I've written a little about my 'preparation' below, but to expand a little - I really had only the bare minimum to ensure I could be safe. I didn't even change the gear I had on (which was ~92) in part because I didn't search to try to find any other rear cogs, but also because... well, I'd established that everything was mechanically okay, and didn't want to do anything to upset that going in to the race. And whatever gear I was on, I'd just be riding around anyway, essentially.
Flying 200, wouldn't say I went 100%, but gave it a pretty good effort. Got a little out of shape going in to turn 3 again, which saw me run a little wide out of turn 4. Ended up with a 14.308, which was marginally faster than I thought I might get, even given the running wide. I looked up all my previous F200 times at SSS, and found the following:
15.289 (tiny pretend bike)
14.308 (borrowed bike)
could probably just did cross-reference with blog posts to find out what gears I rode for as many of those as I have info for. Not entirely sure why I didn't record those three in 11/12 - was I worried about giving important information away? I am for laughing! Anyway, clearly I should always ride 102" when there's a northerly, and maybe 98" when there's a southerly. Either that or there's woefully insufficient data from which to draw any useful conclusions, one of the two.
Anyway, that time put me 3rd fastest in C-Grade, slated to ride against the two fastest qualifiers and one below me, so looked like a potentially tough day! As it happened the third heat was cancelled due to a spectacular but ultimately non serious-injury-causing crash in B-Grade which held up proceedings for quite some time.
My first race against a chap named Blake I lead out, and allowed him to get behind me. I wasn't too too concerned about that even if it wasn't ideal - I felt I could keep a fairly good eye on him. And I did, right up until just before the point where I knew he would jump. I hadn't wound up the speed quite enough though, and instead of jumping where I knew he would (and he did, without my even looking) I instead basically started pushing the pace higher (coming in to turn one of the last lap) and didn't jump hard. He got 5 metres or so and that's about how it stayed. Proof positive is in the power file - a peak of only 1127W and an average from jump to line of ~850W for the 15 seconds or so.
Second race was against a junior by name of Jonathan who'd qualified some 0.8s slower than me. I was leading again, and my plan for this was pretty simple - pace high enough (mid-high 30s, nothing extravagant) to nullify his jump without actually going long myself (because fitness) take a decent jump and just burn him off. And that's how it went - again I wasn't bothered letting him in behind me, kept the pace up and jumped through turn one again - but this time not having taken my eye off him until I accelerated. I more or less just held a gentle acceleration up the back straight and, knowing he wasn't with me, started easing up through turn three and basically coasted up the final straight. Peak of 1340W on the jump, and held ~900W for the 10-11 seconds of the actual effort.
Given my qualifying time that was enough to put me in to the 3v4 final, against a chap named William who'd qualified about a tenth slower than me. I was following this time, and went in with no very specific plan except to try to push the pace up if he didn't keep it there himself - preferably without taking the lead myself this time. It wasn't as fast as the last race, but I wasn't as concerned about his ability to jump away from me so I was comfortable as it was. I had quite a bit of height and space coming out of turn 4 and considered going there with a little over a lap to go, but didn't feel any particular desire to do so and, being right beside him, felt I had him sufficiently covered if he went at the line. He didn't though, and crossing the line with a lap to go pushed the pace more, staying high while he was a little below the blue, and we went at basically the same time in the middle of turn 1. He had about two lengths on me but I had much more speed, coming out from behind him approaching turn 3 and passing him by the start of turn 4, dropping in to the lane on the straight and winning comfortably (practising my throw anyway, at entirely the wrong spot!) Hit 1659W on that one and a top speed of ~54km/hr (based on cadence - garmin didn't want to pick up the speed sensor for some reason, and GPS speed is useless on a velo) and an average of ~980W for the 15 seconds. Which is, you'll agree, quite a significant difference to the first race!
So nothing grand, but 3rd place in C and some useful reminders of what racing is was handy. Mostly though it was just lots of fun, reminding me why I liked to do this in the first place. So roll on round 2!