Okay, we're already in May but instead of gradually getting warmer, temperature decides to regress to March. Our first RSO track race this season was held in balmy 7C with a nasty wind chill. I love Canada. Full results of the race available here.
The 1500m TT was painful as usual and I skated an unspectacular 3:09.31. My plan for the 500m sprint was simple. Explode off the line and try to hold onto the lead until end of race. I know that JB would be my competitor and the truth is with only two corners, I don't have enough confidence to get around him. So drafting to save energy was out of the question. Unfortunately, I did not hold my line aggressively enough and gave it away as we entered the last corner. Oh well, live and learn. Here is a picture of us off the start line:
Notice all the winter layers I piled on? Well well, if you take a closer look at my hands, you would notice that I was racing with mittens. Not just any old aerodynamic mittens (is there even such a thing?!). Here is a better photo taken during the 10k:
Bwahaahaa, I was racing in my monkey mittens!! Too bad the matching hat would not fit over my helmet.
The truth is, I was not keen to race. I made the decision to focus on marathon racing this season and thus have not put much resource into track skating in 2009. A couple of nights before the race, coach SZ and I agreed to treat this race as training and I would try a few things in the 10k. In order to save time, we put everyone on the track at the same time for the 10k. Needless to say, there is a significant gap in abilities. I was positioned in the outer lane of the second row, behind MW and TS. The start signal went off and in one surreal moment, I found myself in the front third of the pack as we entered the first corner. How did that happen?! I chose not to stake my place in the pack and skated wide until I tucked behind GN, with JB a few feet behind me. As expected I got gapped in the second corner. Argh, I even let JB get ahead of me and gapped me.
Luckily, the race was long and there was little incentive for him to skate it solo. He eased up a little and I hammered to catch up. Once we grouped up, I set my race plan in motion. Every time he finished his pull, I hammered. I opened up a gap every time but I could not really hold that gap so we grouped up again. I anticipated that since JB is stronger than me. However, my game was to see who would break down first. I kept attacking him until with 8 laps to go, I made a successful breakaway at last. I held onto my 1/6 lap lead until the "end" of the race. I actually skated one fewer lap than required because of miscounting. No big deal, I did exactly what I came here to do.