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For some reason, I love the blinding, whirlwind pain of a short track. It’s always been an event I get amped to race, even though it consists of a 3 minute or less loop, and you see who finishes on the lead loop first after the allotted time.

I used to do a lot of races in the pro XC circuit a few years back, and decided that things were getting pretentious so I decided to add my personal touch – the short track socks. Usually, they are knee high with funny designs on them, and if you were to search my blog archive, you’d find many different flavors of socks over the years… from pink glitter to clown socks, I’ve had fun.

Deep in the hurt locker

The Ergon booth….

I haven’t done any UCI or pro circuit races this year, so my call up was in the back row. The start of a short track is really important, and I’m usually pretty good at getting a good start…it’s the maintaining that has turned into the issue for me, especially since I rarely run the engine in anaerobic mode for my endurance races! Nonetheless, I did a couple of efforts over the last couple weeks as a reminder that “yes, it’s supposed to hurt that much!” I was excited for the cheap thrill of short track this past Saturday, and it didn’t let me down! The whistle went off, and I was fighting my way to the front through the bumpy grassy track, and managed to get through the rutty mud bog on lap 1 with no real issues. I suddenly found myself riding in 7th place on the first lap. “Holy crap, I can see the front.” I knew it would be fleeting, but I still kept fighting. I was able to ride in the top 10 or 12 for the first 10 minutes of the race. I looked at my watch at one point and it said we had been racing for 7 min 45 seconds, and I knew I wouldn’t be able to maintain much longer.

Jake Orness photos (copywrighted)
Photo by Jake Orness

Jake Orness photos (copywrighted)
SUFFER!!!!! Photo by Jake Orness

At the ten minute mark, I blew (which was expected). This race was more for training and fun than for results, and I honestly was surprised I held out for that long! I started going backwards in the field, and found myself stuck in the mud bog on my last three laps, resulting in a dismount (and cursing in my head)! I kept my head down and kept pushing and smiling. When all was said and done, I was pulled with 2 or 3 laps to go and stayed in for almost the whole race without getting lapped. Most of the field gets lapped in these things with only about 8 or 10 people left by the time it’s over. I think I finished up in the top 20, but the official results are not out yet so I am not sure where I was in the end.

Jake Orness photos (copywrighted)
Photo by Jake Orness

The fun of the short track is that it’s spectator friendly, and the SRAM tape that lined our course was lined with cheering people. Thanks so much to everyone, it’s a lot more fun when people are watching. A few years back, I did a couple nationals in California, and there was hardly anyone there watching which sapped the energy from the events.

Nina Baum and I post short track. Endorphin high!

Yuki also did the short track. We had the same idea one morning with our Twin Six quiver of awesome T-Shirts!

Next up, XC race report. Stay reloading…

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