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.
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.
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.