Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Happy Birthday Mom

Photo: John Peterson
Last night was the third installment of the Flatwater Twilight Series. After hearing Jay talking up how fun it was, myself and a large group from Omaha racers decided we had to give it go. With daylight becoming a greater and greater commodity it was awesome to be able to extend our Wednesday night CX sessions a little later into the season.

John, Sean and the Flatwater crew do an awesome job putting on a super pro mid-week event. This week they added two light stands to keep us racing and next week they'll add a few more. If you've never raced under the lights before you definitely need to come out for next weeks race.

The racing was to be hectic straight away. The tight twisty course at Van Dorn Park really only offers one racing line for about 80% of the course making passing extremely difficult. Throw in the fact that I was starting 2nd row behind last weeks top 8, I could only hope for good start. I knew Nate would take the holeshot and if I didn't get on his wheel quick he'd be gone, and knowing Nate, virtually impossible to bring back.

Sure enough, at the whistle, Nate took the holeshot, Troy, Jim and Jay all got away clean in front of me with Matt on my wheel. John Rokke had slipped a pedal slowing the entire left side of the grid which left Lucas and Paul in a bit of a predicament. Nate immediately opened up a gap on Jim and by the time Jay got around him the gap was even bigger. Pushing the pace to catch Nate, Jay fell in one of the long sweeping, very dry and slippery corners. The hesitation behind let Nate's gap open even bigger. Only 5 or 6 seconds but at Van Dorn Park that gab is an eternity to try and close.

Nate stomping it off the front
Photo: John Peterson
Matt and I chasing vigorously
Photo: John Peterson
Matt and I eventually got by Jim and went about closing the gap down. Any gain we could make in the open sections was immediately reversed in the corners and over the barriers. Nate was hoping the barriers which was worth at least 2 seconds a lap. I felt like Trebon trying to catch Powers, Nate's skill was overcoming my power.

To make matters tougher we were getting into lapped traffic and just as we were about to make contact with Nate, we got held up just a tiny bit and the gap was back to 5 seconds. After 4 laps of chasing hard, Matt pulled through on me and gave his best to pull back Nate. Even Matt started opening gaps on me through the corners, local knowledge I guess. Are you catching the theme here? I was having a really tough day keeping pace.

But, just as soon as Matt took up the chase he had to pull off with a rear flat. I'd heard him hit something behind me the previous lap and his tire was losing air quick. It was left up to me to pull back Nate. I surged even harder and by the end of lap 6 I finally made contact. A 30 minute balls out chase, I was so happy to just sit on Nate's wheel and follow for a while.

Making the catch
Photo: John Peterson
As my luck would have, a few laps later, Nate too would begin suffering from a slow leak in his rear tire. He was still able to ride hard on the straights but the tire was folding pretty badly on him in the corners. I gradually rode away from him and Four laps later I rolled through to take another Nebraska win for a race that I felt had been gifted to me by two really fast guys who suffered flat tires. It's hard to say if things would have played out the same way if it would have been a three up battle.

I felt like last night was a way harder fight than any of the USGPs so far this year. Which is awesome, because it will make Louisville seem easy in a couple weeks time. People are always asking me how I got so fast this season. Well, the level in Nebraska is pretty stinking high. Rarely are you the fastest guy on any given day, you're always chasing somebody who has slightly better legs (or skills), so you're always forced to ride that little bit harder.

I'm looking forward to more next week.

1 comment:

RadRenner said...

I would have to agree with your comment about the level of NE racing being pretty high. When our racers go elsewhere, they usually do pretty well.