Calling for Volunteers.....

Me and Liam just couldn't help it but to show up and to help out Hernan to clear out the weed during the middle of the racing season in June 2018.

On behalf of the NYC racing community, I would like to thank Hernan for volunteering to help out in clearing out the weed at FBF, as well as patching up some of the potholes during the middle of the racing season in June, 2018. I know Hernan, HC Luke, are not seeking recognition for his volunteerism. And it isn’t the purpose of this blog segment either. The purpose of this blog segment is to highlight him as a racer as well as what he has done to improve the race course condition at FBF. Hopefully, in the future, he would get more supports from more riders, racers, and race promoters in order to help him to finish the job quicker, instead of taking days.

Hernan didn’t get involved in cycling or racing until he graduated from college with a lower back injury caused by playing in the Division 1 lacrosse. His chiropractor recommended him to take up cycling as ways to keep himself active. Cycling is less of an impact sport for the body. In the summer 2009, he was invited to participate in a charity ride honoring and commemorating the first responders in 9/11. The total ride distance was 300+ miles over 4 consecutive days. You can say that he was hooked. His ride was sponsored by his long time bike shop, Mineola Bicycle Fitness and Mower. In the same year, he was encouraged by the shop owner, Barry, to join the newly formed Mineola Bicycle racing team. Hernan declined the invitation because he felt he lacked the fitness to compete while his back was slowly healing from the lower back injury. In 2010, he did another long distance charity ride from NY to Washington DC and, again, Mineola Bicycle Fitness and Mower was his sponsor as well. He didn’t join the newly formed Mineola Bicycle racing team until he moved back to NY from NJ in 2012.

Hernan was hooked to racing when he first attended a FBF race as a spectator. He became a Cat 5 racer soon after in 2012. After his slightly embarrassing first race as a Cat 5, he realized he needed training and coaching to compete at the highest level he could able to. Today, he is a Cat 3 and racing for the Mineola Bicycle racing team, and frequently racing with the Pro123 and Cat3/4 fields as well. He is thoroughly enjoying what cycling has been given him since he has the opportunities to ride in many countries and meeting and riding with many different professional cyclists and racers from all over the world.

Hernan racing in the Master field in one of the HH Racing Thursday FBF Race Series races.

Hernan racing with the Pro123 field at the Saturday race series sponsored by the Verrazano Racing team.

Out of the sense of urgency and necessity, Hernan decided to clear out some of the weed and patching up some of the potholes at FBF, out of his own expenses and free time. To him and most of the racers, the weed condition was becoming more dangerous since tires are slipping underneath. The potholes were getting bigger and deeper and causing flats as well. It was even more so when the HH Racing Thursday FBF Race Series was racing in the reverse course. According to Hernan, he bought maybe 6 bags of 50lbs Cold Patch Cement to patch up some of the bigger and deeper potholes. He spent over maybe 5 to 6 days to clear out the weed at the section in between turn 3 and 4. When he posted what he has done on his FB timeline, me and Liam went down to help him out. To my “horror,” I quickly realized the enormous task which was ahead of us trying to clear out a mile long runway section with a single weed whacker/trimmer!!!! I spent couple of hours helping out but it felt like we didn’t do much, really. He has only one weed whacker/trimmer, and 3 1 gallon size weed killers. According to Hernan, only few riders, if any, came out to help him out a week later.

Using one weed whacker/trimmer to clear all of the weed on this mile long enormous, impossible task.

Hernan is replacing another whack line because nylon tends to wear out quicker brushing against the concrete pavement, at some 1k RPM.

There are over 100 riders and racers in NYC frequently racing in FBF. Surely, there should be more than a handful of volunteers, if any, to come out and to help him. By highlighting what he has done to improve the race course condition at FBF, I am hoping the entire NYC racing community, including HH Racing, would lend their supports in the 2019 season. We need couple of weed whackers/trimmers, not just one. We would probably need a crew of volunteers to finish the job quicker. The overgrown weed issue is even more of a problem for us HH Racing because, more than likely, the horse shoe turn will come back again next year. That area needs to be cleared as well. We did toy with the idea of having his brother-in-law repaving the entire FBF, hypothetically. His brother-in-law owns an asphalt company, fyi. The likelihood for that to happen would be extremely slim of course since FBF is a Federal property. Is ok to dream…of course. Hey, I was once asked about if having a velodrome built in FBF, indoor or outdoor, is possible….

My last question for Hernan was about our HH Racing Thursday FBF Race Series and what he liked or didn’t like. He was racing in the master field and totally enjoyed racing with some of the finest master racers. He loved the late edition horse shoe turn. He is hoping that, by 2019, we would have improved our finishing placing process, and to make sure everyone has placed, not DNF.

Hernan racing at the last race of the HH Racing Thursaday FBF Race Series, July 19, with the horse shoe turn.

Go to Mineola Bicycle Fitness and Mower for more information about joining the Mineola Bicycle Club and their race team.

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