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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Moises DeGracia racing in England






I raced the 2009 Good Friday International race at Herne Hill Velodrome in London. I had competed last year and got slaughtered in the sprints, although last year I did a fairly decent Flying 200m time of 12.65 for a windy day on a 450m track. But got eliminated in the first heat of sprinting. The sprints at this event are chariots, I believe, in order to save time. This year there were more than 140 riders.

I trained hard and ate right during the winter months. I did weights, roller training, push ups pull ups, core, the works, but I was not able to go the the track or during the winter. On the other hand I had a pair of new wheels.

I got to the track early, was nervous as hell. I did my warm up on my regular wheels the day of the race. Went to inflate my racing wheels with my new track pump ....... it blew up on me. Always trust your old equipment, race day is no time to be trying new gear, I learned the hard way. I borrowed a pump from one of the guys on the British team, was not able to get full pressure, didn't want to ruin the borrowed pump which was maxing out.

When I tried to install the wheel on the bike I did not notice the cones were spinning as well so as i tightened up the wheel I also tightened the axle, barely got to the line for the flying 200m. To save time they only give you half a lap to build up your speed. I was riding 106 gear, same as last year. Wasn't able to wind it up enough, ended up doing 13.7s $#@%@#!% yup that's right.

When I got back a friend of mine noticed the disc wheel was not spinning while the bike was suspended, he helped me sort out the axle.

I kept warm, tried to relax, did the rollers for a couple of minutes. They called out my name for the sprints. Went to the line, got set, focus, bang there goes the gun. I was in the middle of the pack, caught up to the guys in front before turn 4, settled and then slammed on the gas just after turn 4. Things got messy between 3 and 4 a bit of elbows, somebody bumped my rear wheel, I kept on the gas and managed to keep the bike straight. Final stretch, we're bunched up, I can see the line....guys in front started pulling away... gave it all I had, managed to place 4th, and that was it...race got canceled for rain.

Looking back at that day I was too nervous to begin with, I should have trusted my training and relaxed all the drama in my head led to disaster. A mind is a powerful thing.

I did a race the following week. It was an omnium, I managed a 3rd place in a scratch race, there was a solo break away, I managed to come in second place from a field sprint, less than half a wheel. This time the wheels were properly inflated and rolling fine, they feel like night and day compared to my regular wheels.

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