2015 Navy Yard Criterium 04/04/2015 - By Steven Wentworth

Steve Laps Fields in Group of 4 at 2015 Navy Yard

Race day for me started at 0600 in the morning. Windy, sunny, and yet a little chill in the air. Racing at 1630 in the afternoon is not an easy feat. You have a lot going against you during this time, and nothing more was going to go against me than the 30 mph head winds we had all day long.

With my day starting at turn one it would end about 10 hours later at that same spot. See, I invited my friends and family. So I would have more of an obligation to try and strive for a great result. This race for me has been nothing but tough the past two years I have toed the line. My first year I was in a break away with Keith Hatton, and the next year I was pulled from the race. This year would be nothing like the last.

Talking to Dave he was positive that if I kept the pace up it would eventually break up into small groups, and that's what I did. With the worst possible starting position to pull this move off, I fought my way from middle pack to ¾ the way up front. While sitting in this position I was trying to not focus on the harsh pain in my legs from the lactic acid. Everything in my legs were screaming at me to just stop and lay on the ground and eat three pies of pizza. The good thing about me being stubborn, is I kept going, going right to the front. Right when I thought I was going to pop... they popped and I was set free. With the order from Dave to drill it I kept it up. I was now in a two man break that was just off the front hanging on. With the pain setting in even deeper and battling a nasty head wind, I looked over my shoulder to see that Will Cooper was bridging the gap. Thinking to myself "thank God this break is going to stick". I for sure didn't see it doing as well as it did. With myself and Will taking long pulls the third man in the break was hanging on for dear life. None of us would attack, we wouldn't say alive in a headwind like that. With the good portion of racing done and over with, we only had about 5 laps to go, having already lapped the remnants of the field with our group of four. At the point where I thought I could hang on for the rest of the race, Will put in a little surge that was just too much for me or the other escapees to handle...  then... wait, another rider on the lead lap (David Guttenplan) set off after Will. Trying to bridge that small attack from Will was not going to happen for me. I had spent too much energy pulling and drilling it to make this work now. So I sat up and waited for the group that we lapped to pick me back up. Sitting in with that group I didn't have to do anything but mark the third man from the break. With every surge, every attack that came from the other guys in this small break my legs and lungs screamed for a break. Bell lap was a faster pace than I would have liked it at the pain level I was in. Marking the man into turn 5 and still his wheel till turn 6 was a great mark. I thought I might have him and for the split second that the sprint started I was catching him. It seemed impossible that I was in fact gaining on him, but with the likes of my VO2 max had had its limit. I crossed the line in 4th place for the day. Although its not the result I was looking for, it was a result that helped me in my quest of upgrading to Cat 1, and it was great to represent my team and my teammates. Family is everything.