Monday, June 28, 2010

Smithfield HAMmer Fest 2-Man TTT: The Story From the Promoter

The 3rd and final road event that I am promoting this year is in the books.  The Smithfield HAMmer Fest 2-Man TTT is a fun non-BAR event held in Smithfield, VA during their Olden Days Festival.  Why do I call it a fun race?  There are many people who don't consider it a real race unless BAR points are awarded.  That somehow defines a training race and a real race.  When I came up with the idea of a 2-Man TTT, I wanted it to be non-limiting.  Meaning I didn't want you to have to pick someone from your team, your category or your age bracket.  Making the race a BAR race would require the BAR categories to be followed.  Also, the individuals wouldn't receive points, just the teams.  So we made it simple:  Men's Women's and Coed.

But there is even more than that.  This is a challenging 26.7 mile course (last year it was a 27.7 mile course).  Actually this seems like a good time to tell one of the side stories.

I got word via Facebook that three miles of the course had recently been milled for paving.  This was Monday before the race.  On Tuesday I got another Facebook message telling me the same thing but gave the exact detail of which road.  So Wednesday I went out and sure enough, there was a three mile section covered in sand and gravel.  So I had to divert the course around.  This actually only changed the course by 1-mile.  It was actually a big deal since we offer a sub-1 hour prize of $100.  Last year the fastest time was 1:00:35.  So 1-mile shorter was sure to be broken.

Back to the categories.  Along with competing in the three general categories, your team make up or equipment could put you into contention for other prizes: 
  • We had a 100+ prize that went to the top team whose combined age was 100 years or greater.
  • We had a family prize.  You could compete in this one if your teammate was related through birth or marriage.
  • We had a young rider prize that went to the fastest team whose combined age was 40 or less
  • We had a Merckx prize for those who wanted to compete on road bikes.
  • And we had the sub 1-hour and new course records.
Fun? yes.  Restricted? No.  Still a lot of money to compete for, plus there seemed to be a lot more side bets and smack talk than you would find at regular individual TTs.

So there was no question as to whether I was stressed on the numbers of racers we were going to have.  I know this is not a money making event.  It actually falls on a bad weekend.  The Working Man's Classic is during the week and Reston is on the next day.  So this is the easy race to miss.  We keep it on this weekend because it is part of Smithfield's Olden Days festival which is less then two blocks away from the start.

The Virginia Beach Wheelmen and volunteers from Vanderkitten and friends of ours got out to the course early.  Jenni got registration set and Mike, John and myself hit the course to mark, sweep and put up cones.  We were ready to go.  All marshals had their assignment and were off.

Issue #1:  Prior to the start we were advised there was a big dog on the course near the beginning.  We sent someone out to find it and try to get the owners to take care of it.  On Wednesday I had passed out notification to residents along the  27 mile course.  One thing on the notice was to secure your dogs.  I am thinking that as it got closer to 10am, these owners heeded my request.  We couldn't find the dog and no one saw anything more of it.

Issue #2:  A resident on one of the corners was quite upset.  The corner marshal called me a little scared maybe.  I went out and encountered a completely unreasonable resident.  He did not like cones in the street or the corner marshal in the street.  Basically, we were not disrupting his life in the slightest bit, but he was angry.  In his and he held the notification I had passed out.  He was waiting.  Had I not notified him of the race, he probably would never had known.  He even called the cops on us.  Which helped since we had their permission to be there.  Isle of Wight Sheriff Deputy took care of the problem and the racers never knew about it (until now).  This is not the attitude of the residents of Smithfield though.  Everyone else was excited and asked question and seemed to really enjoy the event.  There always has to be one to take the thrill out of the day.

Issue #3:  A team took a wrong turn.  Cones, arrows, and marshals were placed on all corners.  Some marshals rushed to their turns, others knew they had 30-40 minutes until riders would even reach them.  This course only had two small sections in which riders would be on the same road in opposite directions.  The right hand turn that put riders back on the road had cones set for the right hand turn.  Well coming from the other direction, it apparently looked like you should make a left hand turn there.  Even though there was an arrow pointing straight, the cones were the most obvious.  Because that was straight in one direction and a turn to get back on the road many miles later, the corner marshal was not set up properly yet.  He was not expecting someone to turn there.  He saw him turn but could not stop him.  Essentially that team road the back half of the course backwards.  We stopped them and told them to continue on but they were obviously DQed.  I felt bad and and marshal felt bad.  But like all TTs the course description is sent out to all racers and it is racer responsibility to know the course.  I'm not saying that I wouldn't have done the same.  I am sure that next year though, there will be all marshals at their corner when the first rider leaves.

Well the hour was broken and new course records were set for all categories.  The winning time was still just 59:15.  Tough course, great scenery and good times.

Thanks to all who came out.  I will post results soon.

Here are some more pictures taken by Kevin Horvath and can be found on his Facebook page.

This is a Coed team.  Ask Gene how a women's Chamios feels.

Thanks to a dedicated volunteer ensuring no one else goes the wrong way.

Monday, June 21, 2010

TNP Circuit Race and the PLT Time Trial, AKA: My Legs are Fried

A 1.4 mile loop, 9 turns and one small hill.  Pretty well described the brand new course that Team Nature's Path secured and did another excellent promoting job.  They did however forget to mention the hard racing, heat and distance would make this a very challenging day.  I think the Cat 3 race started with 24 racers, we ended with 14.  That could pretty much sum up the day.

The Virginia Beach Wheelmen lined up with 3 of us.  Me, John Gray and Kevin Horvath.  We once again missed the break which formed after some very serious chasing and a few counter moves, but we were the only team that had all of our guys finish (unless of course you count teams that started with one and ended with one). 

After the break got away and we gave an effort to chase it without success, the pack (I say pack but it was only 11 riders) started to attack each other, slow down and attack again.  So with nearly 5 miles to go I got on the front and just kept a nice steady pace.  The hope was to stop the attacks and let my other two teammates sit in and try to get the next top places.  At this time there were 3 away.  With 2 to go a move was made from within our pack.  No one responded.  I picked up the pace a little at the front with hopes of simply reeling him back in.  It actually didn't happen.  He made a good move and stuck it so now we were going for 5th place.  So I still stayed on the front until the attack on the downhill on the final lap.  I got back on the back, John and Kevin jumped on the move and ended up 6th and 7th overall, me 12th.

Not a bad day, again not what we hoped for, but it was good racing.

The next day John, Zach Kyler and I raced the PLT Time Trial.  I told Zach he had to beat me since he didn't race the day before.  To show you what a time trialist I am not, I changed my position on the bike, moved the seat forward, and changed aerobar positioning the night before.  I didn't even get on it until the race.

It ended up not being a bad move.  I didn't get a great time, but I did feel pretty comfortable and realized I think I could get a good time in that position with some training.

I didn't stay for the results but according to my computer I got a 55:27.  Zach told me he got a 55:30.  I don't know if that was official time or not, so we are still waiting to see who beat who.

Good weekend, great conditions (if you like the heat), just got to love this bike racing stuff.

Juniors Update:

My juniors raced this weekend as well.  Carter went to PA and raced in his first Cat 5 race.  He must of looked tiny among all the adults.  He also did a 50 mile race on a tandem with his uncle.  They placed 7th out of 70.  It was great training for him and he never once complained or asked to stop.

Dane raced both the TNP race and the PLT TT.  He enjoyed the hill and realized his fast out of the saddle get ups allowed him to separate from his competition.  Although he hates TTs, he agreed to race the PLT and might even had a good time, but he won't admit it.

Good job!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Vander Kitten Crit. Pics and Race Report


Once again I was at the races early for the 8:30 am start of the Juniors.  As a coach I have a vested interest in making sure these kids are well prepared and most importantly safe and having fun.  In the 10-14 age group I was there in support of Carter Baker of the Virginia Beach Wheelmen and Dane Craddock of Fat Frogs Racing.  This was Dane's first race in clipless pedals and I was very pleased to see a fast clip in and great control of his bike throughout the race.  Him and Carter both did very well drafting and using the other racers.  They stayed with the group they were directed to for most of the race.  Both racers had marked improvement and it will only get better.

In the 15-18 group I was there in support of Zach Kyler.  Zach just joined the Virginia Beach Wheelmen.  Actually I just brought him his jersey that morning but he was already pinned in his Seigler gear so he raced the Junior race in that.  Also I am Zach's Strength Coach so would support him regardless of what team he rode for.   Like every Junior race he was competing against 2 kids from Richmond that could sprint.  Zach has the ability to attack and break away, he just doesn't know it yet.  So when it came down to the finish he found himself leading out the two sprinters and finishing 3rd.  Great riding by him and his confidence will come around quickly.

Cat 4:

Since I didn't race till 2 and I was there at 8, I got a chance to sit in the shade and watch all the races.  The Cat 4 race had teammates Chris Larkin and Zach Kyler racing.  This is to be Chris's final race in Virginia because he is moving on Friday.  He will be missed.  He told me at the beginning that he was going for a break away.  This would also be a good chance for Zach to actually race with team tactics.  Well breakaways did not work but Chris did sweep the primes I believe (one was close and I didn't see the final result).  One of the primes saw him in a potentially successful break with Jerry Hadley and Dan Nestzer.  Zach even moved up quickly to control the pace of the pack.  Unfortunately it did not work.  Chris ended up sprinting for 5th place and Zach held in for 12th.  Good racing by both of them.

Cat 1/2/3:

John Gray and myself raced the Cat 1/2/3 race.  We had one goal and that was to get into a break.  Well we both got into breaks, just not the winning one.  I started the race in a small two man break which always kills me to go that hard at the beginning.  There are times those breaks from the gun work so you have to try if one goes.  After we got caught I sat in for a little while and John worked and attacked to try and get away.  At some point a group of 3 got away.  I don't remember when it happened, I think it was a break from the break that occurred and before anyone knew they were gone it was too late.  We missed it but so did everyone else.  Even teammates of one of the guys ahead were asking if there were riders up the road.  I went for two primes and won one of them, the weekend and BJ's guest house (my wife was very excited about that).  The second one I got passed on the line but then found myself in a three man break with two Nature's Path riders.  At this point there were only a a few laps left and when we got caught there were only 3 to go.  I didn't have position in the pack in the last couple of laps but John found a good wheel anyway and ended up finishing 5th place.  I finished 11th.  Not bad.  We didn't accomplish our goal but we did have a good race.

I was told after the race that it looked like the heat was getting to me.  I actually felt okay.  I knew I was hot after being there all day but I was okay.  After seeing some of these pictures than I understood, I looked terrible.  Maybe it was just a ploy.

Picture credit goes to BJ Samuel.  Thank you once again for not only taking the pictures but also be part of a good team that promoted an excellent race.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

This Weekend's Racing: Amphib Assualt and Brooks System Langley Speedway

It was the first hot weekend of double racing in the VCA this year.  I was pretty excited about it.  For some reason, racing on Saturday and Sunday, both crits, is harder on my legs than just racing twice on one day.

The day for me started on Saturday morning when I got to Little Creek to support Carter Baker, the 10 year old racer I am coaching.  He lined up with the 10-14 and 15-18 year olds for 40 minute race in the heat at 11:40am.  Wow, this would be tough.  He did well.  The heat got to him and so did the distance.  But not once did he even think it would be okay for him to drop out.  He rode hard and always seemed to be trying to catch the riders ahead of him.  We could tell by his look as he passed us on the side that he was thinking "why, why am out here".

Good job Carter.  He rehydrated, went out later with his mom for a recovery spin and was ready to race the next morning at 8:30 am.

Also part of the VBW family was Chris Larkin who raced the Master's race 40+ early.  This was a tough day and a tough race, especially since he was isolated with no other teammates.  He looked strong and rode well.  I don't know his final results.  He later tried the Cat 4 race in which the early race and the heat was just a little too much.  He ended up pulling out to start his recovery for the next day's event.  Chris will be moving in just over a week so we are really going to miss him.  Thanks for being part of our team Chris, you will be missed.

I  raced the Cat 3 race along with Mike Tamayo, John Gray and Kevin Horvath.  We had the second largest team in the race behind TNP.  Unfortunately the tactics still did not go our way.  We anticipated a split in the field and worked hard to stay in the top 5 places or so.  A break of two got away that we didn't react to, then another two bridged the gap, still without us.  We finally got Kevin away in another break of 3 riders.  Kevin ended up getting 6th and I took the best of the rest with the field sprint and John finished 2 behind me.  Mike ended up 16th.  Not a bad day but we should have been better.

The next morning I was at Langley to support Carter once again.  He did really well and felt a lot more comfortable drafting and pacing off the other riders.  He ended up with a 3rd place medal.  Good job.  Also he made a good friend.  Dane Craddock and him were still on their bikes hours later racing each other in the infield.  Great to see that level of fun and competitiveness at that age.

Chris Larkin once again raced the Cat 4 race and played a smart race.  With three riders dangling off the front with one to go, Chris started the sprint while crossing the line for the bell lap.  They nearly caught the group and Chris maintained 2nd in the field sprint for a top 5 finish.  Great job.

The Cat 3 race had me, John, Kevin and Mike once again line up.  We all road aggressively but once again missed the winning break of 4.  We chased for a while but once lapped we played the game to try and salvage top places.  We ended up 7, 9 and 10.  Three in the top ten, not bad, but we could do better.

Thanks to all the promoters and volunteers for this weekends events.  Great racing, hot days, no shade and August tan lines in June...I love it.  Next weekend:

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

2010 Smithfield HAMmer Fest 2-Man TTT


Virginia Beach Wheelmen
Virginia Beach VanderKittens

June 26, 2010
Held under USA Cycling Permit, Pending

DESCRIPTION: A challenging time trial course starting just 2 blocks 
outside of historic Downtown Smithfield during their annual Olden 
Days Festival.  The course travels over country roads through rolling terrain.  
Course is open to traffic.


There will be NO restrictions regarding team make-up. USCF categories 
and teams may mix to form a 2-man team.

Directions: The start will be near the YMCA at 259 James St, Smithfield, VA. 
Use Google Maps or GPS the address. Parking will be available along 
James St near the Riverview Community Park. Please don’t park in the 
YMCA parking lot. They have, however, agreed to let you use their facilities. 
The start of the race will be just a couple of blocks from the Smithfield Olden 
Days Festival.  Arrive early to ensure you can park near the course but feel 
free to stay for the festival. Race held rain or shine.

Entry fee includes a $3.00 USAC Insurance fee.  All entrants must have a current USCF 
license or must purchase a One-day license at registration.  Riders under 18 require a
parent’s signature to race.  All USAC rules apply. Pre-registration is available on 
BikeReg.  Additional fees will apply.  Helmets are required for all races; no sleeveless

Questions? Joshua Goyet:     (757) 515-5940

2-Man TTT Men’s
27.7 miles
2-Man TTT Women’s
27.7 miles
2-Man TTT Coed
27.7 miles
Family Competition ($100): This prize will go to the top team that is comprised of family members. Father/son, siblings, husband/wife, etc…
Masters 100+($100): This prize will go to the top team whose riders have a combined age of 100 or more.
Young Team Competition ($100): This prize will go to the fastest team whose combined age is 40 or less.
Sub 1 hour ($100): This prize will go to the fastest team to break the one-hour barrier. Only one prize will be given. If more than one team breaks the hour then the prize goes to the fastest team. If no team breaks the hour the prize it is not given out. Last years fastest time was 1:00:35.
Merckx ($100):  This prize is given to the fastest team using standard road equipment.  No aero helmets, no aero bars, no disc wheels.  Mass start legal equipment only (both members of the team).
Course Records:  Break the course records and along with the winnings get your entry fee back as well.  Men’s 1:00.35, Women’s 1:30.31, CoEd 1:07.09
*All prizes given are a mix of cash and merchandise total minimum value is listed.