. I had finished second in each race before this one so if I didn’t finish first in this race then I wouldn’t win the omnium. I got knocked out of the first sprint which means I had 0 points on the board until I won the second sprint. But I HAD to win the last sprint as there was no chance anyone could top 10 points; that is unless Fergurson took it.
Anyone who races track will tell you that it is a hard discipline. The races are sometimes confusing and each night either favors the endurance riders or the sprinters. Me? Yeah, I’m a self proclaimed sprinter and I had to come to terms with the fact that I would have to be better at the endurance races (like the points race) if I was ever going to move up. Throw in the mix that upgrade points are awarded based on how well you do in all 3 races (the omnium) each night and you can see that a track upgrade can take forever. I’ve been a Cat 4 on the track for the last 5 years. Last year I was seriously on the upgrade hunt, but after a broken wrist and a pack of hungry competitors, my upgrade hopes faltered during the late season.
Fergurson had about a 100M gap and I had the Half Acre rider in front of me. He was doing his best to keep pace but it wasn’t enough to make up any time. Sure, I could come around him now and risk blowing up, but I figured there might be someone behind me who would get itchy and close it down for me. No sooner than I thought that, one of the recently upgraded Cat 4s pulled in front and started to go to work.
The one thing about 2013 is that I had been consistent from just about day one. I revisited my training log and rode the same base mile schedule I rode in 2011 when I got my road upgrade. Every race I just tried to be in the top 3, usually winding up 2nd and occasionally sneaking out a W. I worked hard on my endurance and even made sure I did the FCTT course every other week just so I could keep my threshold efforts fresh. But would it all work? Would I be strong enough? Did I have enough in the tank to finally get this done?
The bell rang. One lap to go. I’m sitting 2nd wheel and this kid is motoring to get Jason. Fergurson has about 50M on us and I know if I wait too long, I’ll never get him. Out of turn 2 I start to hear the Half Acre rider start his wind up. “You’ve got to go now or it’s over” is all I thought. I come around my leadout and put all I have into it. Once clear I swing back into the sprinters lane hoping that I can catch any tiny vapors of Jason’s draft to help me cut the distance. Turn 3 and I’m passing him on the outside. Turn 4 and I’ve cleared him. Back into the sprinters lane and I pray that I don’t get caught.
Today at 10:44AM my phone alerts me to a new email. “Dear, Jared Rogers, The following request to change your Road category has been approved and processed.”
I just smile and nod my head.
Thanks to everyone at the track who cheered me on, worked for me in a race or just wished me luck before I rode. Part of this belongs to you.