This excellent recap by Joel Mason of the famed Snake Alley Criterium this last Memorial Day weekend was submitted in a timely manner but the posting of the pictures and the report were delayed. Sorry for the in activity - hope to get things posted in a more timely manner.
"I raced the Masters 40+ race today and WOW! There were some fast guys in that race. I came in 25 out of 30. I know my placing stinks, but I actually felt good about that since it was the first time I'd ever been there and the competition was so good. I got 2 practice laps in before the race. Furthermore, I had a rough week this past week with my Meniere's disease, needing heavy sedation on a number of occasions, including yesterday. Lots of Cat 2's, and 3's in that race. Even at 25th place, my points for the race were 196, which was lower than the first place for the Cat 4 race, which I thought was interesting. Then again, that may mean absolutely nothing. Here are some observations:
1. I loved my 25 mm Vittoria Open Corsa race tires on the new wide rimmed Aeolus 5 carbon clinchers, run at 90 psi to give me some sponginess in the corners. However, since I had never been in a crit before, I was hesitant the first half of the race. By the second half of the race, I was able to scream through corners without braking and I really started to feel comfortable. I hit 33 mph, but I'm sure others were hitting higher speeds in and out of corners. With more practice, I'd feel more comfortable. In a race like that, I think that's absolutely essential and I was distanced more than once that way after passing riders on the snake. The other guys knew how to corner and I was learning.
2. Unfortunately, my goal of not getting lapped was lost. I was caught on the snake on the 10th trip up, which means I only completed 11 laps of the 12.
3. Even though I think I'm a decent climber, I don't think that race is really about climbing. I think it's about strength. There's no wonder to me why so many cyclocross racers race that one. That's exactly what it felt like - a cyclocross race on pavement.
4. Major advice for anyone doing Snake Alley - Bring a trainer to warm-up! The downtown area is not ideal - I did not find a good place to do a controlled warm up and that would have helped. Next time, I'll bring my trainer. Man, I saw lots of teams from all over the place with tents, trailers, banks of trainers, you name it. That was definitely an 'A' event. Organization was excellent - really cool to be a part of.
Tom Klenske is riding really strong and he did really well in the 50+ race. We all can be proud of him. Also, he is now riding an absolutely beautiful Merckx carbon bicycle with Ultegra and HED Ardennes wheels. It's really sweet. Alijah Beatty was incredible - she won her race in elegant fashion.
Well, I guess I'll just keep training and hoping. Tuesday night rides seem to start having some life. Maybe I can do another one of those this week. Take care, Spokes."
Great Racing Joel and Tom - well done. Word has it that the Tuesday night rides are indeed world championships with Joel on top. Very good to see so many Twisted Spokes out there.