Meanwhile back in VA…….

While the other three are venturing through rain, hail, cats, and dogs in their trek cross country, and enjoying the finer things in life like sleeping on gravel and the Country Music Hall of Fame I’m back here in Norfolk still on the grind with school, racing, and trying to decide whether or not to get a real job or an internship.

This weekend with half the team in Tennessee, and Wick playing golf, Dan N. and myself ventured to Petersburg, Va as the only reps for Celerity Cycling p/b Fitness Together for the Sprint into Spring Crit at Fort Lee. I will be honest and say that I had no idea what to expect for this day in racing. From the course to the weather it was all a mystery to me. The weather forcast called for a high of 76 with mostly cloudy skies, and a 30% chance of showers. Sweet right? So it ended up being sunny and 87 with no rain. I’m okay with that. I will also choose the hotter over colder any day. The course was a delightful surprise also. A four corner .7 mile track, with only one 90 degree turn, and a little “S” turn on the back stretch. The pavement was smooth for the majority of the course also.

Dan and I signed up for both the Cat 3/4 race and the Cat 4 race. The first was to be at 1:00pm and the latter at 4:30pm. We decided the day before that we were tired of procrastinating on race days and showing up with no time to warm up before races, so we left pretty early and showed up about 2 hours before our first race, just as the women’s Cat 4 race was getting under way. Talking with my buddy Joe Altamore we found out that the Cat 5 race had two crashes in it, and proof of one was on the pavement on the back stretch just out of the little “S” turn. Not what I like to hear the first 5 minutes of being at a course I’ve never raced. We also found out that the officials recorded the field of the Cat 5 race coming across to start the bell lap, vice the actual bell lap finish. Oh well, mistakes happen, & its all good. They’ll still get their mass start, and each cyclists knows how they did, which is what’s important. We get dressed and get the bikes ready, and Dan frowns in my direction. Come to find out he had brought to left handed gloves. There’s too many jokes that this set me up for so I just let it be.

We went out and got about thirty minutes of warm up in prior to the first race. We line up, the officials give their speech, and the whistle blows… we’re off. One difference we have found between the 3/4 races and the 4 races is that the 3/4 races seem to be all business while the 4 races, may not be too much slower, but more jovial in feeling. You have time to talk to other riders and think about tactics where the 3/4 races are just racing. Maybe its an experience thing from 4 to 3, I don’t know. The pace of the 3/4 race was fast; 27.1 mph avg fast. I am pretty sure that its the first race I’ve done to break the 27 mph avg barrier. I finished 26th and Dan in 9th from a field of 61. I was happy. I was trying to save myself for the 4 race.

We went back to the ERR Subaru, and sat in the AC for a bit, refueled, and talked about the race as well as what to do about the upcoming race. We went back out to warm up, and at the end of the warm up realized that the 3/4 race had taken more from our legs than we had thought. Once again we line up, and the whistle blows. Looking around you can see some fresh faces in the crowd. The one of note was Terry Turner, who with his insane lead in the VA Bar, has everyone’s eye. Dan clips in right when the whistle blows, and in excitement bolts off the line. Driving the pace immediately to 28 mph, and stretching the field out single file. All I can think is, “man, not another ridiculous pace.” He slows down and the field gets content. A few breaks go off the front, but are quickly reeled back in. With about 12 laps to go, I was on Dan’s wheel in the front. he was sitting one, and myself 2. He slows the pace down to about 20 or 21, and I look around; nobody is doing anything, so coming out of turn two I come out of the saddle, and cut to the other side of the course. Pedaling with everything I can muster for about 30 seconds. I sit down going into turn 4, and when I look back I have a decent gap. I’m about a 1/4 of a lap away, but unfortunatly I am by myself, and that 3/4 race took alot out of me. I stay out for two laps, and with nothing left come off and let them reel me back in, as they were gaining on me anyway, and I knew I couldn’t stay out for more laps solo. We race around for 7 more laps with nothing exciting. The bell lap gets a little sketch, and for some reason everyone got anxious with 5 Carytown guys on the front, including Terry Turner, and decided to step it up with half a lap to go. I passed the half mark doing 34-35 mph, and finished the race at that speed. All in all, not too bad. I finished that race in 15th and Dan got 21st, and of course…….. Terry Turner bags another one. Congrats to him and Carytown bikes on another win in the season.

Thanks to Fort Lee MWR for hosting the race, and the awesome course. Next week, we’ll venture to the Sleepy Hole Crit. See everyone there. Also support the other http://www.needtobike.com guys as they venture across the country to help support and raise awareness for Operation Smile.

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~ by shootthegap on May 17, 2010.

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