On Tuesday 6/9/09 I competed in the P/1/2/3 race at PIR. The race is held on the race track at Portland International Raceway which is a nicely paved 2 mile loop where you don't have to worry about traffic, pot holes or other issues on the road. The race is considered a circuit race and the winner is determined by points and not necessarily who crosses the finish line first. They award points on "Hot Spot" laps that are pre-determined before the race and the first 3 across the line get 3, 2, 1 points respectively. Usually there are 2 to 3 hot spot laps during a race to gain points, then during the final sprint they place a larger number of riders with the winner of the final sprint getting 15 points with reduced points for 2nd, 3rd, 4th, etc.
This Tuesday they decided to make us hurt by making every lap a hot spot lap...and we had 18 laps to race. This made the pace heat up every lap and kept the pace high the entire race. Last week my goal was just to hang on, get in a great VO2 max workout and not crash or crash anybody else out...Goal accomplished!
This week, I had similar goals, but wanted to position my self better for the final sprint and try and get some points for a placing. The pace started out fast and never let up. Around the 5th lap I found myself in front of the main group with two riders that had broken away in front of me. I really didn't want to pull the pack around and was trying to keep my wheels out of the wind, but nobody would go around me...so on I went. By the time I got to the long straight I had pulled the two that had broken away in and they were within catching distance so I figured what the heck and began pushing harder. Again, nobody came around me and I ended up catching one rider for 2nd place "Hot Spot" points on that lap. It was almost purely accident that I pulled in those points, but hey...I had points :)
A few laps later I found myself in a similar situation again, but I was about 5 riders back this time. As we came closer to the start/finish line other riders started to fade, so I kept pushing hard and again came across the line in 2nd place for more points.
At this time I was content to just finish the race and enjoy having points. So I moved back a ways and kept my nose out of the wind saving myself for the finish. With two laps to go the pace really started to pick up as riders started jockeying for position. I started moving myself up through the field and placed myself somewhere in the top 20 of the field. With one lap to go, the pace really picked up and I continued to move up placing myself in the top 10 riders or so.
As we came around the final corner, I spotted two riders taking an inside line and pulling hard so I jumped on their wheel and tried to use them as a lead out. They pulled hard down the stretch but started to fade with about 200 meters to go. Then I spotted a rider who had started his sprint to my left, so I jumped at that point giving it everything I had. Down the stretch it was your basic drag race...with me coming up short by 1/2 to a full bike length. However, I did finish the night 2nd overall with 15 total points on the night. It felt great to finish that high in a P/1/2/3 race.
During the first hot spot points I nabbed I actually set a new 1 minute PR power output of 651 watts...which is still low for me (I was at 712 watts at 52 seconds, but then crossed the line and shut it down) and I'm pretty sure I can sustain 700+ watts for 1 minute if pushed.
Overall it was a great night of racing.