Last weekend was the first chance for me to wear my Kanagawa champion's skinsuit. I definitely felt some magic!
Another surprise on the day- I was asked to be the third man in the Kanagawa team sprint squad for the Yamaguchi All-Japan race! I've never done a team sprint before, so its a pretty exciting thing.
Team sprint, also known as Olympic sprint and sometimes Italian pursuit, is raced by two three-man teams (or two women for the women's version), starting from a standing start on opposing sides of the track, as in a pursuit race. On each lap, the lead rider pulls off until the final rider finishes his lap and the race. Here's what it looks like when the pro's do it:
After the day's racing on Sunday was finished (I managed to finish fourth in the sprint tourney) it was time to practice the team sprint. Without any preliminaries, we lined up and blasted off. I hadn't even met the second position man yet!
These kids were FAST, and for the first 200 meters I was wondering if this old man could hang in there! But coming into the final turns of the first lap I'd settled in and was floating it, and feeling pretty good. Cool!
Of course, that's when things went sideways. The lead rider waited a little long to pull off, I could see the second guy was a bit confused and had overlapped wheels with the first kid on the wrong (up-track) side. I knew enough to move slightly towards the inside of the track, and then the lead rider whipped it up-track, taking out the second rider's wheel instantly. I immediately dove for the apron and saved myself. I only heard the impact of the crash. Team sprint practice over. Big bummer.
When the first rider and I came around again, the second guy was still laying there, with a crowd of people tending to him. It looked bad, and he left in an ambulance. I still don't know the status of the rider, I just hope he's ok. I hope we get another chance to practice before the race-- we clearly need it!