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Master's World Track Championship

10/21/2013, 12:15pm PDT
By Jim Turner

5th place in 2K Individual Pursuit

Race report: Master's World Track Championship - Men's age group 70-74
Location: Manchester England
Date: 10/6/2013 - 10/12/2013
Teammates: (USA guys) Leo Menestrina, Vic Copeland, Mike Williams
Results: Per race below
This was my first time to attend the Master's World Track Championship. Since I will be moving up next year to the 75-79 age group I wanted to have at least one participation under my belt so as not to be seeing the Manchester track for the first time when my expectation next year of getting some good results will be higher. From that point of view my participation this year was purely as a learning experience. Still, I had some hope of having some decent results even this year but that turned out not to be the case.
2K Individual Pursuit  - This was held on the first day of the competition and was, therefore, my first time ever to race on the Manchester track. I  never got in sync with the track or my bike. I just wasn't smooth, not holding the black line, hitting at least one of the sponges, not doing even pacing which I'm usually very good at. My time was 2:55.98 which was a small sea level PR time for me but well above my best time of 2:51.3. I expected to do much better than that. My placing was 5th of 7. 
Sprints - I'm by nature an endurance rider, not a sprinter, but I enjoy doing the sprints just for the fun of it. My qualifying flying 200 meter time was 15.2, again well above my PR time of 13.6 seconds. That placed me 10th of 13 entrants.
Naturally my low qualifying position matched me against a much faster qualifier, Mike Williams, the current master's USA sprint champion.  Mike beat me easily which dropped me into the repechage rounds. For me that was a 2-up race which I won. That turned out to be the only modest high point of my races at Manchester. My final 200-meter time on that round was 15.0, slightly faster than my flying 200-meter time, and got me into the quarter finals. The quarterfinals consisted of the 6 winners of the first round matches plus the  winners of the two repechage heats. At that point I didn't know whether I would be seeded 7th or 8th in the quarterfinals but knew that my next opponent would be either USA teammate Vic Copeland or my roommate Leo Menestrina.
I wandered by Vic and Leo and we had a funny conversation before the rounds. They both also knew that one of them would be racing me next so we were joking about who that should be. Do I get eaten by the tiger or the lion? Vic suggested that it might be better if he raced me because if I raced Leo and lost (a nearly certain outcome), Leo might wake up the next morning with a knife sticking out of his back!
Leo won our match easily. The four winners of the quarterfinals advanced to the semi-finals and finals to be held the next day. The four losers of the quarterfinals have the opportunity to do a 4-up race to determine final standings for positions 5 through 8 (called the "minor finals"). Only three of us showed up for that. I finished 2nd in that race, placing me 6th of 13 in the final standings. That turned out to be my only event where I finished in the top half of the field. It's also the first time that I've done 4 match sprints in one session and my legs felt it the next morning.
Scratch Race - The scratch race distance was 5K or 20 laps. There were about 18 starters so I was apprehensive how well I could handle myself in my first ever mass start race on a steep (45 degree banking) 250-meter wooden track. I got a poor start position at the back of the field, was able to move up to about mid field OK but somehow couldn't work myself into the pace line in the sprinters lane. That meant that I had no benefit of drafting another rider for several laps.
At one point the sprinter's lane opened up and I dropped down into it. With about 7 laps to go it seemed that another rider was coming down too close and threatening my position. In retrospect I should just have held my position there but I dropped even lower onto the blue band and then, for no good reason, clear onto the concrete apron. The apron has a slick very smooth painted surface. I was still carrying a fair amount of speed and leaning slightly, coming around turn 2. My wheels slipped out from under me and I crashed. Fortunately it was a minor fall. If I had had my wits about me I could have gotten back into the race (allowed if there are still at least 5 laps to go) but I didn't think of that. I had minor abrasions on my left knee, left hip and had ground a nice big hole into my skinsuit. DNF.
500-Meter Time Trial - This is my weakest event because my standing start is slow and a fast start is super critical to achieving a good 500-meter time. I thought that I started at least OK but, as in the individual pursuit, I just never felt comfortable and in full control of my bike. My time was 45.4 seconds, again well off my PR time of 43.6. That placed me 6th of 8 finishers but even achieving my PR time would only have moved me up to 5th.
Points Race - I had signed up for this event but my confidence was so low at this point that I decided not to do the race. DNS
The event at Manchester is just spectacular, taking place in what is probably the most famous velodrome in the world. It was a unique opportunity to race in this superbly well organized event.
Jim Turner.



Tag(s): Race Reports