Thursday, December 11, 2008

Thursday Anticipation

1) Nordic Cross

Just when it looked like the regulars at the F&H had gotten tired of waiting and were getting ready to strike out and start a late-night winter race series of their own, the editor comes through with a race calendar. That was close. Arctic Cross is averted for now. The editor has spoken and Nordic Cross survives. But it seems there are still some scheduling issues to be adressed. Be patient. I'm sure this will all get sorted out in the end. I don't believe we've yet had a schedule that played out exactly as originally envisioned. Down here in Amurrca they talk about this guy Al Gore who invented something called the interwebs. It's a big invention. Almost as big as the beer widget. If you haven't heard of it, it's really cool. It lets you do things like what they call email. You can write to each other and say things like "Hey Johnny S. Those shots of you percussing in the Paul Bergman video were so awesome. LOL. What are you thinking for the Tour of Altona this year?" I've even heard that those interwebs extend all the way out to far flung regions like Altona. From there you might write something like, "Dear Mr. Editor, The Tour of Altona will be on the same day as the second Duke vs. Carolina game. Just like it always is. This year that is March 8." Just click on the "send" button and you're done. Just like that. But be careful not to click that "send" button too hastily. Down here, they tell sensational stories involving all manner of sordid situations that have arisen on account of overly hasty clicking. I don't believe the interwebs has yet achived the promise of allowing us to read each others minds. But it does make it relatively easy to coordinate schedules even across vast distances. Try it. You might find it useful. If not the interwebs, the telephone has been known to work pretty nicely too. It was invented by Al Gore's uncle, Alexander Graham Bell. Communication. As the Secretary might say, it's a life skill. Just like rolling your own.

At any rate, notice that the season is scheduled to kick off on Dec. 15 with Harra-Curry. That is this coming Monday. I assume that means we will be graced with more details and a race poster shortly. Watch for it. For those of you who haven't had the pleasure to attend the past two editions, Harra-Curry is a classic. You get to eat good food. Lots of it. And then ride your bike. You wouldn't want to miss it. But watch out for that Juan Eppstein fellow. He's skinny but he can really eat. And he's cagey too. He may try some sneaky tactics like avoiding rice. Is curry without basmati really curry?

2) Gianni's Grass Track Glossary, Vol. II

Last week we talked about scratch races. So… what happens when you throw a bunch of sprints into a scratch race? You get a points race.

A points race is a mass start track cycling event involving large numbers of riders simultaneously on track. This race can be one of the more confusing races to watch for less familiar viewers. Put simply this is a race over a long distance, usually 120-160 laps (often 30km or more) for men in major events and will take something in the region of 40 minutes. A sprint is held every ten laps, with 5,3,2 and 1 points being awarded to the top 4 finishers in each sprint. The winner of the race is the one to have the most points at the end of the race. In addition to the sprints, any riders managing to lap the main field is awarded an extra 20 points. This is therefore a popular way of gaining the points required to win the race and leads to many such attempts to gain a lap during the race.

Different tactics can be employed to try and win the race. Some riders may sit back in the main bunch conserving energy, only attacking for the sprints to gain points. Other riders may attempt to gain the lap early on in the race and try and defend the advantage. The most common breakaways seen the points race are groups of 2-5 riders, sharing the work to enable them to gain a lap. Although it is a difficult feat to gain the lap on your own, it is not uncommon for the top riders to be able to do this in order to win the race.

Points racing is fast and tactical – a hard event in its own right, but also a great training tool.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

all this jibber jabbin' about communicaten' and notn' to communicate. bring it on little brothers, let's crack this old hog wide open.