European road racers in the early 1900s would race each other to the next town over from them and that they were allowed to cut through farmer's fields, over fences or take any other shortcuts in order to make it to the next town first. This was sometimes called steeple chase as the only visible landmark in the next town was often the steeple.
Today it's any local park and a compact track that is technical and provides rider challenges like barriers that must be jumped ether on foot (most common) or on a bike (most difficult). If you can Bunny Hop them you gain a lot of time and maybe crowd cheers, blow it and you eat dirt, possibly get hurt, get pity from the crowd and lose a great deal of time while others hurtle you along with the barrier.
These pictures should be sharper but the long distance and the low sun had it's way with the all-weather camera I use. Its good when conditions are wet, cold, or muddy but it's no substitute for large glass and long focal length cameras.
The start had 53 riders I think. I had butterflies for the large launch. Crashes are just too common.
Blake and I get off the line about 1/2 back. We role out fast and get pinched out at the first corner. To avoid crossing wheels with Blake at the first, 180 degree, corner, I lean into the yellow tape, make room and recover. Things stretch out on the sprint that follows.
I have a strong race and overtake riders every 30 seconds or so.
I know how to empty the tank on a 30 minute race. Race and attack, Pass everyone you can. They always try and hold on but you open the throttle more and blow by with authority. They shut it down and you never see them again.
Maybe lap 5 of 9. I'm balanced, can't go faster without blowing up before the end. I'm still taking riders after the corners. My bike handling is stronger then most from mtb races so I gain ground on technical skill and power on the flats.
Lean the bike, make the tire work for you. I did not see a lot of this.
Blake is center right in Blue and Orange bike.
Lap 8 of 9. I'm riding harder then I should so I don't lose ground.
This is about half of the track. I think it's about .8 miles long with a lot off 180 degree turns.
Just after I overtake 3 after a corner.
Track racing strategy, Hug the tap and make the laps as short as you can. Every few inches adds feet.
Digging deep. You can hold a lot of riders by going deeper then they are willing too. Sure you're gassed but it's easy to hold ground then to take it. So dig and you'll catch those resting , empty the tank and blow by them hard and they will wilt in your shadow. Recover for 30 seconds and attack the next rider.
Blake is stalking a rider to overtake.
Last lap. Full gas. #49 is just behind me. We sprint it out on the last 500 feet. #49 holds me off by a wheel length. I was 100% attack and I could not overtake. The crowd loved it. We crossed the line doing 25.
Empty Tanks. I have to lean on the bike so I don't fall down.
Recovery. It's 95 degrees out and I just did 30 minutes of hard sprints and corners.
It takes 10 minute before I can see straight.
I didn't hang out for a finishing place but I did good. Maybe 15th. We'll see. I passed a lot of people so I feel good about that and I didn't spare the gas. I had a good race and earned my place, whatever it is.