Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Long Season, No Posts

Post by: Nick Keough

The US cyclocross season has flown by, so much so that I haven’t gotten a chance to make a post the entire time. My season had some downs, a bunch of ups, and a few rides that made the ‘08 cross season my best ever. In September I laid out three major goals for this season, I wanted to podium at nationals, win the Verge U23 series championship, and be a consistent top ten finisher in the UCI events that I raced in. Looking back on the season I am happy to say that most races went well, but I feel like the ones that didn’t just added to my experience, making me a better bike racer. I mean seriously, who gets it right every time anyway.

Green Mountain Cyclocross (UCI C2) Verge Series Rounds 1&2

Coming into my first race of the season I had no idea what to expect. I hadn’t stepped on a cross bike since nationals last year, I was riding on borrowed bikes, and my road season had just ended two weeks previously with the hardest bikes race that I’d ever done (Univest GP). I lined up on the front row and I got the hole shot, not being exactly sure what to do I looked back at my teammate Chris Jones who was on my wheel. I figured that I should just keep it rolling, I felt pretty good so that’s what I did. We started rolling and our group formed with Jamey Driscoll, Matt White, Matt O’Keefe, Justin Lindine, Chris, and myself. Unfortunately, about three laps later I flatted out of the group just after the pit. Let me tell you, that was not a fun jog through a Vermont XC skiing area, it was pretty miserable. I ended up making my way to the pit, and I finished up the day as the 3rd U23 of 3 and 22nd overall. I was pretty bummed, but I knew that I had good legs so it didn’t bother me too much.


At least I knew what to expect for the second day of racing, I came into it with some pretty solid confidence and I felt like my cross legs coming back underneath me a bit. I started off well again, making that front selection, but when Dan Timmerman attacked hard on the first lap I used my better judgment and let him go. Coming into the second lap Jamey hit it pretty hard to go after Dan and Chris followed him. I decided to sit back and race my own race. I felt pretty solid at first, but I think I over did it a little, and I faded slowly back to 8th place. I just held of Justin Spinelli who was closing on me the last three laps. I was pretty excited because that was my best result in a UCI race, and it was only the first weekend.


Erdinger Grand Prix of Gloucester (UCI C2) Verge Series Rounds 3&4

Gloucester is always one of my favorite races of the year, the venue, the course, the fans, it is just the epitome of a great New England cyclocross race. This was the first time that I had lined up with the real guys for the season, and as always there was a very solid field with riders like Ryan Trebon, Tim Johnson, and Jesse Anthony lining up just in front of me. My plan was to ride smart, and hopefully end up with a top fifteen finish, which would be respectable considering how poorly my race went there in ‘07. I had a good start and made it into the preliminary front group, I made a rather unwise decision of staying in the front group early on, but it was working out as I settled in and felt pretty good. On the third lap I got a rear flat coming off the pavement on the finish straight. I tried not to panic, but its your first reaction when you know that your race is over. I made it to the pit eventually, but it was just damage control at that point. I rode in as the 3rd U23 again and 25th place overall, I was very unpleased to say the least.


The course on Sunday was not typical Gloucester, but it suited me pretty well with the newly added soft run up and s-turn sand pit. It was a very hot day and I made the best decision that I had all weekend in bringing a water bottle with me in my back pocket. I had a much more tame start, and I settled into a good group with Matt White and Justin Spinelli, but unfortunately he had a mechanical early on and I was by myself for a bit. Eventually Jesse Anthony and I began to work together and we caught Matt White with a couple of laps to go. Jesse attacked pretty hard when we caught Matt, and I wasn’t able to stay with them. I worked my way back up to Matt after Jesse gapped him out, but he left me coming into the final lap. I was still feeling pretty solid and I had a big enough gap over the next group of Adam Myserson and Josh Dillon that I held them off pretty easily. I ended up finishing 9th place overall and I was the first U23. I was very happy with the race, and I ended up taking the lead in the U23 Verge Series. It was nice to put on the leaders jersey at Gloucester, especially since it was the first time that I’ve ever lead the Verge series in my career.


Granogue (UCI C1) and Wissahickon (UCI C2)

The next week after Gloucester Jesse and I piled all of our crap into my little Chevy S-10, with our final destination being the best Mid-Atlantic cross race in the US. I was pretty excited because I finally got my new bikes built up, but I was slightly worried to race in a new position. After more planning snafus that one would believe Jesse and I arrived at the venue on time Saturday morning. Because it was the biggest race that I had entered so far I really wanted to pull down a good ride so that I could gain some momentum as the season started to pick up. I made the second group after the start with Jamey Driscoll, Barry Wicks, and Andy Jacques-Maynes. I was feeling good, but a stupid mistake in a technical corner left my shoulder, knee, and hand meeting the ground in a way that I would have preferred to avoid. I couldn’t hold onto the bar very well at all, and I ended up pulling the plug to save myself for Sunday once I realized I was out of contention for any UCI points.


Sunday’s event was a half hour away from Granogue in Wissahickon, Pennsylvania. The course was very open and fast, the exposed venue was very tough as a result of the cold air and high winds. The race went pretty typically for me, I was riding very strongly in a group with Jamey Driscoll and Davide Frattini, until I got to a point where I was riding way over my head and I made a mistake. I got hooked up on a course post and my shift lever was ripped off. I was still in good position after taking my pit, but a front flat left me well outside the top ten. I ended up finishing the race in a pretty disappointing 27th place. The drive home got me pretty bummed that I traveled all that way for no result, but if you don’t try you’re not going to even have a chance to do well.


Cycle Smart International (UCI C2) Verge Series Rounds 4&5

Going into the fourth round of the verge series I was leading the under 23 category, and I only didn’t have a good hold on it as a result of my ridiculous inconsistency. I had impressively bad legs in the race, and I ended up finishing in 16th place. I’m still not sure what caused that ride, but I just didn’t have the legs on the day to get a good result.


The only bonus about having as terrible a ride as I did on Saturday is that you get so pissed that nothing is going to hold you back from getting what you came for on Sunday. After Jake and I messed with my position on the bike I headed to the start. I made the front selection with Jamey, Dan Timmerman, Andy Jacques-Maynes, Matt White, Davide Frattini, Justin Lindine, and Josh Dillon. Eventually, our group split apart into two groups with Jamey, Andy, Dan, and Matt up front and the rest of us holding about five seconds back. I was feeling good and I tried not to over do it, just rolling through to keep everything moving. On the last lap Davide made an acceleration that only Josh could follow, and I decided to wait and take Justin to the sprint. I took the sprint for seventh place, and I won the U23 race which put me back into the jersey yet again.


Plymouth Cyclocross

After a very large amount of deliberation with myself, I decided to take a weekend at home instead of flying out to Toronto to race the two C1’s that were happening this weekend. My teammate Matt Shriver put in a few very good rides out there making it onto the podium for Sunday in 5th place. Instead I raced my home event, put on by Bill Sykes in Plymouth, MA. I was very happy to see that Matt O’Keefe showed up because it was nice to have someone to race with. The course was a blast, and after hopping the two single barriers on the course I put a gap into Matt and I was able to keep it going for the rest of the race, despite the fact that my front derailleur broke and I could only soft pedal for ¾ of a lap. It was nice to win a race, despite the size of the event, it’s always good for the moral to cross the line in first place.


USGP Mercer Cup (UCI C1) Rounds 3&4

I was really psyched to race going into the USGP races in New Jersey, it had been a two weeks since I had done a big race and I was feeling really good. I had a really bad start position because everyone and their uncle came out to this race. Knowing that it was a long race I chilled out for the first couple laps of the extremely muddy race. I worked my way slowly forward, and with about three laps to go I was into the top fifteen and riding with Bjorn Selander. Bjorn and I were the third and fourth U23 riders, with about three laps to go I was coming up the finish straight when a gust of wind blew some mesh snow fencing into my right shift lever. I was thrown to the ground and I immediately rolled off the course to avoid being hit by other riders. By the time I realized what was going on there was an EMT standing over me telling me not to move. Naturally I ignored him, staggered back to my feet, and got back into the race. I still rode quite well but I lost about 30 positions while on the ground. I worked my way back up to about 30th place. After the race I went the EMT station because I couldn’t see straight, and they told me to go to the hospital if I didn’t get any better over the next couple of hours. They kindly informed me that there was a chance that if I went to sleep I wouldn’t wake up, that didn’t help me feel any better. I ended up suffering through the night, and obviously, since I am writing this now, I did survive and I did race on Sunday.


I woke up Sunday morning with a killer headache, but my legs felt surprisingly good for having raced hard the previous day. By the time the Elite Race came the course was a total mess, but it was slightly better that it had been on Saturday. I started off very poorly and I was informed the first time through the pit that I was sitting in the top 35. Now I know that when the word “top” is placed in front of any number it makes it sound way better, but we all know that it is just a cover up for the truth. I started picking riders of slowly, and by the end of the third lap I was being told that I was just outside the top fifteen. I was feeling great, I just kept thinking that I knocked something loose the day before that was making me ride better than I ever had. The next report that I received was that Danny Sumerhill, who was sitting in 10th overall and 2nd U23, was just in front of me. Just after seeing two laps to go I caught onto the group of Dan Timmerman and Danny. It was then that I went into race mode, you know, the point when all you are thinking about is what the most efficient way to cross the line before the guy you’re with. As Danny and I started to line each other up we were able to leave Timmerman. On the last lap I came to the front for a second and got a gap, but coming I rode farther on the uphill and Danny ran by me into the pit. We got slightly tangled in the pit and he got a gap on me. I punched it as hard as I could coming over the flyover, but just as I caught his wheel in the last corner I dabbed my foot and that was the only gap he needed. I finished up 11th place overall and 3rd U23. After the race I was told that I ended up a close second place in the SRAM most aggressive rider to Troy Wells. I couldn’t have asked for a better race, I knew that I was coming into my legs and that I was just improving as the season continued.


Landscaping Super cup (UCI C1) Days 1&2

After a short ferry trip and a bit of aimless driving around Long Island I lined up for the first day of the UCI Category 1 Elite race at the Whitmore Super cup. I had a great start on the day, as usual, but I ended up really struggling in the cold. I was having a lot of trouble with my lings, I couldn’t get a full breath. I went backwards pretty quickly, and I just finished up the day in 18th getting lapped in the last 200m of my last lap.


As my weekends typically go, Sunday was the best race that I’ve had in my life. It was still freakin’ cold, but I was more prepared. I had a good start, but I held back when things started to get tough. After losing contact with the front group, Troy Wells and I began to work together. About two laps later he had an issue with his leg, and I started to settle into my own pace. With five laps to go Matt White and I came together and started trading off pulls. We were moving forward pretty well, and on the last lap I came to the front and got a gap on the ride-up. I hit it and didn’t look back, knowing that I was playing my last card. I was able to hold a five second gap on Matt, and I almost caught Andy Jacques-Maynes on the line. I finished in seventh place, which was the best result that I’d ever gotten. It’s the best feeling when you cross the line, knowing that you’ve accomplished what you came to the race to do.


Baystate Cyclocross (UCI C2) Verge Series Round #6

This race was officially the worst ride of my life. I got the hole shot pretty easily, and I lead for the majority of the first two laps. Then Jamey Driscoll attack our group pretty hard, I ended up being the only person to follow him. The next three laps were like I was moving in fast forward. Jamey was just rolling it on and I was holding on for dear life, but then the best thing happened, he slowed down slightly and looked over his shoulder to check if I was still there. I was psyched because I knew that I had made it though the hardest part. That lap, on the run up, I put my foot down and my knee just completely buckled under my weight. I didn’t know what was going on, my leg was totally numb. After a lap of struggling to figure out what was happening Matt White and Justin Spinelli caught and passed me. I didn’t even have the ability to respond. Over the last three laps I was just trying to finish. After a visit to my chiropractor and my primary care doctor we traced the issue to my crash in New Jersey because my neck had been bothering me over the previous two weeks. Luckily as of now it still hasn’t happened again, but my neck isn’t 100%, but it didn’t hinder me in RI or at Nationals so I think I’m okay.


NBX Grand Prix of Cyclocross (UCI C2) Verge Series Rounds 8&9

The last weekend in the regular season of cyclocross saw me finally figuring out how to ride my bike consistently. I started off the race conservatively, not following Jamey when he attacked on the first. Our chase group was eight guys, and I was planning on just sitting in and gauging my efforts. Everyone in the group gave it a go at least one time, but I just sat back, listening to the advice that I had heard a hundred times from a number of experienced riders, “sit in”. I picked my place to go for it on the last lap, knowing that I needed to lead out the sprint. I hit it hard going off the road at the top of the course, and lead coming off of the beach. After the effort the only person left on my wheel was Adam Myerson, and I knew that if I was going to win the sprint I would be best off not to let him get back to my wheel easily. I still had a gap coming onto the pavement, and I took the sprint pretty easily. I couldn’t believe that I had gotten second at a Verge race! I was pumped.


Sunday went very similarly to Saturday in that we had a very large group that was not breaking up easily. However, Jamey chilled out for a while and waited until three laps to go to attack, and that split the big group up a bit. Jamey got a gap on his own, while the second group consisted of Derrick St. John, Justin Spinelli, Adam Myseron, and myself. Unfortunately, I got a front flat on the last lap. I got to the pit still sitting fifth place, but I ran out of time and couldn’t catching the group of three that I was in. I still finished a very solid fifth place, and I took the win in the Overall U23 Series, which was something that I’ve wanted to do since I started racing cross. I was feeling great and with nationals only a week away, I felt like I was ready.

2008 USA Cycling National Cyclocross Championships

After road tripping it straight from the race in Warwick the previous week, we made it to Kansas City, Missouri on the Wednesday before my race. The conditions on Friday were very slick and muddy, but by the time my race came around on Saturday the course was dry, but very tacky. While warming up on the course I had a big scare when my front tire rolled off the rim on a downhill corner. I was thinking that the day wasn’t going to go very well, but I got it all figured out and started my warm-up routine on the trainer. I was called up to the start line as the second rider because of my UCI standing. I took the hole shot, knowing that it was better for me to set the pace until I knew how everyone was feeling. On the climb Danny Sumerhill got tangled up on my rear wheel and Nick Weighall attacked pretty hard. I was able to follow easily enough, and that was the selection. We started rolling for the next couple of laps, until Alex Howes ad Adam McGrath came up to us. Nick attacked again and I followed, which got rid of the two of them quickly. Coming into the run up a lap later I felt my headset come loose drastically. Nick pulled a gap on my down the descent, and I got on my pit bike after loosing about thirty seconds. At that point I went into damage control, I knew that I could hold Danny off who was about a minute back. After settling in seeing four laps to go, I heard Luke yell, “you’re f’ing catching him, keep it up!”. I looked up and saw that I was riding back up to his wheel. I felt perfect. I settled in then came to the front and I knew that I was racing how I had wanted. On the second to last lap, Nick gapped me out coming off the run-up and he punched it hard. Over the next lap I chased hard, but I wasn’t able to make it to his wheel before the pavement. I finished second, and although I am never happy with a result that I know that I could have improved upon, I really can’t complain.


Happy New Season!

Dec. 31 2008

This Fall Kelly Benefits raced in a one day Pro Crit just outside Paris. It was a short trip but the team did really well. The course was all about a bunch sprint but unfortunately the janky french crit racers didn't want a bunch. We put Reid Mumford in the break and with about a quarter of the race to go he lapped up. I chased anything dangerous and tried to do a good lead out. The reason I say tried is because although Reid is unbelievably powerful he is a TT and break away specialist not a bunch sprinter. He did well to get 8th and the most aggressive rider prize! I was second or third in the bunch to get top 15 not bad for a sweet trip to Paris end of Season.

For 2009 I resigned with my current team Kelly Benefit Strategies Pro Cycling, and I couldn’t be happier with the group of riders, Management, and contract I negotiated. I really felt like I integrated into the team seamlessly this year ,immediately getting results and laying it down for teammates results, like Dave’s win in PA, or Cando’s 2nd at ProCrit. Next season should be epic and I have set my goals high as always. I have more specific goals, but my overall objective this season is to make the same leap I have in the past 4 seasons. Each year I have managed to deny everyone who has told me I will stop improving, and have made the same step each year. First going from learning to race as a Junior to winning and making podiums at big junior events, then making podiums at local pro races to winning those races and getting to NRC’s. Last year I knocked on the door of every top sprint I was in, and came up with a 3 professional wins with more than 15 podiums. For this season I want to convert those podiums to wins. Again most people I talk to tell me not to be disappointed when that doesn’t happen. For me that is fuel and everyday I train I use, it, and all those near misses to make me better. I am hungrier than ever and with my training more dialed than ever, I am looking forward to making those that doubt me look stupid.
Now that the cross season is finally over and the road season is just around the bend my training has been quite extensive and going very smoothly. With lots of time in the gym, multiple training sessions per day and trying to rest fully in between, my schedule has been single minded and focused on the season to come. Throughout November and December I have been putting in the miles both from my home base on Cape Cod and from Cross venues each week (Where I also play pit crew for my brothers). However after our trip to Hell, I mean Kansas, it has been nice to get into the routine of training strictly from home and checking off my training objectives as they come.
Now don’t get me wrong, our drive to Kansas for Cross Nats was quite productive, with two 2nd places finishes and Nick and Luke both going to worlds, not to mention some surprisingly great training roads for me. However if we were to drive 1500 miles in any direction from our house other than to Kansas, I am sure we would have ended up somewhere quite a bit more remote and desirable for bicycle riding! Needless to say I logged a good week of frigid training while traveling and we had some great fun! Christmas at our house was pretty chill this year and we just hung out. My bros got me a rad espresso machine so my daily training routine now involves pulling at least 2 shots first thing every morning! Last week’s weather was great for training being 40 degrees super windy, and pissing rain. By the way there is no sarcasm there! If the roads in New England are clear of snow and it is above 25 I am psyched and outside training! Unfortunately I ran out of luck and as I am writing this it is white out conditions outside.
On a better note I got my race schedule for the spring and it looks awesome! Lots of racing and traveling as always but let’s just say it has some uncharted territory for me, right in line with some of my bigger goals. More on that at a later. First on my schedule is our first team camp in Winter Park, Colorado. As you could imagine the training is not perfect for training there but that is not the point. The trip will be short, less than a week, to get to know new teammates, catch up to old ones, and have some fun in the snow. It will also provide the opportunity to nail down everyone’s goals and objectives and really start the teambuilding process. Two weeks later I fly to Texas for the formal Team Presentation, Photos, and full on warm weather training every day for 2 weeks. Because I am obsessive about my training I am personally looking forward to this camp more than the first. It will provide some great motivation as the weather will be nice and the whole team will be training together. The other important aspect of the second camp is that it should complete the team building process. Bike racers are much more comfortable on their bikes than any where else and long days training with teammates provides a good foundation both physically and mentally for the season to come. As I said stay tuned for more info on my schedule. Now I have to venture out into a blizzard to get my training done for the day!!!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Photo Diary (Super Week)

Catching Up, (post crazy summer)

This summer has been absolutely CRAZY! I have not had time to keep this updated due to bike racing all over the country, but priorities first right! So I will just pick up where I left off.

After Harlem my contract with Kelly Benefit Strategies/Medifast Pro Cycling was signed and active. The following week I raced Nutmeg Criterium in New Britain Connecticut. The course is super fun and it was the first day on all of my new team issue equipment. I figured it would be good to get at least one race under my belt on the Lemond before heading to the International Tour of Pennsylvania. the race went well and although the bike felt very foreign to me my legs were really good. On the last lap Robbie King of Rite Aid jumped to the break and I followed his wheel. I jumped at about 150meters from the line and won the race! It was a good start to a summer that was to be an exhilarating ride!

The next week I flew to Philadelphia, PA for the inaugural Tour of Pennsylvania, a 7 day, international U25 stage race. The race boasted the largest prize list of any U25 race in the world. This race was a priority for Kelly and our director Jonas Carney fielded a super strong team to race and win in PA. The roster included, David Veuilleux, Keven Lacombe, Myself, Benny King, Clay Murfet, and Mark Hinnen.

I showed up a day before the race late at night, and was picked up at the airport by our team swany Ryan Kelly. The next day I got my race bike dialed in with our team mechanic Jordan Schware. My race bike has the same Lemond frame as my training bike but with Sram Red instead of Sram Force, and Bontager Carbon wheels rather than the box section ones on the training bike. Later in the day I went for a spin with Dave, Keven and Clay into down town and we had lunch at a cafe. We rode back and bumped into Ben who had just flown in and was out for a pedal of his own. Mark got in later that night and we all had dinner together.

The first day was a double stage with a short prologue in the morning and a fast crit at night. Dave did great in the TT getting 4th place and setting himself up well for the GC. The first night of racing was the crit in Philadelphia. The course was super technical and fun. The plan was to have Dave Keven and I hit out with 500meters to go and come over the top of whoever was riding the leadout, going into the last corner. Well the plan worked as we came over the top but did not close the door enough on the inside. Dannny Holloway got in there and I got boxed in behind Keven who had to hit his brakes in the last corner. My jump was really good and after I got out of the cluster, I came close to getting Danny at the line. With the finishing straight being only 100meters long I was too far back to pull it off. It was a bummer because I felt super fast, and it really just came down to a lack of team experience between me and Keven and Dave. However what could I expect, it was the first time we had ever raced together!

After that our momentum really started to roll.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Harlem, Goodbye Sakonnet, Moving on

This Spring has been one insane adrenalin rush. From the minute I won Grants Tomb Criterium, to me 3rd at Harlem Skyscraper Crit, I have been full gas, and loving it! Racing for CRCA Sakonnet Technology U25 team has presented me with opportunites to to lead a team, race in the biggest criteriums in America, and get the results I needed to accomplish my greatest goal of the season. I signed with Kelly Benefit Strategies/ Medifast Pro Cycling for the second half of the 2008 racing season.

Going into the 2008 season I knew that I had laid the ground work for a stellar season, the hard part is proving it to everyone else! After racing in the Southeast with CRCA Sakonnet, I had convinced many, and began talking to several pro teams. When the dust settled I found my self riding with Kelly and I could not be more happy with my decision. As a young sprinter my dream was to ride for a true sprint team, and in the US, the Kelly train is both feared and respected like no other team.

My last race with Sakonnet could not have been more fitting with the race being held just a few blocks from Sakonnet's headquarters in New York City. The race was just my style, flat four corners with some rough pavement, and a super high quality field. the venue was great with Mike Ball from Rock Racing really putting on a good show. This race needs to be an example to all other criteriums in America. If we want to create a scene around cycling and get Amercans interested then this is the venue we need. The jumbotrons were awesome, the fans could see the race fly by, watch the lap in its entirety, be able to understand how the race developed, and get an extremely entertaining show at the same time! If all downtown crits were run this way we would have a huge American fan base in no time. This is the future of American bike racing!!

The race played out exactly as I had hoped, with a small break getting established, the field settling in and bringing it back with a few laps remaining. I conserved energy and followed a few major moves during the race but was focused on the bunch sprint. With 2 to go I was locked on to the Rock Racing train, but got swarmed going into 1 to go. I did my now standard last lap kamikaze riding and got to the front but got boxed in going into the last corner. I was a little to far back when I opened up my sprint and just ran out of rode before the line. My sprint was super fast, but without perfect positioning it is near impossible to win. 3rd place was a great result and I was glad I could deliver one more time for CRCA Sakonnet.

Next on my schedule is the Tour of Pennsylvania racing for Kelly Benefits, check it out everynight on TV ont the Versus channel.



Thursday, June 12, 2008

Tour of Somerville Weekend

Bike Jam/Kelly Cup NRC Criterium
Baltimore, MD
Saturday May 24th

Jake and I went to Baltimore, Maryland on Memorial Day weekend for the Bike Jam/ Kelly Cup criterium. It was a pretty wide open course, with one sweeping right into a tight chichane. Two of our other team mates were at the race, Gavi Epstein(from NYC) and Ryan Bauman(from Madison, WI).

Luckily, Jake got a call up to the frontline at the start of the race, along with some off the biggest names in US cycling. Including, Dominique Rollin, Klye Wamsley, Jonathon Page, and Sebastian Haedo, not bad company to be in. The race rolled off very fast with everyone wanting to string the race out from the beginning. It wasn't long before Jake, Gavi, Ryan, and I were near eachother. I started by following some early moves, but I was forced to abandon due to mechanical problems with my bike. A breakaway of four riders held off the field leaving Kelly Benefits rider David Veilleux taking the win. Jake finished a solid 6th Place in the bunch, taking tenth place overall.

Bound Brook Criterium
Bound Brook, NJ
Sunday May 25th

For Sunday, Jake and I met up with the rest of the family, where Jesse and Luke raced the Junior event at the Bound Brook Crit, a precursor race to Monday's Tour of Somerville. Jesse and Luuke were riding very strong, with Luke and Jesse folling numerous moves early on. With two laps to go Jesse was in a move that looked promising, along with one rider from the Metro-Wendy's team. However, as the race came around the last corner with one lap to go, the field was fast approaching. After the breakaway got caught, Jesse attacked into the last corner on the final lap, with Luke two wheels behind. Luke opened up his sprint from 300 meters out, and he won bike five bike lengths in the sprint!

Tour of Somerville
Somerville, NJ
Monday May 25th

Following his strong result on Sunday, Luke's plan for the biggest junior criterium in the US was to wait for the sprint (the Tour of Somerville almost always ends in a large bunch sprint). Jesse and Luke did a good job paying attention to the dangerous moves early on in the race. However, one rider slipped away with about five laps left to go in the race. Coming into the finish the solo ride still had about five seconds on the field. Luke took the sprint by a solid margin, but he still couldn't catch the one rider, and he finished up 2nd.

The pro race was quite a mess. Although there was a very quality field including full squads from Colavita, Kelly Benefits, Team Type One, Team Inferno, Battley-Harley Davidson, a combination of the low speed and very rough pavement caused many crashes. Unfortunately a crash involving Ryan Bauman, Gavi Epstein, and myself left our team very disabled. Luckily Ryan was able to return to the race, but a trip to the hospital and a broken hip took Gavi out for some time. As the bunch sprinted for the finish Colivata's leadout train put their rider's first and second. Jake came through with a solid 7th place finish.

Ricola Twilight Grand Prix
Basking Ridge, NJ
Wednesday May 28th

Seven ninety degree corners snake through sceneic downtown Basking Ridge New Jersey in a one kilometer long circuit. No, this isn't a joke, it's the Ricola Twilight Grand Prix, where every year the country's top professional cyclists throw themselves down the narrow streets of this quaint New Jersey suburb. After only five of the race's forty laps were through the field was chopped down from 120 riders to about 50, and those remaining were snaked around the course in a single file line. A late breakaway of Jeremy Powers(Jelly Belly) and Dabe Fuentes(Battley- Harley Davidson) almost robbed the sprinters, but they were caught with one lap to go. Jake came through in fifth place, there were only inches between the top five.

All in all not a bad weekend for the Keough family.


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

2008 Speed Week

Athens Twilight Criterium
Saturday April 26th

Our team got to the venue 2 hours before the race which started at 8:45pm. We went to sign in and had to push our way through an enormous crowd of partying people along the finishing straight of the course. After a solid warm up we rolled to staging on the back half of the course.

After much jockeying for position (moving from the back of the course to just behind the start line) two officials held us about 50 meters short of the start line. They proceded to start calling up numbers one at a time and wouldn't let you go unless your number was called. When I realized that they were going to go all the way down the start list I started to get frustrated because my number was 109. We had already been staging now for 30min and there was nothing I could do to get closer to the front.

Finally we got on the start line and BANG!! $250 dollar prime first lap! I go to get clipped in and some dude crashes in front of me, I have to track stand for a minute and then go, I was dead last going into the first corner. From there I held it full gas and drilled it through every corner passing 5 to 10 guys on each one. By lap 5 I was safely at the front. I chilled out there feeling super comfortable despite the big effort I had made to get there. I was involved in a crash about 25 laps in and had to bunny-hop someone in front of me. I came off the bike but stayed mostly upright. I took a free lap, a few deep breaths, and a gel, and jumped back in the ring for round 2.

The most insane aspect of this race is by far the spectators. This was a Saturday night in a college town, with school about to end, and at 9:00-midnight downtown! The crowd was so loud you couldn't hear crashes just around the corner, the only way to know you were going to pile into a crash was the ooooohhh! the crowd made! The entire course was a tunnel of noise, from the 30,000 spectators.

I got to the front again and stayed there. With 10 to go I was cramping a bit do to the heat but managed to hold it at bay until the sprint. Just one more gel would have done the trick to combat the electrolyte loss. On the last lap I couldn't quite get to where I needed to be because of the cramping, I needed to be, maybe 2 wheels up. Coming out of the last corner I was probably positioned 10th wheel, and did a good sprint despite cramping the entire drag to the line. I did a decent sprint and finished 7th and 2nd best Young Rider. After the race I was treated like a celebrity by the 30,000 drunk screaming fans.

Tuesday April 29th
Beufort Memorial Cycling Classic

After staying at a mountain house in NC Sunday night we drove to Walterboro SC on Monday and grabbed a hotel. We drove to the race and got signed in for the night. Tonight's race was not quite as crazy, crowd wise, as Athens but the racing did prove to be insane.

After a good warm up I rolled up to staging, but this time for a "call up". I was sitting sixth in the series and the top 15 riders get called up to the start line on the first and second row. Tonight this would prove to be crucial.

Again the race started with the sound of a gun followed by "$250 dollar prime!" I rode the first few laps in the top 5 then settled back to the top 10. The course was super narrow with the second straight only being two or three riders wide. A big break got away early with everyone but Symmetrics represented. They quickly gained time, but Symmetrics got on the front and TTTed for like 30laps. At one point the break was only 20 seconds from lapping the field. As they started to fade the pace got faster in the field. Meanwhile I was sitting just behind the Symmetrics train feeling comfortable and hoping the break would come back. Finally the gap was down to 5sec and we could see the break. In another 3 laps we came upon the break on the finishing straight, I am still siting top 10 when I see about 40 riders directly in front of us. I didn't have much time to think but as a was flying by all these riders I saw Nick for a split second. Once things strung back out and I was back at the front of the field I tried to put together what all that was about. I realized that we had been going pretty fast to bring the break back and it made sense when I found out that half of what was left of the field got lapped by a group of 20!

With 2 laps to go I was too far back and knew it. With no team mates to get me to the front I had to rely on my dare devil style of riding to get up to the front(The story of my week). On the last lap I had Hilton Clarke's wheel(our directors pick for the win, good pick!) I lost it when another rider started pushing with his hands off the bars. Unfortunately this kind of thing does happen in Pro bike races, but that rider will push the wrong person and will be put into the barriers, too bad I had more important things to do tonight! No worries though, I came out of the last corner and had awesome legs but was just a touch too far back. It seems that once I get open road in front of me at the finish or these races I can really open up my sprint and close a huge amount of distance before the finish. I ended up 5th. Slightly frustrated at the foul play but happy with the result none the less.

Wednesday April 30th
Downtown Walterboro Criterium

This morning we rode down to the race course from our hotel to see tonight's course. It is super wide open, unlike last night, and only has one tight corner coming onto the finish straight.

Tonight I rolled up to staging with the number 4 on my back, and got another sweet call up. Tonight's race was really tame with the only mayhem really coming from the back side of the course which was terribly lit, I mean pitch black. You couldn't even see where you were going. Racing in the dark really doesn't bother me at all, it just adds another element to the race where bike handelng and confidence reigns king. Tonight the sweet spot was slightly further back than it has been due to the wide course. I was in a few moves one of which went on the half way prime and quickly gained a large advantage. I looked back and couldn't see the field. I talked to a few guys and we started to drill it but before we could really get up to speed the field was on us again(fine with me) Going into the second to last corner I drilled it up the out side and slotted into the corner just off of Alex Candelario's wheel, who let me say had his Kelly train doing a super fast lead out for the last few laps. Each night it ends up being Colavita and Kelly drag racing on the front, with a few vultures like myself, Hilton Clarke, and Rahshaan Bahati, fighting for position. Tonight I came up just short of the podium finishing 4th, however I beat the Best Young Rider leader and I became the new Best Young Rider, and did the podium after the race! Happy with the result and knowing that I can win these races I fell asleep.

Thursday, May 1st
Uptown Greenwood Pro Cycling Challenge

We drove from Walterboro and checked into our hotel in Greenwood. After making some cold cut sandwiches in our hotel we headed to the race. My director Matt went to sign in as we got ready. Nick decided to sit tonight out as his back has really been bugging him. We made the decision that it would be better to sit out tonight and try to salvage the rest of the week rather than hurting his back even more. When Matt came back with the numbers I found out that I was leading the series,#1. Tonight I got the last call up indicating that I was the series leader. The course was super fun with some sweeping rights and a fast tight chicane to down hill. The sprint was slightly uphill but fast, and suited my sprint. With 3 to go I again had to do some "BMX skill" riding to get to the front but made it there again with no team mates in sight.

Going into the second to last corner I was in the perfect position on Adam Myerson's wheel, when he easily, too easily, slid inside Bahati. I thought to my self that Bahati was positioning himself for the sprint putting myself in an even better position! However coming out of the last corner he sat up, by the time I reacted there was a huge gap to Adam with about 250 meters to go, I killed it and passed everyone but Candelario who was just out of reach for the distance I had to work with. Just before the line a Jittery Joes rider passed me for 2nd. After the race he told me he saw the gap that I had to close and he felt bad for coming by. No worries. 3rd was a big result and finally landed me on the podium also opening my lead in both the Overall and U25. That's a good day at the office!

Friday May 2nd
Steadman Hawkins Cycling Classic

May Day after May Day! Tonight was rough. After getting signed in and getting a good warm up it was time to get to staging for the nights event. Tonights course was super easy. Wide ope with four right hand 90's that you didn't even have to break for. I was still very comfortably leading the series overall and best young rider and so got called up in the poll position again, with AC DC Hells Bells blaring and the crowd screaming. I was slightly nervous for tonights race because some of the bigger teams had left to go to the NRC's this weekend. This meant that the racing was going to be much slower and more dangerous. My worries were not needless. The average race speed was 5 mph slower than every night this week, and consequently there were guys who have been getting dropped in the first 10 laps no diving into corners at the front of the race. The race was a crash fest and with 7 to go some dude came flying past me up against the outside curb going into turn 3 which was a downhill right. just as he got by me he crashed and I had no where to go. From there everything gets spotty. I know I hit my head hard because my helmet is smashed to bits. I remember getting up and grabbing my bike only to realize that it was in two pieces and the wheels were no longer round. I knew I had to get back in the race because I was leading the series, but it was inside the free lap and I was on the opposite side of the course. Somehow in the dark I saw Nick, I asked him if he was ok and he told me to take his bike and finish. Couldn't argue with that! I jumped on his bike and started to chase. I chased for a few laps and got into a group that had been split off during another crash. All this time I am on Nicks bike which is almost identical to mine but has only the remains of his seat (rails with a broken body) due to the crash!! I finished in the front of that group in 55th place. I retained my lead overall and did my best not to get the podium jerseys all bloody. After the race there was some confusion with the results because I crossed the finish line on Nicks bike with his timing sensor on. Once I got that taken care of we went back to the hotel. After a quick shower Nick said that his side was swollen and he thought he should go to the hospital. We rushed him to the hospital and spent the next 2 hours making sure that he had no internal bleeding. Matt and Adam Branfman graciously went to a Wal Mart to get supplies to bandage me up. Imagine that, I'm in a hospital bleeding out of my elbow hip and knees, with a grade 3 concussion, and the nurses won't give me advil or anything to clean up with! Anyway by the time we found out that Nick was going to be alright it was already well past midnight and we hadn't eaten anything since 4 in the afternoon, were starving. We met Matt and Adam back at the hotel, and ate crappy Papa Johns Pizza. We finally fell asleep at almost 3 in the morning with blood and pizza boxes all over the hotel room. Just another day at work!

Saturday May 2
Dilworth Criterium

Today we had to drive about 3 hours to get to the race in Charlotte NC, which is the first race that was in the afternoon rather than twilight. We left early and I felt like crap. I can't lift my arm up off my side, my hip is badly bruised swollen and still bleeding and my head is pounding. We got to the race our usual 2 hours ahead of time but today I could barely warm up. It is nice to have a routine when you get to a race because with out it I would have been a mess today. I am still way out of it and did not get enough sleep at all last night. During the race I rode in the top 15 and just cruised around. With 3 laps to go I got to the front and just hung on. I just gritted my teeth through a tremendous amount of pain from my shoulder and hip, and sprinted in for 6th. With a little more help from the team I may have been at the front going for the win. Regardless I conserved enough to keep the lead in the series for another day, or so I thought.....

Sunday May 4th
Sandy Springs Cycling Challenge

This morning I found out that I was now in second in the series by a few points. What was really screwed up was that yesterday I was leading my 184 points and rode well, getting 6th. I couldn't figure out how Mark Hekman gained all of those points. After much discussing with my dad on the phone we figured out that the previous points tally was wrong and I only had a slender lead going into yesterday over Hekman. Had I known that I would have raced yesterday only to beat him and focused on the series overall. Also there were points for the overall on every lap and with halfway to go that I was never told about. Regardless Matt went to bat for me against the officials(which I really appreciate) and got it so that Mark and I were tied for points starting the race and whoever raced better on the day would take the overall. Although I was pissed about the point confusion which was to cost me the race, and the fact that I was beat to crap after pumbeling myself friday night, I put on my game face and got ready for the battle royale which was about to go down. The course was super fun with and uphill finish and pretty mush the rest of the course downhill fast corners. I got a call up again, and rode the first few laps second wheel. I dropped back onto Hekman's wheel and began to follow him. I knew I just needed to get points on him before the finish. He jumped for a sprint lap and I followed. With my new knowledge of these pointed laps, I easily came around him to get 1 point. That left the score me 1 Mark 0. I continued to follow him, until a break of 5 went up the road. This was the ideal scenario for me because they took the 5 deep midway points away from Mark and I so there was no contesting them. With 5 to go Tosiba got on the front and started their leadout for Mark. I was getting pushed around by some of the other teams up there because I was on my own. I fought back hard with the usual banging of bars and headbutts, but when you are fighting by yourself you need to balance energy used fighting for wheels and energy saved by giving up wheels. With one to go I was on Jeff Hopkins of Inferno racing who was behind Adam Myerson of Time who was behind the Toshiba leadout of Hekman. Going into the second to last corner Hopkins dove inside Adam, and I couldn't get by. In the last corner I got inside and lit up my sprint coming by Hopkins and closing in on a fading Hekman who had jumped just before the last corner when I was stuck behind Jeff and Adam. I lunged at the line and he was just a few centimeters ahead. he gained 5 points on me for his 8th place over my 9th. That put the final score at Mark 5 Me 1. Overall the racing was a great experience and I feel like with a little more experience, OR a few leadout riders helping me in the finish I will be winning these big Crits.

Next on the calender is the Bike Jam, Somerville, Ricola Weekend with a podium at Somerville being one of my season's objectives!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Friends of Synergy - Nick Keough, Cyclist

“Winning tough races is always exciting, and competing against great athletes always keeps things interesting,” Nick said. “But my highlights are definitely both times when I was selected to go over to Europe and race at the highest level.”

It’s easy to see why Nick was chosen to represent the United States in those international races. The race podium is this 18-year-old’s second home, having been there dozens of times throughout his racing years. All of Nick’s hard work seems to be paying off, but he is the first to concede that racing at such high levels takes a major toll on your body. This makes good nutrition crucial to success.

“When you’re training hard and racing hard you need to fuel your body properly. I’m constantly monitoring what I’m taking in and trying to get all the nutrition I need. Everything little thing counts and any extra edge you can get is huge,” Nick explained.

He looked for nutritional products to supplement his rigorous training and tried a few different nutritional supplements without success. Then, Nick finally found his extra edge in Synergy’s V3 products after being introduced to Mistica at a coffee shop.

“I started using Mistica and noticed a huge difference in my recovery,” he said. “Pretty soon I started using Core Greens because Mistica worked so well. All of those nutrients in Core Greens are really helpful, so I stuck with it. I recently started using ProArgi-9 Plus, too, and it’s awesome. I feel so much healthier with all three products and have so much more energy when I race.”

Nick continues to enjoy great success in his racing career and hopes to be able to stick with it for a long time.

“Racing in the world championships was an incredible experience,” he explained. “I’d like to race in Europe a little more and get more experience that way. I’d love to make a living racing bikes—that’s my biggest goal right now.”

And will Synergy’s V3 products be along for the ride? “Absolutely.”

1st Place—Pro 1-2 Men, Chris Hinds Memorial Criterium•
1st Place—Pro 1-2 Men, Rick Newhouse Memorial Criterium•
1st Place—Junior Men, Rick Newhouse Memorial Criterium•
1st Place—Junior Men, Jiminy Peak Classic Road Race•
1st Place—Junior Men, Myles Standish Road Race•
1st Place—Junior Men, Silver City Flyer Criterium•
2nd Place—Junior Men Circuit Race, Fitchburg-Longsjo Classic Stage Race•
5th Place—Junior Men, USAC National Cyclo-Cross Championships•
30th Place—Junior Men, 2006/2007 World Cyclo-Cross Championships – Hooglede-Gits, Belgium

Friends of Synergy - Jake Keough, Cyclist

Jake would know. At 20-years-old, he is one of the best young riders in the country, placing third at the U.S. Cycling National Championships U23 Criterium last year. Success against such prestigious competition requires an intense training schedule as well as a fully booked racing calendar, so a few years ago Jake began searching for nutritional supplements that could aid his recovery.

“Recovery is crucial because that’s when you make all of your progress and gains,” he said. “We looked around for awhile before finding Mistica and felt like once we started using it, our recovery was boosted greatly.”

His positive experience with Mistica prompted him to look into Synergy’s other products. Soon, Jake added Core Greens and ProArgi-9 Plus to his regimen and was pleased with those results, as well.

“The great thing about Synergy’s V3 products is they work really well together to provide the nutrition I need both before and after racing. Core Greens gives me the base I need, ProArgi-9 Plus helps my endurance and Mistica helps boost my recovery and my immune system, too.”

Jake used V3 products en route to many victories as well as top 10 finishes against some of the best riders in the world. Following his stellar racing season last year, Jake fielded multiple contracts from professional teams before deciding to stay amateur for one more year.“

I have a goal of winning the elite criterium national championships in Chicago this year,” he explained.

After that, Jake plans on joining one of the top-tier professional teams in America and competing internationally. He said Synergy’s V3 products will play an important role in his racing future.

“I think that the further I go, the more I’ll rely on the products to supplement my hard work. So far, the products have helped me an incredible amount and I definitely hope to continue using them for as long as I possibly can.”

1st Place—Tour of Somerville•
1st Place—Grant’s Tomb Criterium•
1st Place—Exeter Criterium•
1st Place—Silver City Flyer•
1st Place—Myles Standish Road Race•
1st Place—Sturbridge Road Race•
2nd Place—Chris Hinds Memorial Criterium•
2nd Place—Nutmeg Classic Criterium•
3rd Place—USA Cycling National Championships

Friends of Synergy - CL Noonan Junior Cycling Team

Bicycle racing is one of the most grueling sports in the world. It requires staggering amounts of training and a profound commitment to physical fitness. Bicycle racers are topflight athletes who carefully follow strict nutritional guidelines and are incredibly sensitive to the state of their bodies.

No one knows this better than Michael Keough, whose five sons are all involved in different kinds of bike racing, from BMX to road to cylo-cross. Three of Michael’s sons (Luke, Jesse and Ian) belong to the CLNoonan Coast to Coast KAM Racing team based in Massachusetts. Under the auspices of the United States Cycling Federation, this team has raced all over New England, the United States and even the Bahamas, Belgium and Canada.

Bicycle racers are always looking for a competitive edge. For the CLNoonan team, that edge is Synergy’s revolutionary nutritional beverage Mistica and the V3 System.

These bikers are some of the best racers in New England. They train 20 to 30 hours a week and taking two ounces of Mistica a day really helps in their recovery from workouts and races,” Michael explained. “Bicycle racing is brutal on the body, so anything you can take to help repair it is a good thing.”

Now all of the Keoughs take Mistica, including Michael. They go through six bottles a month, and they all vouch for its ability to help them recover more quickly from the rigors of the sport.

According to Michael, “Mistica is the best recovery drink we’ve found.”

To learn about all of the Friends of Synergy

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Jacob Wins First Race of 2008 for Sakonnet

Recent News
March 16, 2008
Orange Crush at Grant's Tomb!

3/15 Grant's Tomb Criterium (New York, NY)

Sakonnet rides like a young pro team A full Sakonnet team including Road Manager Matt Koschara took to the line at the first big race on the northeast racing calendar the Grants Tomb Criterium. It was a special occasion for the team as both Eric Min (Sakonnet CEO) and Alarik Myrin (Sakonnet CTO) where in the crowd to cheer on the team. Most of the event was played out with small breaks taking minor leads, it became obvious in the last five laps that the race was going to come down to a field sprint.

Having practiced lead outs for a month at the teams warm weather spring house in Chapel Hill, NC the guys where ready to roll and they organized themselves like a seasoned professional team. With two laps to go the train was in place and it was Matt channeling his days as Julian Dean’s last lead out man on Navigators who started the fireworks by taking a full lap pull. Nick took the reigns after Matt and brought the field to the last corner where Gavi opened up the sprint. Trailing Gavi was a duo of Rite Aid professionals Bobby Lea and Bill Elliston, behind them where three Sakonnet sprinters!

In the drag race to the finish it was Jake who over took Leah for a brilliant win in the teams home town and in front of the sponsors!More pictures are found here:

1st Jake Keough (CRCA/Sakonnet Technology U25)
2nd Bobby Leah (Rite Aid Professional Cycling Team)
3rd Wilson Vasquez (G.S Mengoni USA)
4th Danny Estevez (CRCA/Sakonnet Technology U25)
5th Cheyne Hoag (CRCA/Sakonnet Technology U25)

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Luke Keough - World Championships Cyclocross - Treviso (ITA): Junior Men

The youngest guns open the Worlds in Treviso - France's Arnaud Jouffroy leads Sagan and Petrus to the podium. Keough tenth.

World Cyclocross Championships in Treviso (Italy) January 26 & 27, 2008

The junior-men opened the World Championships with their race of about 40 minutes. The big favorites for the world title were Arnaud Jouffroy (France), Marek Konwa (Poland), Lubomir Petrus (Czech Republic), Peter Sagan (Slovakia) and some others, like Italy's Elia Silvestri, Swiss Matthias Rupp, Belgians Sean de Bie and Stef Boden and Dutch rider Tijmen Eising.

After the second lap Petrus, who dropped Konwa, had a gap of 4 seconds on Jouffroy, 14 seconds on Sagan and 30 seconds on the first chasing group led by Elia Silvestri. Also Luke Keough from the USA was in this group and still had a chance to finish in the top 5.

The best American rider in the race was Luke Keough (10th at 1.12). He rode a very solid race as he was one of the riders in the chasing group behind the leaders. The other American riders who finished the Championships are Gavin Mannion (32nd at 3.09), Steve Fisher (40th at 3.38), Zach Mc Donald (42nd at 3.40) and Eric Emsky (53rd at 5.49).

World Cyclocross Championship 2008 Top Ten Junior Results

1 Arnaud Jouffroy (France) 40.30
2 Peter Sagan (Slovakia) 0.01
3 Lubomir Petrus (Czech Republic) 0.04
4 Elia Silvestri (Italy) 0.54
5 Matthias Rupp (Switzerland) 0.55
6 Pierre Garson (France) 1.07
7 Stef Boden (Belgium) 1.08
8 Sean De Bie (Belgium) 1.11
9 Jonathan Cessot (France)
10 Luke Keough (United States Of America) 1.12
Excerpted from an article By Bart HazenDate: 1/26/2008 For the full story:

Keough Wins Juniors At 2007 CycloCross Nationals

Luke Keough showed why he's one to watch for the future of American cross winning the junior 17 - 18 national championship on another cold, muddy day in Kansas City at the 2007 U.S. Cyclocross National Championships.

Keough has a closet full of champion's jerseys. Last year's winner of the 15-16 Jr Mens Nationals, followed that up with a win of the Jr Men 17-18 US Grand Prix of Cyclocross and capped it off with a 2007 National's win in the Jr Men 17-18 race this year. Keough has punished his competition this year and is further proof why America has become one of the best nations in the world when it comes to 'cross.

Luke Keough post race, "Yeah it was a muddy one."

For Sandwich's Keoughs, Dream a Constant Reality

Cape Cod Times
February 10, 2008

SANDWICH — The red betta fish lives on an island in the kitchen, past the garage littered with a dozen-odd bicycles and across the room from the salt and pepper shakers made from bike wheel hubs. He (she?) surely has something of an identity crisis. The fish's name (Tom, Lance, Mario, Eddy ... or something else, depending on the calendar) is about the only thing that changes from day to day in the Keough house.

For the five boys in one of the most athletically accomplished families on the Cape, life is about single-minded focus on their sport — cycling. For Jake, Nick, Luke, Jesse and Ian Keough, it's a constant, a reason to leave Sandwich High for home-schooling, to go to bed and wake up early, to skip the movies-and-the-mall teenage weekend.

Wash, rinse, ride, talk about riding, think about riding, dream about riding, repeat.

And from it all stems what seems to be the one unpredictably in the house near Holly Ridge Golf Club: The name of the red betta fish on the island in the kitchen. "We have this calendar," said Nick, 18, a stud in the under-23 road racing scene in New England. "It's a VeloNews (bicycle magazine) calendar, with every pro's birthday. We couldn't think of a new name for him, so we decided whoever's birthday it was, we would call him that for the day. You never know."

Here's what you know about the Keough boys: Right now, they're probably doing something related to bicycles. Here's what you don't know: the name of their fish today. But, of course, that deals with bikes, too.

But that's what it takes to have a soon-to-be senior pro (Jake, 20), a scary successful road U-23 (Nick), a two-time junior national cyclocross champion (Luke, 16), one of the top young 'cross riders of his age (Jesse, 15) and a talented youngster (Ian, 10).

"It's a great thing, because they're so disciplined," mom Linda said. "There's no place for drinking, smoking, even girls. I don't know if I'll ever have any daughters-in-law, unless they can ride a bike." (Linda, for the record, can and does ride a bike.)

Jake started racing BMX (tiny bike, dirt tracks, lots of jumps) at age 6. His brothers soon joined him, and even dad Michael got in on the sport ... at 40. Luke was ranked second in the country by 10, and, in true Keough fashion, Michael even reached the top three in his age group.
The kids were technically skilled and addicted to BMX, but didn't have the muscular build most top-end riders possess. A friend told Michael that cyclocross — a winter mountain bike/road hybrid featuring muddy courses and carry-the-bike-and-run obstacles — would increase their strength, so they tried it. They loved cyclocross. (It's on a bicycle. Of course they loved it.) Soon, BMX was out, and road biking — Lance Armstong's sport — was in, the better to increase stamina for 'cross.

Success was quick. After throwing themselves into the sports to the tune of hundreds a miles of week of training and thousands of miles of travel to events, Luke was a national champion, Nick was a U.S. national team member at the cyclocross junior world championships, Jake was fielding offers from professional teams on the road and Jesse and Ian were winning junior races of their own.

If they played basketball, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski would be beating down their door. If they plied their trade on the gridiron, USC football coach Pete Carroll would have their cell numbers. Instead, it's cycling — morning, noon and night.

"The commitment is getting up early, going to bed early, no video games. They don't mess around instant messaging anyone," Michael said. "The friends they have are themselves, my wife and me, and the people from the cycling community. They don't hang around at the mall. "They're kind of an odd group that way. They're not like regular kids, kids you usually see at high school."

You won't see Luke — who admits it's a bit scary that racers as young as he have to face drug tests after major races — at a high school at all. A national 'cross champion in the 17-18 age group this year and the runaway winner of the six-race U.S. Gran Prix of Cyclocross series, he switched to an online home-schooling program last month to better fit his racing schedule.

Jesse is still at Sandwich High School, but didn't rule out home schooling in the future — depending on how next year's 'cross season turns out.

Luke, who placed 10th at the junior world 'cross championships in Italy on Jan. 26, isn't worried about the change affecting his social life. "Most of my friends are bike racers," he said. Other racers, each other ... what else would they need?

"It's definitely a lifestyle," said Nick, a live-at-home Cape Cod Community College student. "That's one thing I think is part of our success. It's all we want to do — not that we feel like we're forced to do this. It's what we love to do ... I really don't feel like it's a hindrance. I hang out with friends when I have time. But it's definitely not a priority."

Jake, the oldest, doesn't race 'cross anymore — ankle problems have kept him on the road.
He could have turned pro for the coming spring/summer season, but said he wanted to stay an amateur to take another crack at the U-23 criterium national championship race, in which he placed third last year.

An exercise physiology student at CCCC, he trains his brothers in cycling. Even at 20, they're unabashedly his best friends. "Ever since we started racing BMX, we've traveled the country together," Jake said. "To be in the car 20 hours at a time, all together, it's a blast.

"The five of us all have the same mind-set. We're all really determined. Basically, we're each other's best friends. We ride constantly, and when we're not riding, we're talking about riding or training."

In the Keough house, that's just the way it is. If Jake, Nick, Luke, Jesse and Ian are awake, it's bike racing. You can set your watch by it — and a fish's name, too, depending on which pro racer has a birthday.

"They talk about bike racing from the minute they get up to the minute they go to bed," mom Linda said. "They pick up where they left off."

Staff writer Adam Smartschan can be reached at