A bit fat, definitely slow and weak, and warm-up hurt as much as the racing, but that's what the first race of the year is supposed to be like, right? It was the Novice Track Racing Cat 3/4/5 Presented by NorthCal Water, a low-key early season race intended primarily for beginners. And yes, by USA Cycling's definition I am a beginner. A Cat 5 to be exact, the lowliest of categories.
Yes indeed, I was riding at a fairly high level for an old guy in Japan, having won the equivalent of my elite state kilo championships two years running and coming 7th at the national level, among a few other nice results. That doesn't matter over here, apparently. Here you have to do mass-start endurance-type racing (scratch, points, etc.) if you want to upgrade. Having done all that my first year racing in Japan and having no interest in it now, it seems I'm doomed to forever being a Cat 5. No worries, I can still do most of the sprint racing I want to do as a 5, so while it's cramping my style a little, it's largely irrelevant.
The high-point of the day was my buddy Aaron's re-baptism by fire into track racing. [He's fourth wheel in the scratch race, above] Much the same situation I was in a couple of years ago, he's not new to racing, but it has been a while. Like me, he did the USCF road racing thing as a youngster, and now as an old codger finds himself shaving his legs and lining up once again.
He did all the races on the day-- a flying 200m TT, scratch race, standing 500m TT, and an unknown distance. Tired he most certainly was! I did just the 200 and 500, setting times that were encouraging but not amazing for an early season race, a 12.6 in the 200 and a 36.7 in the 500 which ended up being the top times of the day. Far from my best but not bad for the time of the year. Plus I'm still getting used to fatherhood. It's not easy to find the time to train! Ok, those are my excuses...
Aaron had a blast, he is hooked and will now be a regular down at Hellyer, I'm sure. Welcome, Aaron!
Here's my hot new MR Berkeley/White Oak team kit, yeah! It always feels great pinning on that first number of the year.