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April 17, 2017

Team Wisconsin Kicks Off WCA Road Season

April 8th and 9th Race Weekend Report

Written by Spencer Kruse

This past weekend was filled with windy action packed racing in both Madison and South Beloit.  Both races featured very strong fields and extremely fast racing considering the “beginning of the season” nature of the races.  The WCA season kicked off on April 2nd with the rainy GDVC #1 criterium.  Rainy and cold weather reduced the field size making it difficult to gauge just how strong riders will be this season.  This past weekend we had a much better chance to see who has been putting in hard work over the winter, and who’s still trying to work off those Christmas cookies.

The racing began with Saturday’s GDVC #2 criterium taking place at the research park criterium course, a course the vast majority of WCA racers are familiar with.  With a strong field of 29 riders toeing the line the racing was sure to be intense.  As soon as the racing was under way a flurry of attacks began to jump off the front.  Brain and I tried to make sure we had a representative in these early moves in case they would stick.  Around 15 minutes in a group of two riders were beginning to get a gap at the front and the move was looking promising.  I was able to jump across the gap solo and few laps later 3 more riders joined us off the front.  In the end the front group came down to 5 riders representing KS Energy/Team Wisconsin, 801 West Madison, Intelligentsia, and GDVC.  With representatives from the largest teams and strong riders in the break the move was guaranteed to stick.  With 15 minutes remaining in the race our breakaway lapped the field turning the race back into a field sprint situation.  I made sure to stay placed near the front in the final laps and remain attentive, making sure none of my breakaway companions got away again.  The racing remained fast until the end with huge amounts of work being done by Brian and team 801 W. Madison.  I was able to secure 3rd place out of my breakaway group in the field sprint for another podium.

 

The Saturday Men’s P1/2/3 podium

On Sunday we took to the Blackhawk Farms Raceway in South Beloit for a windy race on the 1.9 mile race course.  The wide open course and long straights in the crosswind ensured that the racing would be difficult for everyone.  54 riders took to the course in the P/1/2/3 race with KS Energy/ Team Wisconsin represented by Brian Rach, Matt Bohm, and I.  The large team of the day was xXx Racing from the Chicago area bringing 6 strong riders.  After a fast start to the racing a few pairs of tired legs began to show themselves allowing for a breakaway of two riders to get a gap off the front.  The move contained a xXx racing rider meaning their team would be content watching it roll away.  Brian and I noticed this opportunity and he put in a massive turn of work at the front in the crosswind section sheltering me while stringing out the field single-file.  With everyone strung out and cross-eyed from their efforts I used the opportunity to attack and close the gap to the two leaders.  Two riders came across the gap with me resulting in a breakaway of 5 riders (I guess 5 is the lucky breakaway number) with 2 riders from xXx Racing which ensured we wouldn’t be chased.  After some very strong pulls we had created a huge gap on the field before things came down to a tactical game of cat and mouse.  With three laps to go the first of the attacks came from one of the xXx Racing riders.  He was pulled back with two laps to go and things slowed down significantly as we all looked at each other.  We slowly rounded the track until half a lap to go when the next attack came.  This time it was a dummy attack from Jarret Oldham from First Internet Bank looking to test what we had in the legs.  No gaps were opened and again we all looked at each other.  I then swung wide looking for a slow rolling attack on the far side of the road before opening up full gas.  I hoped a long attack with the strong tailwind would allow me to hold any gap that I could get with this attack.  As I flew into the final corner I put my head down and gave it everything but was passed by three of breakaway riders with 100 meters or so to go leaving me in one spot off the podium in 4th.  

Team Wisconsin working together in the road race

Overall it was another fun weekend of racing.  With the UW guys currently tearing up the collegiate scene Brian and I are trying our best to get results with just the two of us.  So far the season is looking promising and we can’t wait to have the UW guys dishing out some pain at the local WCA races.

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