The Keith Berger race is special to me because it's an opportunity once a year to reflect on the passing of a good friend, former teammate, and fierce sprinter who was taken from us too early by Hodgkin's Lymphoma.
As a race, I have always been frustrated by poor results, but I knew this year would be different as my form was peaking for the annual Crit week. The venue changed from the previous East Hartford location to the familiar New Britain Walnut Park, and Jeremy and I showed up with a good mix of local fast guys. It was good to see Keith's brother Chris Berger at the start, saying a few words about our friend, and former teammates Max and Trent were announcing the race.
The race was fast and hard, never negative, and despite repeated attempts to force a break, it stayed all stayed together until 5 laps to go. 2 racers were allowed to get away, but it became apparent that their move was serious, and several teams drove the pace to bring them back. Still, with 1 lap to go, they had 15 seconds and were riding towards victory. I made a well planned attack, with Jeremy covering me, and crossed the gap down the finishing straight. Fortunately for me, the duo were at their limit, and I was able to take the win - a fitting tribute to Keith.