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.