New England Junior Cyclists return from The USA Cycling National Track Championships in Pennsylvania
Half way through the summer cycling season, four junior New England Track Cyclists made their debut appearance at the hotly contested, US Junior National Track Championships in Trexlertown, Pennsylvania.
Native Massachusetts’ riders Tom and Peter Goguen, along with New Hampshire residents, Ben Lambert and Alex Lehman were the four riders who decided to make the six-hour drive to pit their skills against the nation’s best. The juniors regularly train and race at the Northeast Velodrome and Cycling Park in Londonderry, New Hampshire were undecided about going until Track Director Kurt Begemann, strongly encouraged them to.
“Until we get a Velodrome built in New England, Nationals will never be as close as it is in Trexlertown,” said Begemann. “For that reason and the simple reason of gaining experience at the top level of the sport, are reasons alone, people should consider attending.”
With Junior programs in their infancy at the Northeast Velodrome, some people thought it premature to send riders so new to the discipline of track, to a national Championship. Not so, says Begemann.
Both Tom and Peter Goguen are sponsored riders who race for Team CF, a cycling team focused on bringing awareness to, and finding a cure for, the disease of Cystic Fibrosis. Both these youngsters have competed at high levels in the cycling disciplines of cyclocross and road racing. Alex Lehman and Ben Lambert are top-level ski racers who also participate in the New England Road Cycling League, where private and public secondary school cycling teams located throughout Northern New England, compete against each other for individual and team awards.
“All four of these athletes are no strangers to competing at high level competition. They compete in the other disciplines of cycling such as road and cyclocross, which due to their bigger fields, have a larger depth of field, so they know where they stand in those disciplines compared to other riders.”
“Our track program is small, so the only point of reference these guys will have, as to how good they are, is if they go to “the show” and see where they stand,” said Begemann. And they did not disappoint.
Peter Goguen competed in the 13 – 14 age category and finished 12th out of 32 competitors in the 500 meter Time Trial. He also competed in the scratch race where he broke away from the field, only to be caught and passed by the pack within the last two laps of the race. A truly gutsy performance.
The three remaining riders competed in the 15 – 16 age category where both Alex and Ben finished 22nd and 30th respectively out of 37 riders in their 500 meter Time Trials, and Tom Goguen finished 28th out of 40 riders in the match sprint competition.
“Considering that these guys were racing against the best riders in the country who train and race at Velodromes with large, established programs, these guys did just fine,” said Begemann. “It shows a lot of promise for the future. Now we’ve just gotta focus on getting more riders into our program.”
As we enter the second half of the Track Cycling Season, these riders along with half a dozen other juniors will put the final preparation down as they prepare for the New England State Junior Track Cycling Championships on August 14th at the Northeast Velodrome and Cycling Park. This is only the 2nd year Junior States is being held, and if all the junior riders attend who have been frequenting the track so far this season, then the junior program alone will have experienced a 200% growth spurt. Not bad for a program in it’s first year.
Spectator admission is free and racing begins at 9 a.m. on the 14th of August. Check www.northeastvelo.com for more details.