1. Alpenrose Velodrome Challenge track racing in Portland OR

    I have been racing on the track at Hellyer Velodrome since 2008. Since I started racing I have had a few race goals. I managed to knock two of them off my list this weekend. 

    The first goal was to race at Portland’s Alpenrose Velodrome. Whereas Hellyer is a big, open track with smooth corners and fast lines, Alpenrose is short, steep, bumpy and idiosyncratic. The banking is so steep it took me an hour of practice before I stopped worrying about falling off, but I got used to it quickly once racing started and came to love it by the end of the weekend.

    I achieved my second goal during the Masters 40+ Points race. The race was 60 laps of the 1/6 mile track and every 10 laps officials rang a bell for a sprint. The top 4 people across the line on the sprint lap won points, and at the end of the race the person with the most points was the winner.

    I started cautiously since this was my first race, but pretty quickly warmed up to the track and the competition. With 20 laps to go a couple guys rode away from the main field. I didn’t attack hard, but accelerated a little. I looked back and to my surprise no one had followed me and I had a 25m gap. I decided to go for it and hit the gas hard.

    The next time I looked around I had a half-lap on the rest of the field, and pretty quickly after that I had 3/4 of a lap, but then things got HARD. The pack started to speed up a bit and I spent several laps with the back of the group in sight, but unable to close the final gap. 

    I ran through some mental arithmetic- 16 laps to got meant a little under 8 minutes of racing. Could I hold on that long? I had to try! I had put too much work into the race to get caught.

    Luckily for me the group slowed down again and I was able to catch up. I had now lapped the field, which meant I gained 20 points and jumped immediately into the race lead! This was my second goal- I have tried to take a lap on the field SO many times, but I had always been caught before.

    I still wasn’t sure how much of a lead I had and with double points on the line for the final sprint I knew I had to make the top 4 across the line. A friend was in the race with me, so I asked him for help.  He agreed to give me a leadout and I came across the line in 4th place- good enough to seal the win!

    For the effort I won $60 and a great feeling that lasted all weekend. The extra plus was hearing the announcer talk all weekend about the out-of-town guy who showed up and caught the locals by surprise. Great weekend and great fun bike racing!

    Glory to the Mouse!

    Holy sh*t! My first ever race at Alpenrose and I took a lap and won the Master's Points Race. #bikeracingrocks