2010 Keith Berger Memorial Criterium

Today, I watched teammate, Gary Aspnes, win the 40+ division at the Keith Berger Memorial Criterium in East Hartford, Connecticut. This is about as close to a hometown race as you get. With Horst Engineering based in East Hartford, it was awesome to see a huge showing of Horst-Benidorm-Property Research Corp. Masters Cycling Team members. The support paid huge dividends with the most significant victory of Gary’s cycling career.

He took the 25 mile race in fine fashion. He was instrumental in forming a 12 man move early in the race that stayed away from the rest of the field. Then, with about five laps to go, he made the move again, this time with a companion, Ed Angeli. Ed is an alumnus of Team Horst, so we sort of had the break covered. The two of them motored away from their small group. I was in the last corner for the last three laps, screaming at him, “Think good thoughts!” That is the same mantra that my old friend and teammate, Roger Nauth, yelled at me one time when I was in a similar two man move at the Rocky Hill Criterium. It paid off for me, so I thought it would pay off for Gary. He led out the final sprint and had too much for Ed, winning by a length. He was ecstatic. I was ecstatic. The team was ecstatic.

This race is a memorial to Keith Berger, who was a fixture on the local cycling scene. He was a fierce competitor who I enjoyed battling with. He raced on several area teams during his career, including the Capital Velo Club. CVC did a fine job putting on another good criterium at Founders Plaza. Sadly, Keith was a victim of cancer, at a very young age. Racing hard is the best thing that many of us can do to remember Keith.

Gary’s win was a Sunday highlight and is long overdue. He has shown dramatic improvement this year. He has a massive engine, so it was nice to see him put it all together with a big team to help him. Wade Summers made a huge effort to bridge to the initial breakaway. Having two riders in the break ensured that it stayed away. Having another six riders back in the pack (Arlen Zane Wenzel, Ted Donofrio, Wayne Prescott, Ian Sinclair, Thom Reid, and Matt Domnarski) helped matters too. There is a lot of strategy in cycling and today, the team executed perfectly.

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