The weekend began early for some who wished to get to camp before sunset, so the early van left at 2 with a later van leaving at 430. The early van got stuck in traffic through Austin, so they decided to stop and get an early dinner at a pizza place and wait out the traffic. Meanwhile, when the early van was paying for their meals, sure enough the late van (with Lee hanging out the passenger window screaming like a girl) passed the early van. 2.5 hrs down in GC already.
We continued the rest of the trip out there with only a slight hiccup along the way which included one of the van’s occupants stashing a stolen object from a gas station on another van. No worries, as this was returned unharmed on the return trip. We arrived to Camp Eagle all together; 6 hrs for the late van, 8.5 hrs for the early van. We set up camp, in an urban sprawl form taking up a seizable amount of space. Temperatures were cool, with a chance of rain all weekend.
I’m going to start this email with the end: the Aggies are the 2009 SCCCCCCCC Track Champions! We brought out 12 of the 19 racers on satursay, many of whom had never raced on a velodrome before. Weather was great (even for Houston), and it looked to be an awesome day.
Racing was kicked off with the team sprint–3 man teams, where we all start from a holding position. It’s a 3 lap sprint, where the leader pulls off each successive lap. Our team of myself, hagasita, asnd herc (we called ourselves 2 and a half men) won by 3 seconds at a time of 1:14. I don’t recall the finishes of the other teams (there were so many of us!).
In all honesty, I have been preparing for today (and tomorrow) since this time last year. All the training and daydreaming….focused on this race. I can only imagine how well school might go for me if I wasn’t a cyclist!
Through multiple Google-chats with Devin and others to plan my strategery, I settled on the simplest of all plans: be defensive yet aggressive, and make the selections. The course had changed this year so that the start would be more mellow than a mile-long 15% grade one mile into the race like last year. I was worried that a break would get away in the opening miles and ruin my chances, but I would have to take that gamble and hope that the brutality of the course would do the selecting. In the pre-ride yesterday I got some good practice for handling the descents at speed, since some of them were actually quite technical and had hay-bales on the outside of the turns. My legs felt great, the weather would be nice, and I knew the course…everything was coming together.
With our full A-team present for Conference Championships, I was anxious. The point totals were close enough that I could still defend my Conference Champion title with a good weekend. I never thought I’d see the day, but we decided that my best bet for a win was to bring the race to a pack sprint. MSU would never let me get away in a break, so this was a logical conclusion. The tough part, though, would be holding the race together for 70 miles to reach that sprint. Baker, Herc, Tom, and Matt would set the pace at the front to bring back any of MSU’s attacks, with me hanging out at the back to help when needed, sit on attacks with potential, and stay fresh. We were in for a rude awakening.