A race on 9/11, a race on the old Bay Days course I competed on as a junior, a race on a downtown course with a festival occurring...it all adds up to some very good racing.
The Virginia Beach Wheelmen participated in the Cat 4 race with Zach Kyler taking 7th place, the Cat 1/2/3 race with Kevin Horvath competing and then the Cat 3 race with Kevin Horvath, John Gray, Mike Tamayo and myself.
I really wanted to win this race. It would have been a perfect set up for my first win. As a firefighter I wanted to race while showing a tribute to 9/ll. I have also been close this year with a 3rd place at Fort Lee and a 2nd place at Bryan Park Circuit Race. I asked my team to for the support. I am usually the leadout man but this time I was asking to be set up for the win.
Kevin was our first line of defense. He went with early attacks with the idea that if I didn't win, at least a Wheelmen would win. Next Mike and John took turns in making bridges and getting to the front to ensure a steady pace.
I kept an eye on who was attacking and definitely had a pick on who I was going to follow. About midway through the race there were numerous attacks from racers that I had marked. I went, bridged and chased a few of them down giving my teammates a chance to recover.
With 10 laps to go Mike told me to get on his wheel. He kept me in 3rd position. If an acceleration occurred that he couldn't fully cover, he would get me close to launch me. He then would recover and come right back up to me. A true teammate and friend. John at this time also helped cover some moves and make sure everything stayed together.
I was feeling good about the whole situation. We came up on the bell lap with Jeff Craddock setting the pace, Mike on his wheel and me on his. Out of the 3rd turn an acceleration was made. I was forced to go around Mike's wheel to cover it after he got me very close to it. As soon as it was covered, another attack occurred. I once again jumped on that wheel. Out of the 4th turn on the home stretch I stood up to sprint around the Carrytown racer. I was in too big of a gear.
The picture says it all. Lost in the sprint. My first win still has eluded me and it looks like it won't occur in 2010. It was close and I know I need to work on my sprinting speed and technique. With more work I know in 2011 I will have many 1st place finishes.
For now, though, I was happy with my 2nd place. I was thrilled with the team effort and I think the team was happy with the results. The ability to work together as a team toward the common goal, and sacrifice your own results for another's glory is what team racing is all about. I would rather share a 2nd place with my team then earn a win on my own.
By the way, great racing by everyone in that race. It was fast and steady with many attacks. I was pretty surprised it ended in a sprint.
The following day I raced the same course for the 30+ Virginia State Championship. It was raining and very slippery. There were crashes in every race of the day. After the 2nd lap when I nearly went down and many racers behind me did crash, I never felt comfortable. So about half way through I simply pulled out and decided to end the season safely.
All photo's taken by Pablo Custodio.