Monday, August 16, 2010

Top Notch Racing--The Chesapeake Weekend

Over the past month I have missed some really top-notch racing.  I couldn't make it to the Blacksburg Weekend for two reasons:
  1. Lack of money.  Just couldn't afford the weekend.  It sucks but is definitely a legitimate reason that most of us have faced.
  2. Lack of skill on hill climbing.  Training this year was definitely focused on crit racing.  That will change for next year but I will leave that for another blog.
Then I missed the Page Valley Weekend.  Now even if my excuses for the Blacksburg Weekend had changed, I had a brand new excuse for missing this weekend:
  1. Couldn't get off of work.  Actually I ended up having to work extra.  I was going on a trip with the family the next week and needed to do a trade in order to get off work for that.  So I work 24 hours Friday, 12 hours on Saturday and 24 hours on Sunday.  No time for training or racing.
So two high level, high caliber racing weekends and I was no where to be seen.  So I was hungry for this weekend in Chesapeake.  Due of the amount of money offered in the Chesapeake Crit on Saturday, the P123 field was staked.  With no Cat 3 only field, I chose to race the P123 instead of the 30+ race.  For the Virginia Beach Wheelmen (VBW), Kevin Horvath, John Gray, Jon Nisbet and myself raced in the Pro/1/2/3 race.

Photo by Dan Gibson: From left to right, John Gray, Jon Nisbet and Joshua Goyet

Like I said, I was hungry for racing and the last race I did, Bryan Park, I got 2nd place in the 3/4 race.  So I had some confidence and I believed I belonged in this field.  However, I was also aware of my strengths and weaknesses.  I was not going to try and work too hard for at least the first 20 minutes.  I have done that before and killed myself for the rest of the race.  I figured I would stay attentive and maybe look at a good positioning for the sprint or a well placed break.

 Photo by BJ Samuel:  Hard Racing in a very fast Pro/1/2/3 field.

Here is the summary of the race:  Less than half way into race there was a crash in the final turn heading into the final stretch.  A number of riders went down and a split occurred in the field.  I personally was behind the crash (real close, the rider in front of me went down) but I had no problem getting back into the group.  My teammate John Gray buried himself to make sure we didn't get separated.   That was actually going to do him in, so I really appreciate his effort.  During the crash four riders got away.  It is unclear to me if they attacked before the crash or after, but they made their move and took advantage of a disorganized field.  The four riders were probably some of the best in the race.  They got a gap and at one point was over 30 seconds.  I thought for sure they would end up lapping us.  I knew we were going fast but I didn't think we were steady enough to catch them.  I even gave an effort at the front to chase them down but ended up forming a gap at the front.  I guess some riders were content to sprint for 5th place.

As the race continued, we kept closing the gap, but it was not to be.  They ended sprinting for 1st through 4th and we went for 5th place.  I was in great position with 3 to go but lost it in the bell lap.  I tried to regain but couldn't get up to where I needed to be.  I came across in 25th position and Kevin Horvath led the team in 14th place.  Jon Nisbet and John Gray gave sacrificing efforts for the team.

The next day I raced in the PLT TT.  I have neglected my TT bike this year so I have not really cared that much about my TT performance.  Next year will be different, but that is for another post.  I warmed up well and decided to simply go out smart and race hard after that.  Simple right?  The wind was to my favor, in that there was a head wind out.  So my building my speed up and not going out too hard would be into the headwind.  Once I made it to the first turn (at mile 6) my average speed was 23.9 mph.  My goal will be to do a TT with average speed of 25+ mph, but I have not been close to that lately.  During the first PLT this year I think I ended the race with a speed of 23.8 mph.  So I was actually pretty happy with this speed so far.  I was able to pick it up for most of the rest of the race.  A few headwind sections hurt me a little but otherwise I felt pretty good.  I just wanted to do the 23 miles (actually think it is a little less than that) in under 55 minutes.  I came across the line in 54:58 (according to my clock), but I wasn't able to stay around to verify the time because I had to get to a cornhole tournament (maybe another post).  My average speed was 24.2 mph when I crossed the line.

Good weekend, good racing.  Really looking forward to September 10 and 11th weekend in Hampton.

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