The points race at Pacific Raceways definitely brings a different flavor to your typical bike race: starting on the second lap points are awarded for the top finisher of each lap - two points for first and one for second. At the end of the race the winner is determined by who has the most total points and not by who first crossed the finish line on the bell lap. If you can sprint a points race is a good place to be.
We had a points race at PR last night and even though it was a smaller than usual turn-out (probably due to the big black clouds hanging overhead) there was no shortage of strong fast guys willing to push it to the line.
I’m neither a strong nor an experienced sprinter, and figured that pushing hard in a points race would be a good way to improve my skills. Early on I was sprinting from way way way too far back. On several occasions I was in the front up until the final twenty meters when I would literally be engulfed by sprinting cyclists. Okay lesson learned.
On the preem lap I grabbed the wheel of a big guy who I had tagged as a strong finisher, I had high hopes of him taking me all the way to the line, but he gassed early. I had no choice but to go around; I almost had that one but was nipped at the line.
I got a little impatient at the sprinter’s habit of crushing it at the line and then rolling down the straightaway waiting for someone to come up front to do some work, so finally I decided to attack shortly after the finish. I was attacking into a headwind, but what the heck it was worth a shot. I took off and thankfully along came a young guy who seemed pretty dang strong. After a short conversation we decided to work together and damn did we ever get really far off the front. Thanks be to my teammates who did some messing around at the front of the peloton.
As we approached the finish line my accomplice asked if I wanted to take the point, I said “no you take it.” He rolled first over the line, looked back and saw that we were still out front and said “now let’s get you a point.” I knew that the two guys from BikeSport could catch us if we didn’t work hard as a pair, so I took off and we managed to stay ahead for a second lap.
After the second lap my partner sat up and rode no-handed, I think he figured that the pack was on our tail and he’d let them catch us. I looked back and saw a big, albeit shrinking, gap and said “hey man let’s make ‘em work for it.” We drilled it for a while but we were finally absorbed.
A lap or two later one of my teammates rode away at about a kilometer from the finish and managed to hold onto his lead for a lap win. I continued to sprint for finishes and held my own but didn’t manage anymore top two placements.
I’m glad that I made the long drive down to Pacific Raceways, I now know that even though I’m not a super sprinter at least I can get in there and make a race of it – if I use my brain as much as I use my legs.