South Jersey Spring Series 03/23/2014 - By Keith Hatton

Keith Finished 3rd Overall in the 2014 SJSS

The last race of the South Jersey Spring Series was quite an exciting race for me to finish the series with. After the first few weeks of finishing in the top ten I knew going into this race I had a chance of finishing the series in the top three with a decent result this day. With the help of my two teammates Steve and Dave we worked the field well to cover all the action going on from beginning to end.  

            The race started pretty fast, with someone attacking immediately on the first lap to get things going from team breakaway as they definitely had most of the field in order to be able to control the race well.  Along with them, Caffeinated Cyclists seemed to have a good amount of teammates to do some damage as well. With all this in mind the boys and I followed and worked with these guys in theirs and our attacks to mix it up and keep the pace up. 

            After a few moves went away and came back, the heavy hitter from Metra finally jumped hard with a breakaway contender. And our faithful Captain alerted me to follow suit as a Caffeinated Cyclist and I dragged another Breakaway rider up to them. It took a few laps to catch on the two front-runners but once the connection was made we all went to work on digging in to get away and stay away. 

            With the two Breakaway riders, Caffeinated Cyclist, and I in the break; we knew we had a decent chance to really stay away with enough teammates combined in the field to hinder and real chase group.  As the laps went on with the break, the time away went up and up, from 12 seconds to 28, until with about 10 laps to go we caught the tail end of the field again. This was a fantastic feeling in ability to work really hard and have a secured top five finish in hand, but also a somewhat interesting situation of having to watch a few very specific racers now. 

            With only a few laps left we were all back at the front of the group looking to stay there as another flyer went off the front but was caught with two to go; along with in the chicane of the course a rider slid out behind me ramped the character of the field up a little earlier, followed by another toppling of bikes on the last lap happening within a foot to my right, lost a little contact with the very front of the race in order to swing around the mayhem. 

            Now with a small gap in front of me, I wasn't sure which of the 5 of us were still left to sprint to the line. Then, I found one wheel I knew was in the break but was only really catching onto the group through the last turn of which we were all sprinting already on such a short course to the final meters. So, by the time I was there we were crossing the finish line. 

            I was a little disappointed I wasn't there to sprint it out against the other two riders left from the break, but all the work paid off well to land me a third place for the day with great help from my team and the other riders teammates as well. This was a finish I was hoping for from previous weeks and it was great to have our team pull together well and get a podium result. Along with these points I ended up Third overall in the standings for the series to have a fantastic start to a season I am looking forward to with so many fun weekends coming up!