Round 4 marked what is essentially the halfway point of the season. By now everyone’s gotten into their groove on track, moved up in a couple of positions in the championships they’re fighting for or even jumped classes but the work continues and that is no different for myself or my team. Weather called for 90 degrees and more ALL WEEKEND LONG. Staying hydrated was the name of the game and copious amounts of Pedialyte was consumed during the two days of racing, well one really but more on that later.
The tend for myself as of late was to chip away at my lap times, the goal was always the same: make it into the amateur class. With now a year’s worth of rounds under my belt, recall my broken collarbone at the classic last season that saw me out for three rounds, I was finally coming to grips with the task at hand. Before it was just go out there and try to go faster, there was never a real game plan. That changed when I changed my career and got one of the fastest guys around as my new boss. His tips, suggestions and talks with me did not go unnoticed. Everything that spilled out of his mouth was retained in my brain, on notes and in video montages that I go over and over.
I went out for my morning practice with my teammates in tow. Sacha REALLY surprised me with his pace and Dat of course always piling on the pressure even if it was practice. Word of advice here? Go ride as much as you can as more seat time is never a bad thing! With only two practices before the racing I had to put all my effort into going straight into race pace to try to chip away at the times. 24s the first practice. Not bad considering in practice I have achieved my personal best. 23.XXX the second practice. Was it a fluke? I pulled two in a row showing that I actually knew what I was doing. I patted myself on the back.
We pitted in our garage amped up on Pedialyte waiting for the racing to start but unfortunately not much was had at all. Red flags, ambulance rides even med flights was on the menu that Saturday. Bad crash after bad crash, one even sending our own Pedro to the hospital with what is diagnosed as a fractured humerus, his second in less than a year, saw racing halted after one lap of our race. It was understandable with the little to no ambulances on track, most taking injured riders to the hospital, and the impending thunderstorm for the ages approaching. OK it wasn’t that bad but it was bad enough to stop racing and send everything and everything into chaos. Canopies went flying, garbage containers flipped over and debris littered the pits and infield. It was something to behold. The track eventually lost power and everything basically came to a stand still.
Sunday was hectic to say the least with ALL THE REMAINING races and that day’s schedule to be raced. This meant four races for us that day, four races to cut that lap time down. Running on fumes from yesterday’s adrenaline rush I went out for the first of the four races gridded on the front row. Saving a long story and making it sweet and to the point all my races ended up the same: blast off the line, go into T1 in 2nd, sometimes leading, kept the pace to only get passed by one other rider and cross the line in third place. I went from one podium last season to a string of four 3rd places in one day.
Medals are cool and all but my concern was of course that lap time. After every race I would wait for Dat to check up on our times for each lap of each race. A grin found its way onto my face when he read my fastest time which was 1:23.341 during the second of the races. The confirmation of your hard work was the best reward for me that weekend. Everyone did good as always and everyone’s pace has gotten faster than the round prior. Pedro unfortunately is joining Chris on the sidelines for now with his injury. It was a race of attrition for us in the end but we manage to pull it home in some form of pieces.
I finally got the e-mail from Brenda of LRRS on Tuesday congratulating me on getting the bumped to AMATEUR class. This was my first goal when I started racing and it felt so good to achieve it no matter how small it seems. I will be ripping off the red numbers and placing the yellow plates on!