Yesterday the MNSCS kicked off at Harmon Park in Inver Grove Heights. This is the first of the ten race series. I will be honest here…I wasn’t looking forward to the race, not because the single track is boring…it is actually very fast and flows well. The reason I was a little skeptical was the fact that there were no hills or any obvious way to split up the field before hitting the fun singletrack. Well, I have to hand it to the guys at MORC who set up the prologue. They found a way to maximize the lead out given the space that they had, which made all the difference.
Ok, on to the race...we lined up with a ~45 man deep expert field…including the likes of Paul Hanson, Justin Rinehart, Doug Swanson, TJ Woodruff, Chris Fisher, Jay Richards, Hollywood. The list could go on. Like I said, the prologue did a good job of splitting us up. Hollywood gave us the ceremonial lead out with Doug, Justin, Chris, Ben (my bro) and myself following close behind. By the time we hit the single track the order was Doug, Chris and I with Hollywood, Ben, and Justin right behind. A ferociously fast first lap put us all in the hurt, but much to my surprise, the field split up quickly. I was really expecting long lines of riders that would stay together for the entire race. 2/3 of the way through the first lap, Doug was starting to get away, so Chris let me by. I had to put in an effort, maybe to much of one, to catch him. When I caught him I rode comfortably for about a lap. Doug would slip away a little on the flats, and I would reel him back on twisty stuff. Chris yo-yoed off us by 10-15 seconds…in the second lap Doug started to turn the screws and I didn’t want to over do it so early. I let him go a little, but not out of site. The 3rd through 5th laps were pretty uneventful. I just put my head down and pedaled hard, and I tried to ride the sometimes silly-twisty singletrack as smoothly as possible. I was about 30-45 seconds from Doug and Chris was the same distance back from me.
At the beginning of the last lap, the gap to Doug had grown to 1 minute…I didn’t let up. I knew the gap was getting bigger to Chris, but I couldn’t tell if he had some reserves left for that last lap. In the end it was a quiet solo finish for second place 30 seconds behind Doug and 1:30 back to Chris. The biggest surprise/thrill for me was seeing Ben cross in 4th. He put a move on Hollywood and Justin in the last lap and soloed it home...check out the picture of the move.
Jen got the biggest smile award on the day=)
If you consider the fact that Chris is going to join the Velo Rochester team (he just needs a jersey when our new team kits arrive=), Velo Rochester took 2,3,4 at the race…SWEET!
Results are posted here: http://www.mnscs.com/html/raceresults.asp
Thanks to my wife Jen for doing handoffs for 5 different racers!
Next up is Buck Hill on Thursday….no race planned for next weekend. What the heck are we gonna do? =)