Rider Diary: On the Road with Sergio Hernandez, Team Predator – Delray Beach Twilight Festival

The Delray Beach Twilight Festival was a jammed packed weekend of CompuTrainer race’s, Health and Fitness Expo vendors, Kids races, Pro and Amateur race’s, which brought out your everyday cyclist as well as your passer by enjoying their day in the amazing Delray Beach Downtown area. The weather was perfect again for the second weekend in Florida.

After spending the week in Claremont, Florida, we headed to Delray Beach on a Friday morning to make the CompuTrainer races, which was the first even of “The Delray Beach Twilight Festival”. My Team Predator Carbon Repair teammates Jean-Michel, Emile Abraham, Gevan Samuel and I all entered the event. Not being the biggest fan of trainers to begin with and it being my first CompuTrainer race, I really didn’t know what to expect, except I was about to put myself in a world of pain and not even go anywhere. Hmmm, well here we go. After warming up for about 15 minutes, we where off cranking away looking at a screen showing our speed, watts, and so on. It was like playing that horse race game at the fair where you have to make a ball in a hole to make the horse move expect we had to inflict pain on ourself to make this horsey move, ha ha. I was surprised to finish in 3rd and Jean-Michel won the heat! Only the 8 best times of the day would move onto the finals. Jean-Michel went on to the final’s and came out in 4th winning himself some prize money and a call up for Saturday night’s race.

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Downtown Delray Beach was crack’n Saturday night, so many people were out and the race caught everybody’s eye! I couldn’t tell you how many people were spectating, but It was more than any night time crit I’d ever done. The start was crazy fast from the gun! A dangerous break got away from lap one. However, by lap 3, officials had to stop the race after a big crash caused a huge pile up and blocked the entire road. Attacks were consistent making the race average 30 mph and hard to move up as well. Smart Stop Mountain-Khakis were caught sleeping at the start line and spent the first quarter of the race pulling back the break. After that no breaks could stay away due to the speed of the peloton. With the United Healthcare team controlling the front with 15 laps to go, it was pretty difficult for myself, Jean-Michel and Emile to keep good positions and stay together with dangerous riders chopping the field at every corner. With 2 laps to go, I moved myself and Emile up just behind the blue train of UHC but with 3 turns to go we had to lock up the brakes around one of the tight corners and just like that we were out of position finishing up in 17th and 18th.

Day 2 was the Amateur race which was in an industrial area of Delray Beach where the team had a much better race! With two swooping turns, two tight turns and 20+ mph winds, it was by far one of the windiest crit’s I have ever done and from the gun breaks were forming. With the speed and wind, riders legs started to feel the effects from the night before. Emile and I made a decisive move forming a large break of 12 or so riders. I eventually split off the front of that group as some riders did not want to work with Emile helping to slow the rest down. My group eventually gained a huge gap… At this point the peloton had split into 5 or 6 groups. My group eventually lapped the field and proceeded off the front again also lapping Emile’s group bringing Jean-Michel with us. With another group of 5 riders behind my break threatening to take a lap as well, Emile and Jean-Michel without any help from the other teams rode their hearts out to reel in the rest of the groups that were off the front. It all was a bit confusing knowing who had lapped the field and who was getting lapped, but at the end my group of five had lapped everyone at least once. Preparing for the sprint finish “Team Predator” again went to the front with three to go to keep me out of trouble. Miss timing the finish “Team Foundation” got the jump and went into the last turn just underneath us. Joe Lewis of “Hincapie Sportswear Development” came away with the win, Rafael Meran “Team Foundation” in 2nd and myself rounding out the podium in 3rd.

After three weeks on the road and finishing up three big race weekends, I’m happy to be heading back home to LA where I’ll start preparing for the Redlands Bicycle Classic. Be sure to come out to Redlands to cheer for “Team Predator Carbon Repair” we promise to put on a big show for ya’ll.

Thanks for reading!

Watch the Delray Beach Twilight Festival Video Feed

Rider Diary and Photos by Sergio Hernandez, Team Predator Carbon Repair

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