Keith Licata at Branch Brook Crit 2012

BL and I went to Branch Brook on Saturday to get some good racing miles in this weekend. My first race was the Cat 4/5. Good thing I was able to get a decent warm up because the first two laps were full gas. I surprised to see 30+ mph for the first two laps and was later informed by BL that we shed about half of the 75 rider field very early in the race. About 4 laps in I was close to the front and a couple of guys got a gap so I jumped up to them.

We had difficult time getting organized so I ever so politely started to tell them where to be and how to rotate through. (Our WNR pacelines are way more solid and efficient than what we were pretending to do in the race) Eventually we got a groove going but wasted way too much time and energy gettng there. Our break attempt was swallowed up and I was able to stay comfortably towards the front. After a couple of more break attempts went nowhere we got to the final lap all together, at this point only about 30 of us. I was in an awesome spot for the sprint but ended up getting pinched into a curb and had to brake hard. I tried to get back into the mix but was way off from the front sprint group. I ended up getting 8th but was frustrated about not getting my crack at the top spots...and so goes road racing.

I had time to recover during the next race while waiting for the start of the 35+ race that BL and I would be in together. There are some big guns in the 35+ so I was planning to hold on for dear life to stay in the group until the finish. The first laps were fast but much to my surprise the first two laps of the 4/5 were actually faster. Some action picked up and BL found himself off the front with a super strong Colavita rider. Once they had a gap I decided to no longer be pack fodder and try to help BL out. I quickly got myself to the front of the pack and every time my turn in the rotation came around I would back the pace down a couple mph to disturb the flow and rotation. A couple guys would go hard around me and I'd stay near the front to disturb things all over again. At one point the gap got pretty big but being the only other Bulldog there was not much I could do once the pack set their mind to it. BL was away for the prime lap though...who ended up getting that? Eventually two guys went clear and BL and I were active at the front of the pack. There was a crash right behind me coming out of the last turn and I finished with the field sprint with almost no one behind me. I circled back quickly and was very pleased to see Brian coming across the line unscathed. Finished up the 26 mile 35+ race in 55min!! You do the math for the average speed.

All this on my 'cross bike with powertap training wheelset and fat 25c tires. What a great training day with the thrill of racing thrown in.