Wow another winter has come and gone. It’s always sad when The summer track season ends, but mostly because summer is over, but the track season doesn’t actually end. I’ve now been racing RAW for 4 seasons. I made my debut in 2011. I was encouraged to race by my speed skating coach. She said I needed to get race smart and track was similar to the ice and more frequent. I ended up sitting in div 5 for way to long, mostly rolling around just to sprint the last lap. At the end of the series I moved up a grade to get third in div 4. 2012 was a hard year, no training, surgery, a series of skating injuries, and a higher division saw me just outside the top 10. At this point I was still speedskating with a bit of track on the side. 2013 was a break year from skating. The rink was getting renovated and I needed to be competitive in something so I got serious and bumped it up to div 3. After a new bike and proper track training (and the introduction of a coach and training program) 2014 I won div 3!
Through the years I have progressed up the grades, with each season, my track craft gets better. This year I had some massive goals with the Canadian Championships and a few UCI races. I decided I totally needed to get my ass kicked so I moved up to div 2. RAW track is unique, you get to choose your division. I recon I’m a solid div 3 enduro, and a weaker div 1 sprinter, so div 2 became the goldilocks of divisions. My goals were to use RAW as training. I would do the warm up scratch 8 laps, get to the front, smack the pace around, then pop off the back.
I would then take all sprint races seriously, smash it, and then head to the Bankstown sports Canteen for a sausage with not for wimps hot sauce to finish for the night.
It was good, the goals and the lack of pressure I put on myself helped control my race nerves, and actually put me in a good position for the final series points. Half way through the series, I was re-assesing my racing. I was well and truly struggling with the pace of the warm up, but I felt in control of the sprints. I wanted to be pushed, and position myself in a race where I was outclassed. I talked to Crafty, and he gave me permission to do two grades. I would warm up in div 2 and sprint div 1. Game on!
As much as I like talking about my self, below is a report on the whole season of RAW. This was the 10th? Edition of the series and it was a cracker of a season.
*I have plagiarized most of this report from Crafty and Josh (riding focus) I’m lazy but they are funnier than me
It is winter that can only mean one thing, Santa Claus is coming to town.
Week one of the race all winter (RAW) track series is at the Dunc Gray Velodrome in Bass Hill, Sydney. Home of the track cycling action at the 2000 Olympics, but I’d suggest the action over the next 13 weeks will exceed that of the Olympics, bold statement I know. But didn’t I say Santa Claus was coming! And some of the races at RAW are, interesting to say the least. Week 1, starts at 7:05 pm, well it was the scheduled start and it only took 0 (yes zero) minutes for the excitement to start, I’m not sure words can describe the sound that occurred, but it was nasty, my heart dropped and stopped, my guts cramped $^&(*@)$(^*(@$*%^)_ fire alarm. Not again (happened last year too) yes fire alarm that meant we had to proceed to the outside of the building and wait for the fire brigade to do their stuff, reset the alarm and assure themselves that it was a false alarm.
Week 2 – Win’N’Out’s : A big thank you to: Katarina Chung Orr, Selena Ho and Brad Boyd, for giving me so much enjoyment. All three did the: Go for the first sprint miss it, go for the second sprint, get rolled, go for the third sprint and get swamped!
Jacob Kauffman: Congratulations to the super strong NRS rider, Jacob Kauffman, who rock up at the track without the usual NRS ego. Promptly signed in on Novice and went onto the Boards for the first time ever with the sole ambition of learning. He showed great speed in the Novice grade and did all with a big smile. With permission from the commissar and event organiser he was aloud to participate in the Time Blaster (final race of the night). Jacob not only participated he looked like the strongest rider out there. Well done!
Week3 The tandem arrived! There was two additional inclusions into Div 1 that made heads turn. First off, Australian World Championships representatives on the Tandem, Nick Yallouris and Paul Kennedy. Also for the first time in 2 years Do you know who I am? “Jack Edwards” But possibly the highlight of the night was the RAW Crawl. Check out the video below to see the div 1 crawl.
Week 4 – One lap screamers! Nuff said
Week5 Teams night I was a little shit in div 2. Spent 9 laps on the front not goin’ all that fast. It was the best I ever did in a scratch. As always Teams night delivers. Such a great night were people associate with a different group of riders and Div 1 riders encourage Div 5 riders. Congratulations to Team Yellow and Orange who finished round four with equal points. Team Yellow were actually in third coming into the final point scoring race, but thanks to Cam Scott made it to equal first. In the final Super Italian The two teams were seriously neck and neck for the first five laps until Team Yellow surged ahead and then proceeded to dominate the final laps to be declared 2015 RAW team champions.
This was also the first round of the Bombtrack wheel race. This was for riders with 100% attendance but the least amount of points. It rewarded the regulars doing it tough.
Week 6 Jr worlds fund raiser. This year 3 NSW athletes have been chosen to got to Jr Worlds in Kazakhstan; Cameron Scott, Tori Saunders and Nicola McDonald. The key fundraiser for the night was the Masters + Jack Edwards V NSWIS (Jr worlds team) Team sprint. The result was nearly $2000 raised to support these athletes. Good work Team RAW Track
Week 7 the only major crash and wheel races for all! Booooo Fall tonight involving 6 riders. Both Tess Wallace and Craig Barnes have made a trip to Hospital. Both are ok.
Week 8 keirins! Bombtrack wheel race round 2 for riders who have who finished 4th (last) in week 5’s 4up sprint.
Week 9 Fat mans wheel race! Once again I just missed out on the cut. The top 10 bmi’s were in the race and Gary Mandy just piped me and I got 11th.
to truly understand the fatmans you have to watch this video
Week 10 It was poker week at RAW Track for week 10. The race where winning is important but the card you win is even more important. Feeling my last couple of weeks haven’t been up to standard, affects of the man flu I’d suggest, so excited for next week and getting back to it! Other than the poker 1.5 lap screamers always good fun to watch & photograph.
Great to see some visitors all the way from Wagga Wagga Cycling Club as well
Week 11 big Week 11 of racing at RAW Track a Wheel Race with prizes from Skin Grows Back a Madison Race and a race so fast, its called a slow race. Add a pigeon, some kid who just won some medals from the World Champs and it just seem logical to have a huge 360+ photo gallery plus the normal ‘summary’ in 5 minutes!
Week 12 – Kierins and the tandem mixing it up in the keirins too! Paul Kenedy also (unsuccessfully) tried to ride the time blaster on my pink track bike.
Week 13 Bombtrack final seeing my firs week of non attendance at raw and my rival Matty Jays taking home the bombtrack track bike! Congrats dude.
Week 14 Final The final week of RAW Track 2015…….
an exciting series of 14 weeks, with crashes, record attempts, amazing improvements, Olympic medallists, World champions, Red Bull, returning injured and so many other special things happened. Congrats to the winner Nick Edwards. And everyone else in all the other divisions.
Although this season saw me do not so much racing, the experience I got doing the races is did set me up for a successful National Championship in Canada. I am forever grateful for the races and the opportunity Crafty provides with RAW Track.
Huge thankyou to all the volenteers who help make RAW Track possible!
Up next is the Sydeny Christmas Carnival. If you are in town I highly recommend racing! It’s an excuse not to hang out with family but to hang with your cycling family over the holiday. And the beverages on NYE are a perfect way to kick off the night and head into the new year.
Below I have a selection of my favourite photos from the season. To see them all (there are several thousand) head to ridingfocus.co