the weltklasse

One day I'm actually going to have a good race on this track. It is one of the coolest stadiums I get to race in all year, with it's 70s style slatted wood overhand, hard rubber track surface, and crazy light things that they always hand out to the perpetually sold out crowd (and dancing cow mascot. I can't believe i almost forgot the dancing cow mascot… this year he stripped naked and took a dip in the steeplechase pool at the end of the meet). It is a great meet to be a part of. We are paid appearance fees, treated really well and they always do cool things. This year they held the men's pole vault competition a day early in the train station in Zurich. We stumbled across it accidentally and it was a really great atmosphere.

I did not race well today, however. I actually thought it was going to be a good one. I've been pushing surprisingly strong, and my ability to work on my own is better than it has ever been. Ever since I landed here, though, I have felt lethargic, and today i barely ate because my stomach hurt. Still, when I began warming up I felt fresh.

The race is completely weird. As you know it is a pursuit race. Men and women race each other and start at the same time, with the men needing to go 3000m before the women go 2600m. At that short a distance the men have to be going pretty hard the whole time and only catch the lead women in the final lap. I was cold on the start line. What was supposed to be a warm, clear day turned cool with a light rain by the evening. My short sleeves were no longer cutting it, especially as I was a bit wet (yes, I'm a pansy, bite me). As the gun went off i jumped in behind Marcel and Dave (poor story telling sidenote: the men's field was Marcel, Dave, Higuchi, Alhassane, and myself… a pretty fucking fast top three there), but struggled to settle in. My start was slower than i would have liked, and my muscles were very hesitant to work hard. I was also stupid. Being in third position i somehow figured that i would pull the third lap. To me “exhibition race + needing to go fast to catch the women = everyone pulling”. Yeah, I'm an idiot sometimes. Dave pulled out with Marcel, meaning I was taking the second lap after barely settling in on the first. I pulled hard, of course, because it's kinda what i do when I conclude they races are meaningless ahead of time (only to change my mind mid race… ALWAYS). After my lap, however, Marcel surged to the front leaving me five meters off the back.

Chest burning due to my shitty ass warmup, I chased my ass off for two laps, holding equal distance with Marcel until he slowed up to try and get someone else to come to the front. I came back on the pack when they slowed, but ended up behind Alhassane, the worst place to be. Marcel eased for half a lap before surging again, promptly dropping Alhassane and causing me to have to jump around him and chase again.

Fortunately, the bell lap came a lap after that, but i was still 20m off the back. I swooped around the first turn, picking up speed, only to have to swerve into lane 4 to avoid hitting Dave, laying on his side in the track after a minor crash. With Marcel and Higuchi too far ahead to possibly catch I was about to call it a night when I caught site of Manuela's shiny new helmet. She was the last of the women to be caught. With 200m to go she had 30m on me, but I had been giving her a hard time before the race and felt like I had to follow through with my words of trash. I threw in a final burst, passing Manuela inside 50m to go and stole 3rd and the 1000 francs that comes with it.

Thus ended my effort, chest burning, arms finally beginning to wake up, and Manuela scowling at me.

One day I will have a good race on this track :)