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Snelling Road Race and Merced Crit - 2.27-28.10

posted Mar 1, 2010, 10:51 AM by Tyler Wertenbruch
Saturday was Snelling road race. About 80 miles of rough pavement, rolling hills, and a 110 rider p/1/2 field. There was a hectic 3 mile neutral roll to the course with some people running off the road and heading into oncoming traffic trying to get better position for the chaos that was sure to ensue. After 10 minutes or so of this, the moto ref gave us the go and the race was on. 35 mph straight from the gun, the pack was strung out single file within seconds going over the first few rollers and at the bottom of the FIRST ONE, 300 meters into the race, I saw 2 or 3 riders catapulting through the air about 40 riders in front of me. I slammed on my brakes hard along with much of the field as 30 to 40 riders went down, completely blocking the road.  It was carnage like you see in the epic TDF crashes and I did a smooth cyclocross style dismount, ran through the bodies and bikes and remounted, only problem was i was in my 53x11 so it took me a minute to get on top of it. There was a group of maybe 25 riders in front of the crash and they were pinning it trying to stay away. (Not the best race ettiquite for you races out there...) A group of 10-15 riders and I pinned it hard for 8-10 miles and eventually bridged back up but the race was over for probably 30 riders who were involved in the crash or got caught behind it. The rest of the race was textbook with moves coming and going until 60 miles or so a group of 10 big hitters got off the front and made it stick. They ended up shelling about half the riders from the break, but Bissell, Yahoo, Jelly Belly, and Cal Giant were still represented. We chased pretty hard, but the gap stayed around 1-2 minutes. On the last lap with about 6 miles to go another group of 5 got off the front with all the big teams represented, so a field sprint was on for like 10th place. I ended up 25th overall in the sprint, so not bad, but missed the two big moves.

Sunday was the Merced crit. About 35-40 miles (a long crit) around a very technical, aweful pavement, bot-dot riddled course. The field was only about 50 riders this time but Yahoo still had 12 riders out there... Sigh... Breaks came and went and I chose the wrong one to be in. After I was off the front for a few laps with a few guys we got brought back and the couterattack was the 9 riders move that stuck. The break hung around 10-15 seconds for most of the race, but we just couldn't quite bring it back. I made a hard dig with 7 to go hoping to catch people off guard and was off the front for 2 laps with a group of 4 of us, but two of the other riders exploded and Evan Huffman (yahoo) and I ended getting reeled back in. A few other moves were neutralized in the last few laps and Yahoo set up a nice lead out train in the last lap. I was sticking on Chris Blacks wheel for a nice leadout fighting a few guys for it but ended up loosing it with about a km left! (my bad). I had to drill it the last 800 meters or so to try and make up some position and ended up passing 8-10 guys in the last 500 meters and ended up 12th or 13th. Probably could have won the field sprint if I had just stayed on that wheel...

Cheers

Blake Anton
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