So last night, my journey back from my knee injury and subsequent surgery came to a close. Tuesday was the first day of racing at PIR, and PV came out in force for the Cat 3 / 4 race. Ty, Jeff, Flemming, Feig, Mitch Lee, B-Rat, Mitch Gold, Johnny, Kromonster and myself all lined up with 67 other racers to kick off the PIR season.
There were a few well represented groups out in the field tonight along with PV. Ironclad, Team O, and Three Rivers all had some significant numbers. Made for a painful night if you were flying solo as the average speed of the race was 26.5mph.
The race was a short one, being early season and still fighting for daylight. 10 Laps with a pair of hotspots. My legs felt poor during warm up, so I let Ty know I'd wait for the finish if necessary. The plan was to have Mitch attack early, and he did right from the gun drawing a mix of jeers and cheers from the field. Once it was brought back it was pretty steady racing for most of the night.
Few attacks got away free, and PV made sure to be represented in all of them. As with most early season races there were some tactical snafu's and learning experiences to be had.
When it came down to the last lap, the pack was still together and teams were starting to get organized for the field sprint. Ironclad and PV were controlling the front keeping the tempo high. I pack surfed a bit and latched on my lead out man Brian with 2k to go. The two of us hung to the left side of the field coming through the last corner and shot up the middle of the road on the final straight away. The field went right and were bunched up against the infield wall making it hard to move around.
Brian showed some impressive power as he launched the two of us away from the field to the 200m mark, dropping me off to take the win by a good gap. His lead out was so stellar that he hung on for second place after sounding like he was going to blow a lung in the final 200m.
I picked up my first win of the season, my first ever win in a 3/4 field, and my first win post surgery. It made for a good night at the Burrito Shack afterwards with the crew. I may not have had the best legs last night, but I had the best teammates.
A big thank you to Dr. Rask of Hillsboro Orthopedic, Dave McHenry of TAI, and Russell Cree of Upper Echelon for getting me back on the road.
-Side note and a bit of a soapbox. A pair of crashes during the sprints made for some dicey moments last night. One early on when some wheels got overlapped during a prime, which unfortunately happens. But another in the final sprint which sounded like it was mid pack? Sprinting for 20th is reckless. Attacking from mid pack probably won't do you any good. Take the opportunity to ride in safely with your fellow racers at the end of a nice evening. I do hope those involved in the wrecks heal up quickly!