Warm weather, broken spirits, and broken bikes

This past weekend a select few had the oppurtunity to enjoy the gorgeous weather, and awesome hospitality of Smithfield, Va for the Downtown Smithfield Hammerfest Criterium.  The course was a .6  mile three turn course.  the first two corners were sharp and narrow right handers leading around a long curved back stretch to a short, sharp downhill, into a short, steep uphill, into another sharp right hand turn and back to the start/finish.  Team Fitness Together had four cyclists in the Cat 4 race starting out; Dan Netzer (www.Celeritycycling.com), Justin Leopold, Mike Shipp (www.eastcoastbicycles.com), and myself.  The race started off as any other, a couple of cyclists tried to go off the front right from the start and were quickly pulled back in to the peleton.  About mid way through the race we realized that we were sitting 1, 2, 3 (Justin, Dan N., and myself).  Dan told Justin to go while Myself and Dan stayed at the front of the group trying to pace.  Justin got to about 8 seconds and then was also pulled back in.  With two laps to go it happend.  Making the slight turn into the downhill a Tripower guy cut from inside to outside after several warnings to not do just that; he clipped another Tripower wheel on the outside (I think his name is Chad).  Chad, who happened to be next to me, starts to get squirly on the downhill, and goes down.  Dan, pulling off what he claims to be one of the top ten ESPN plays of the week, avoids Chad, and manuevers around him to the right.  Good call Dan, unfortunately the cyclists to Dan’s right did not feel the same way and smacked into the back of him putting Dan on the ground.  Justin was also involved in the crash, snapping the chainstay on his Madone, and leaving Smithfield with four or five sets of tire marks on his body from being run over, and Mike Shipp snapping his wrist, and possibly calling his season early.  Two or three other riders were involved as well.  The field was stopped for 20 or 30 minutes.  Justin took his brother’s bike and helmet (Cat 5 Adam Leopold), and re-started along with Mike Shipp and Myself.  We did one neutral lap, which was just long enough to allow everyone to realize how tight their legs were, and then two final laps.  The end result was Myself in 8th, Justin in 10th, and Mike Shipp in 28th.  The winner was Francois Fablato of HPC/ CBC.  Congrats to him, and all the riders who stayed rubber down.  Let’s look forward to next week as some riders venture north to Tyson’s Corner, while others will stay local for the BAR race Langley Speedway Crit hosted by Fat Frogs.  Let’s hope for safe racing this weekend.  Also for you gluttons of punishment like most of Team Fitness Together there is the “Conquer the Canal” Time Trial on Saturday.  Should be a lot of fun, and hope everyone enjoys the beautiful weather this week. 

Over 3000 pics were taken of the race this weekend, and should be available on the Flickr link to the right of the screen.

On a related note Dan Netzer over at www.celeritycycling.com has posted his race report, along with some excellent recommendations for teams.  Go check it out.


~ by shootthegap on April 5, 2010.

4 Responses to “Warm weather, broken spirits, and broken bikes”

  1. Great write up. Being one of the other guys who went down, I have not idea why Tri-Power crossed over like that. I personally had “shouted” at him on several of the ascents on the previous laps. In retrospect, I should have figured he would go down and avoided being behind him on the final laps. I did not clip in of the riders but I did hit Tri-Power’s bike as it skidded in front of me to the curb.

    Physically I gained some extra road rash but with Tegaderm it will heal quickly. As far as bikes, well mine is trashed. Hopefully Calfee’s in California can repair the cracked seat stay, Zipp will do the wheel replacement and the rest I will pickup in the LBS.

    Hmmm… should we send the bill to Tri-Power?? I know, just kidding, but really was that move necessary and safe???

    See you at Tyson’s I might be sporting my crossbike.


    • It was a great write up, and unfortunate that several went down. I’m the guy dead last of the 30+ racers in the picture to the right, with the faux victory pose, as well as the Guy taking 2nd in the field sprint in the 1,2,3 race. I’m also the team Captain of Tripower, I can appreciate the fact that when people go down, we all want to know why, who did it, and pit the blame on someone, when in fact, we all have been in a bad place or made a bad move at one time or another. I didn’t see what happened, so I can’t speak for my teammate or why he made an abrupt move. The bottom line is: In Crit racing with 1 lane, 50 bikes & 4 very tight turns, things like this happen. Like the 8 or 9 other crashes in all the other categories, where no blogs were read berating another cyclist. Maybe he didn’t want to clip a pedal, and cause a crash and by doing so, caused one anyway. Maybe many different things could have been the cause off the move, but regardless, it wasn’t on purpose. That’s why it’s called an accident. Frying someone on a blog, is disrespectful, and usually hurts racing more then anything. People become better racers when we talk to each other, and let each other know (in a nice way) that we are being unsafe. Hope the race is safer at Langley, and hope there are no hard feelings about my boy, come race day. I’ll see you all there when I arrive for the 1,2,3 race. Good Luck, and take it easy.

  2. Thanks for the input Mike. I purposefully left out the gentleman’s name so as not to call him out personally. Chad was just an unfortunate victim like so many that day. I wasn’t trying to talk badly about Tripower either as they are a good team , and I have several friends on with you. No hard feelings will be held… promise. As you said we all make mistakes, and hopefully we learn from not only our own, but from others’ as well. I hope we have all learned something over the past three, or four, weeks as this sport is expensive and dangerous w/o the heightened risk. Good luck in your race, and see you out there.

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