Snelling Road Race 35+ Cat 4: 6th Place

2015-Snelling-sprint2

IC3 Teammates:

Serge Plasschaert
Sam Paik
Rich Beeler

By: Dan Schaefer

 

 

It was 25 years since I last visited Snelling as my fist race ever (I recall dense fog, a fall and a DNF). A full field of 70 greeted us at the start. Our strategy was to get in a break rather than wait for the final sprint. After lasts weeks crash spectacular, we were all a bit nervous.

After the neutral start the speed wounded up quickly. Having a closed course had its benefits and issues. The bunching in the pack made being in the middle nerve racking as the typical gapping and crossing wheels was evident with sometimes 8-10 riders un-abreast. The wider roads allowed for constant movement either going forward or back.

The first lap was uneventful and I stretched my legs a little on the second lap getting to the front and getting into a short lived break. On the third lap one of the Berkeley guys launched off the front causing a mad scramble and chase. Where before I thought the pace easygoing I was now having to work. The fourth lap started similarly.

At the feed two or three guys shot off the front. The pack hesitated but didn’t chase. Soon another tried to solo up to the lead but after 3 or 4 miles in the bumpy section dropped back. Going into the second to last bender I overlooked the turn and ended up in the grass shoulder and had to hop back on the road. Serge and I were side by side and he confirmed the breakaway in front. Immediately thereafter he flatted and missed the finish excitement.

I had decided during the second lap that I wanted to be on the right side on the hill sprint. I spotted the Big K guy who had won Coppertown and tried to get his wheel. As some fell back I lost his wheel but keep moving forward seated on the short climb to the finish. Near the line I surged for the line and crossed with at least three others with three a bike length in front.

I thought it was good for a top ten with the breakaway in front until the race results (6th) which showed those guys not part of our race.

Lessens learned:

1. Don’t assume you know what is happening especially with so many fields racing a closed course
2. Stay near the front where it is safe rather than the middle of mid pack where it feels easy but always sketchy
3. Always finish strong

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