I was close to sleeping in the train on my way to Alkmaar. My throat was soar, my head was aching every now and then and I felt like going to bed most of the time. Not the best condition to enter a race. But I really wanted to race. In front of me stood a fast machine that needed testing. Besides that, I like racing. Luckily, I wasn't to only one who felt the same. 22 other riders wanted to give it a go on the 250 metre velodrome.
So, after the usual unpacking, testing and warm up, I started with a 1km time trial. Now you must know that I had zero track experience with a dual 28" bike. So I was glad that I could practice a bit during the warm up. The world sure looks different from the Gaucho's point of view. It becomes easy when you go past the 40kph barrier. Slower is possible, but doesn't feel pleasant on the banked corners.
The 1km. A good start followed by 3 steady laps of just over 50kph. Lap number 4 went a little slower. My time was 1:17:3, nothing special. I qualified for the runners-up race.
The great thing about a criterium is that you can draft, or slipstream, whatever you call it. For me however, there wasn't much to hide behind. I could feel some difference with a bike in front of me, but it kept feeling awfully windy around my head. But I could keep up with our group of four. And I also was fast enough to lead the pack. How? Most likely a combination of a good 'bent and a trained engine. As long as I didn't push to hard, heart rate 174 or so, I felt fine. And so we kept riding around for 43 minutes.
That was the moment I thought: let's see what's possible. I left my 3th position and fiercely accelerated from 44 to 54kph. I cleverly used the height of the banking as a gravity boost. For 5 more laps, my speed was above 50. The last 2 laps where difficult and I finished coughing, but in 1st position. Five seconds behind me in 2nd position was Emmy, followed by the tandem and Gerold on his Baron.
And yes, I made it without a headache! I spent the rest of the afternoon hanging around, talking about this and that, taking some photos and eating. I got a ride home with the van Dijken family, thanks! That saved me from the utter chaos you often find on the train station of Amersfoort on Sunday evening.
I won the little race, the Gaucho with a 21 or so degree seat angle is fast, I didn't get ill, and had another fine afternoon at the races.
How fast is it? I'd say very close to my Fuego on the track, and faster on the open road. The big wheels and high position really pay of in every day life. But choosing a bike is personal. I'll keep riding my Fuego because it's just more exciting and fun. And I can't buy everything I like.