2016-02-20 Snelling Road Race Report by Chris Morris and John Novikoff
First let me say 70 degrees my ass! Our race started at 12:20 in the second wave, it was dang cold! We had 100 pre registered riders and most showed up at the start. Most of the main teams showed up with their full squad, R4R, Coretech, Hammer, Peets, Morgan Stanley, Audi, etc. it was a stacked field with all the local celebrities. Don Langley, Kevin Metcalf, Dan Martin and about a dozen more. This is going to be Awesome! Most of us were under dressed for the weather and were freezing. The wind was picking up too. But It did not take long to warm up. Representing Folsom Bike at the start were Steve McCaw, Marty Cunningham, Todd Dambly, Mark Fiori and Chris Morris. A great turnout by the Team. We were ready. The not so “neutral” rollout was as white knuckle as it always is, everyone jockeying for position. The minute we were released, the pace shot up. The first lap was wicked fast, thanks to Dan Martin. I imagine about 25% of the field was taken out of the equation, attacks were happening back to back. Top speeds 34 mph. My body was turned inside out, can’t speak for the rest of the group. Second lap mellowed just a touch, the remaining laps were full gas. Most break attempts were easily dispatched, and McCaw was on the front chasing everything down, but lap 3 a small break was established. At the turn at Los Cerritos heading down the fast section a strong group got off the front, it was a dangerous break that included the strongest riders from Coretech, Audi, Peets, Morgan Stanley, looked to be about 7 guys. I am riding pretty hard trying to get to the front when I realize Audi and others are just pacing the pack when one of the Audi guys volunteers that they are not working because Fonseca is in the break. Crap! I can see them and start winding up when Tait Smith, RIO, goes to bridge hard and a R4R is behind him, I grab the back of them and we hit the hill hard when the R4R cuts me off on the hill and slows. After a few choice exchanges I see Tait taking off and I pin it after him. I catch him on the second hill and he is smoked. I look back and see no one, I am almost at the break and keep rolling when a second group bridges to us and we catch them before the turn. Ok match burned. Someone pulls up to me when the pack catches and says “Morris, you putting on a bubble blowing show for us with snot from your nose” yea that kinda match. I notice Dan Martin pulls to the side and he is out, mechanical, Kevin Metcalf I believe stops for him. Pace keeps going. I look to do inventory of the Team, I know where McCaw is be as he is up front protecting and dealing it out. Todd was keeping up with us, but had enough after Lap 3, I learned Fiori flatted, no sign of Marty. I knew Marty was with us because we were both hanging out mid pack together. But Marty disappeared, I thought maybe he had a mechanical and he did, it was apparently a bio-mechanical, he had to stop for a second, such is the life as a Super Master 👍, been there done that. So we head into the bell lap, I think we’ll I better get up there with McCaw. So I push and surf to grab his wheel. I soon realize what a great rider Steve is, and how he is smaller than me. I am very comfortable on his wheel, but that dude is slippery! He is finding space where there is none! I have to squeeze through before the opportunity closes. We get to the front and make the right turn on Los Cerritos, the pace is smoking and we are in a good spot, I am literally fighting for Steve’s wheel as we hit the rollers we are still in a good. The pace is super fast and Steve and I are in a good spot on the right, but I see an opportunity on the left, Heaton, Stockwell, Coretech, Hammer and it is picking up so I shoot over and yell for Steve to follow. We are at 2k and I am in a great position, I know Heaton is going to go for it, he shoots to the inside I look and it closes, damn, still in a great spot about 10 back. A few shuffles and hit the 1k still good spot and I have plenty in the tank. Going to be a fast sprint. I hesitate so I can save something for the hill finish. That cost me. Lost a couple of spots and ended up 16. Yeah Heaton won. I knew that was the right wheel. Tally at the end, only 48 finishers. I am convinced our 45 + Masters are holding our own against the best out there. Cheers!
–Race Report by John Novikoff–
Race Report Snelling:
I was coaxed into doing this race by Steve Thomsen who said he and Jim would go, and that it fills up fast so I better register. Having only done this race once as a Cat4 and hearing the windy, rain soaked horror stories of years past…I was going to pass. But register I did, and down to Snelling I drove leaving at 4am.
I got there my usual 1 hour too early and milled about with access to unused port-a-potties. Being early does have it benefits. I made the call to race in a light jacket and pinned my number on. In attendance was Steve Thomsen, Jim Herzman, Brian Brown, Michael Claudio and myself. Plan was to get our guys in the break and block accordingly. My role would be to sit in, and if it came down to a pack finish, to be fresh.
The pace on the first lap was pretty lively, but things settled down. I stayed near the front as I didn’t want to be caught up in any crashes or miss a split due to some wind on the course. It wasn’t physically expensive to do so. I drifted towards the back on lap three as things seemed to be relatively relaxed, but apparently this is when the break just simply rolled off the front represented by Peets Coffee Racing, Team Stand, Specialized/Touchstone and Chico Masters. Fielding large teams were Mikes Bikes, Squadra, and Thirsty Bear with no representation in the break yet they seemed content as the race went up the road. A quick organization of the three including some help from us and others, would have reeled the break in, but not to be. I had no idea there was even a break up the road unfortunately which leads to some disappointment later. I would have started pushing the point with the other teams if I was aware.
As I was under the impression we were all together, I found Michael Claudio towards the front and on the last lap made sure I stayed top 10. The usual suspects were there, Espy, Baker, Sayers…I knew staying up front would pay off when the pace was upped on the road leading to the final corner. And so it did. Michael and I stayed close but there was much shuffling going on. The group had a pretty good pace going into the corner, I took the inside line and grabbed Sayers wheel leading up to the finish. I was 6 deep in a perfect spot and hit it when the guys started to slow due to the hill. I came around all but Chris Baker to finish 2nd ( in the field Sprint). I was making up ground, but he had a pretty good charge to the line.
Having thought I just got us a podium for 2nd, Michael broke the news that there four were up the road and it was a 6thplace for us. I was still happy. We got the coveted ugly Snelling T-shirt.
I saw much action from all the guys, attacking, chasing stuff down and having a great time.
Another fun day racing with the Folsom Bike/Trek/Raleys Team!