Monday, June 23, 2008

Dan Spencer Memorial / Bloomsburg Town Park Crit

Dan Spencer was a friend of mine from Danville, PA who was tragically killed while riding his bike after being hit by an automobile in 1988. This bike race has been held in his memory ever since.

The small town of Bloomsburg, PA is set in rural, PA and is home to Bloomsburg University and the town neighbors my home town of Danville, PA. I first participated in the Dan Spencer Memorial Bike Race 2 years ago as a category 5 rider and this year, Terry and I entered this PA State Masters Championship race in the 30+ category on Saturday and we rode the category 3/4 criterium race on Sunday. The scenery and weather were both perfect to make this a great weekend for bike racing. To top it off, we stayed with my parents in Danville, who were the best hosts one could imagine. Jackson, the youngest member of the team LOL, went with us. We took him to Knoebles Grove (a local amusement park) and he won the kids race on Sunday.

Saturday was a 56 mile road race with HILLS. As we drove to the course just south of town, Terry commented that there simply couldn't be a race in this setting without some good hill climbs - he was right. There was a good hill that tested us on every lap of the 14 mile loop. I was able to just barely hold on to the group over every lap. 2 big guys and I ended up having to chase the group after every climb, which started to really take it out of me. By the final lap, I was cooked. My legs were cramped and I just managed to push the pedals enough to get over the final hill and across the finish line to finish not too far back, but way out of contention to place. The opportunity to place in this road race was fleeting after the first minute of the race as 3 riders attacked off the start and maintained a gap for the entire race.

Sunday was our race. Terry and I worked well together. He was in a break while I blocked. I was in a break while he blocked. I let us down though...I was in the winning break and got dropped with 7 laps to go. So although we failed due to my lack of time trialing ability, it was a fun race and we affected the outcome. The winning break was created by me and a rider from the Dutch Wheelmen. We were out front for 3 laps before 4 other riders bridged up and we had a solid group. I found myself working too hard so I was able to sit on the back of the group and recover and then reintegrate myself into the pace line. I should have rested more because after rotating through the pace line twice I found myself working too hard to stay on the wheel of the last rider. I looked back (don't do that when you're tired) saw the peloton and physically or mentally cracked (combination of both i guess). Also, I think that the 56 mile road race on Saturday may have taken some punch out of my legs for Sunday. I left the race with a very empty feeling of having raced with perfect tactics, but not able to "seal the deal". A good lesson for me.

I highly recommend these races hosted by the Dutch Wheelmen for next season for VA riders. Although it is a bit of a drive, the races are well run and you'll be able to try your legs against a different crowd. Next year, the race promoter plans to hold the race on Main Street in Bloomsburg.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

New York City Criterium Live in the shop

The message below was sent from Curtis (co-owner of Haymarket Bicycles)

To all:We will have our very own Haymarket Racing teams New York event live tomorrow (that's today now - Sunday 6/15) televised in the shop starting at 4:00pm. Please come and cheer our local BAMF's against the likes of some stiff competition (you may have heard of a guy named Tyler Hamilton) on a national stage. Beverages provided. Bring anything else you may desire. We will remain at the shop until the race ends.

...later in the day....

At 4pm, I went down to the shop and joined Curtis, Steevo, ?Dot?, Scott, and a few other lucky customers who ventured in and we watched Jared and Hayes on TV competing against the nations finest at the Harlem Criterium. We would watch the peloton shoot around the corners, catching glimpses of Jared and "Rat" Hayes on many occasions. At one point, we were excited to see Jared on the front. Tomorrow, Decanio, Steevo and Parks are headed for the Tour of OH, so that will be fun to keep up with by following Steevo's blog.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Rey's Ride Across America

This crazy sport of cycling has a cool way of bringing people together. Friends are made on the road. One such friend, who helped re-introduce me to the bike is Rey Roy. I tell you this because he has an interesting story that he is in the process of writing. You can follow it here.

Over the next several months, Rey will be riding his bike across the United States. If only for lack of planning on my part, I haven't selected a portion of the ride to ride with him. I still intend to do so, but we'll see what works out.

It's pretty cool that he's sponsoring 2 charities and has already raised over $10,000.