Overall it was a really fun year, and I felt like I was racing at the level I am capable of. Since it has been a while since I've updated here is a quick rundown since July 15th:
Sterling turned 21, we drank lots, and I offended the new girl that works at STScI with Alex.
I turned 32 shortly thereafter. It was a gala affair and the girls at work made me some goodies. Sadly The festivities were cut short as I came down with the Swine Flu (yes, really... I was diagnosed). The university deemed that I would get a 7 day "vacation" as a present, and I went batshit crazy after a few days of solitary.
I nursed myself back to health, and started racing again just in time to see my teammate Nate really come into form. Fresh off the podium (2nd place) at Junior Natz, he nabbed 2nd at our regional championship road race.
From there it was on to Millersburg for a two day three stage race (ITT, Crit and RR). Nate was a rockstar and ended up winning the RR and was 2nd on GC. I felt pretty snappy, and managed to win the bunch sprint behind Nate and his breakaway companions for 4th on the stage. The team races so well at this race. We were in every move and animated the hell out of the race. This is becoming my new favorite event. The racing is great, and our host family (Duane and Juandeen) are the best. They took such good care of us the past two years, and I can't wait to go back.
With the season winding down our team numbers started to dwindle but I was able to hook up with a few teammates for a few races. My last weekend of racing would be a Twilight crit in Wiles-Barre, PA, then PA RR championship, and a crit in Basking Ridge, NJ.
Wilkes-Barre Twilight: C-Dubs and I were the only guys from the Amateur team, Shane and Clay were there representing the pro squad. We started in Twilight, ended in pitch black. Bryan Vaughan had his helmet cam on, so check it out. If you've never raced a crit this will give you an idea of what is going on. If you have raced a crit forward to the last 10-15 mins and you'll get an idea of how dark it was. I felt pretty crap, so I decided it was not the night do get in a break. I gambled on Hunting for primes and the hope that it would be a bunch sprint. I kinda pushed on that one as i nabbed a $50 crowd prime, but the winning move of 7 went away shortly thereafter. The sprint was hairy with a big stack that ate curtis on the last lap, but I kept it upright and finished 16th. Not a great result, but ending up in the $$ seems to make it seem like a successful race.
PA RR Championship: Todd, Blair and I lined up for 91 miles of rolling terrain on a pretty fun course. No huge hills, but enough up and down to thin it out. The boys were active early. A group of two got away, countering either Balir's or Todd's move. They got a gap quickly, Two more slipped away and then I jumped across. After a little solo effort, I grouped up with the two chasers and we caught the leaders in short order. From there it was a long day of paceline work. Our gap was sitting at 1-2 mins for most of the day. Apparently the big guns were happy to give us some leash, but we never ballooned out. We got caught with ~15 miles to go. I felt good at first, but the pace dropped and my legs shut down. With ~2 miles to go there was an attack up a small climb, and I just popped. Todd battled it out and was just inside the top 10.
Basking Ridge crit: Blair and I were the only representatives of our squad. Todd needed to spend some QT with the wife. This was my first time racing in my "home" state of NJ. The course was hard, with a few long false flat drags and a blazing downhill finish. Blair took an early exit when some dude stacked in front of him. I was active and had a good gap with one other guy in the middle of the race, but we needed another rider or two to make it stick. I was hoping for a bridge, and he seemed to be interested in not working too hard so we got caught. I countered as soon as we were caught, but no one else came along and it was a short lived move. A group of 4 got away and stuck it. I was 5th in the bunch for 9th on the day. Got some bills for my hard work, which was a bonus as the race was pretty fun.
I ran into an old friend, Jeff Lenosky, who is still killing it on the trials bike. He was doing Demos a the race and we shot the shit a bit after my race. The cycling community is so tiny, it is always a blast to show up to an event and see some people you've been out of touch with for a few years.
With that I've decided to hang up the wheels for another year. Next year is going to be interesting as I'm looking for a Job as a professor, and I might have to take a step back from racing for a little while.