2019.12.31 – A Year in Review

This year started out with what is becoming a tradition of Roller Racers at Brands Cycle and Fitness in Wantagh, New York. Having crashed out the year before, I went in with more caution, and therefore I did not race well. However, I think that helped me gain confidence on those old wooden rollers so when racing again in the new year, the hope is that I have a better evening.

In April I got the season started with several Prospect Park Road races, racing for a new team, the Kissena Cycling Club. I missed the first race of the season because they changed the Men Category four field to a Men Category three and four. This caused the race to fill up faster then usual, and thus taking many of us by surprise.

I raced several Lucarelli & Castaldi series and several Castelli series races. Since it was early in the season, I was just trying to get my legs going, and finished mostly mid pack, including one DNF due to a mechanical.

Unfortunately, I got side tracked with a house project I wanted to complete before heading out to Italy. I was able to get started with the Track Racing before going but my vacation to Italy came up quickly. I always love riding the Tuscan hills in Italy. Being able to keep a bike and some of my cycling clothing there helps tremendously.

Back from Italy, I finally got my track season going with the Twilight Series and the Weekend Vie 13 series. The Twilight series was plagued by many rain cancelations. After getting half way through the weekend events, I found myself leading the Men Category 4 field in the overall standings. Keen on winning the series jersey for that category, I stuck it out and raced all the remaining races.

The weekend series came down to the last day, where if I finished ahead of John Hale, I would win the overall. I think I had one of my best races that day. I clinically raced to win the overall and not the day’s Omnium. In the end, I had put myself in good position to win by the second race that in the third race I had some fun.

I was also able to get out to T-Town in Pensilvania twice to race in the Masters & Rookies series. I was scheduling to get out there a few more times at the end of August, but my mother broke her foot and I am her caretaker. So for almost three months as she was healing up I had to do everything for her and the house. I had to cancel some of the racing at far away locations in order to help her out, thus my other races at T-Town had to get scrapped.

I also got to participate in the New York State Track sprint championships. I was not able to attend the endurance ones due to a wedding I attended. I did not do as well as I had hoped for, finishing fifth in the Masters category.

With track coming to a close mid September, I turned my eye towards cyclocross. Unfortunately, I ended up with a mix season. I had my best race on the second one of my season at Lucky Charm, NJ. I raced twice that day, in the Men Cat 4 early in the day, and a few hours later in the Men 4/5 40+. I got a 14th and 9th place finish in those races. I raced a bit aggressively, or better said, with authority.

I was hoping to have a few killer races in November only to be put down by a car while training. This ended my racing season earlier then anticipated. Fortunately, in the grand scheme of things, the damage to my body was minimal, I just needed about three weeks off the bike to recover.

During the cyclocross season I met Anthony Ott a teammate who lives in Manhattan. We ended up carpooling to many of the races together. Carpooling with friends or teammates makes the journey that much more fun and enjoyable, even when having a bad race day.

Another adventure I have started was to become a USA Cycling official. Word was circulating around in the new year that the New York area was having a deficit of officials. Together with Jen Morral, we went out to take the officiating course in February. I got my first officiating gig as an apprentice at the early New York City Criterium, Grant’s Tomb. It was a long tiring day but I learned a lot.

Due to a busy race schedule I only got to apprentice officiate at two track races. In September, Alan Atwood asked me to officiate at the Merrick Criterium. This also proved to be a good experience as the races were on the small side and I would learn a lot with less pressure.

Following the road season, I apprenticed at Supercross Cup. I never did a writeup for that event since I was extremely exhausted from volunteering on day one and officiating and then volunteering on day two. But I learned a lot on how to score Cyclocross, using Jeff Poulin’s Dot-Slash method which I imparted to Dan Rogers and Michelle Papa.

Closing out the season, I helped Greg Durovich build the Long Island Cyclocross Races and then officiate the events. These are small grass roots races which are a good place for anyone to get a low pressure introduction to some bike racing.

This completed a mixed season of racing and officiating. I am hoping I get to build on the fitness and knowledge I gained this year in the hopes to have an even better year in 2020. I have several goals I have set for myself, one being a long shot but a very cool event if I can swing it.

Last but not least I would also take a moment to remember those who are left us this year. All the cyclists killed in New York City, including Robyn Hightman, and of course the sudden passing of Karl Dittebrandt, a long time official, who was always getting on my case to go officiate.

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