last man in Japan
Much of the Chicago contingent is back home shaking off the jet lag, but we've got one last live update: A couple days after the main event, there was one last competition: a quick set of events at the track. Al gives us the lowdown:
Keiokaku is a huge keirin track in Chofu. They have the National Gran Prix races there. Andy White had a 12.4 and had me nervous. I put a 50/14 on and got the pole. I pushed him up track to the rail, he slowed, I slowed, he got out and pushed me up track (which boxed me in), I got below him again in turn 3, as he did a fake-out into me and turned back up track, I jumped hard and held a gap for the next 1 1/4 laps to the line. Then I had to race a Japanese guy who was pretty quick and had also advanced. I did pretty much the same thing. I jumped out of turn 2 and held a decent gap to the line. Time for the big guy.
Farioletti and me in the finals. He got the pole. He showed some experience and pushed me up track and slowed it way down. I was nervous I would fall on the banking. It was maybe 38 degrees but rubber so it had good traction. I bumped him a little and picked up the pace high on the track. He went low. I jumped in turn 3. He jumped and we were riding shoulder to shoulder. I got on his wheel in turn 2. We were going fast. I tried to come around between 3 and 4 but he got me by about a wheel. No one else came close to him.
In the scratch, no one would let anything get away and plenty of people were willing to close the gap to me. I didn't have time to change my cog to a 15 so I was stuck in a big gear and couldn't jump away. The sprint was started by Farioletti, I was 3rd wheel. I came around the guy getting dropped but couldn't quite close the gap and took 2nd, Fergus Tanaka 3rd. In my keirin heat, I closed the gap to the moto way faster than everyone else. No one challenged my spot. I was waiting for it, but no one tried to take it. The moto actually JUMPED to 40 mph and I was able to stay with it and jumped when it pulled off and got a good gap. I held it until 50 meters from the line when Farioletti comes blazing by and I was fading. Boo. In the final, he took the pole, and no one challenged him. No one tried to box him in, which was probably their only chance. I woulda given it a shot. Only the 1st place guys advanced, and there was no second chance/reparge. I only lost to him as many times as the other keirin racers. They could have at least had a heat for all the second places to make the final.
They only had a prize for 1st in all the races which he took. I wish I could have at least gotten some recognition on stage as 2nd overall, or the first placed messenger. Nonetheless, I was given beers and congratulations all night long. The world messenger champion wearing rainbow stripes bought me a beer!
Time for LA.