Snelling Road Race ~ are you ready for this?
Who knows what the weather will end up being for this Saturday’s mysteriously popular Snelling Road Race. There could be rain, there could be snow … hell, there could be frogs dropping from the sky, for all I know. But, racers will show ~ and punish themselves by under-dressing against the chilled rain, or smothering all fashion sense with layers of uber-poof jackets and rubbermaid rain capes.
Snelling is a bit of Belgium-lite racing for us Norcal softies. The race has windblown a few riders sideways on more than a few occassions, and pummeled many a carbonium frame into submission with well placed potholes and wheel seeking rocks strategically landmined. But mostly, it’s Belgy-like because Snelling is Norcal’s early season proving grounds for the hard riders … with speeds, distances, and aggression whipping the cream of the year’s crop to surface, giving all an early taste of what’s to come.
This year’s edition looks to have a strong chance of rain, but winds barely reaching the teens. The 8am waves will have temps below freezing … which will likely reduce field sizes significantly. But, with the pre-reg requirements now in full effect and providing cash in hand to the promoter, they won’t mind too much.
Which brings me to Bullshit Promoter Point #1: adding a $7 penalty for week-of ONLINE REGISTRATION. From the race flyer, registeration:
On-line at www.sportsbaseonline.com, from January 11, 2011 7pm PST to February 20, 2011 for above fees plus on-line surcharge. From Feb 21-23 the fee on-line is $7 additional. No on-line entry after midnight PST Wednesday Feb 23.
Adding a $7 fee for registering online in the week before an event is ridiculous. The deadline for reg is 3 days before the race … how much time does one need to print out the reg sheets and prepare?
The additional fee is crappier than the roadgrimed effluvium we’ll be wiping off our faces from those cowpattied country bumpkin roads.
P1/2 … Yahoo deleted
The CalGiant Berries are fielding a 14-strong team for the Snelling RR. Which brings me to Bullshit Promoter Point #2: limit your team sizes to 10 per field, for f*cks sake.
Having more than 10 riders per team, per field is asking for trouble. It negatively impacts more than just racing tactics – it also screws with the safety of a race, especially in a race buffeted by winds and diving through narrow sections of road. If you’ve got 6 riders blocking the front end of a field, with 6 more attacking to form a break … chaos will ensue with other riders/teams jostling for position and advancement. Honestly, I think 8 riders per team, per field should be the maximum for local races … but, getting a promoter to stop extorting a $7 week-of online reg fee is about as likely as getting them to stop sucking down race entry fees no matter if it inhibits the quality or safety of an event.
Now, I loves me some CalGiant – great team, great organization, great launching pad for young riders looking to make the commitment to the life. But, until a promoter like Velopromo gets their eyes off their wallet, maybe we’ll need to police ourselves.
Speaking of policing ourselves … how about we don’t have another 30 rider mash-up in the first kilometer of Snelling this year? Last year, under peaceful skies and relatively mild winds … a quarter of the field fell on themselves in the opening minute of the race when guys dove for wheels and fought for position when there was absolutely no need.
This year, with the CalGiant Armada in effect – of course, they will be dictating (but more importantly – SEEN to be dictating) the race’s tactics and speeds. With the degenerative decline of the Yahoo’ligans in Norcal, there doesn’t appear to be a PRE-REG’d team big enough to force attention away from the Berries.
With Reaney, Mattis, and Moore – CalGiant has three of the most decorated, hardened battle veterans in the nation leading an already immensely strong team for the Snelling Road Race. Hopefully the team will be classy about how they stack the breaks and let the other kids in the playground have a taste of the front end of things.
But look to their young phenoms to be out and ravenous for results … guys like John Bennett, the STAZ, Brandon Trafton, and Jared Barrilleaux will be hard to keep in the pack. And they don’t even have Evan Huffman registered …
Fremont Bank, McGuire Cycling, Metromint, Webcor, and the interesting Form Fitness squads will be among a handful of smaller teams and individuals fighting against the machine. Legendary gladiator Eric Wohlberg will be again in the Form Fitness colors and should be worth a few berries out amongst the farmlands.
Last week’s Pine Flat and Cantua road races showed that the Marc Pro-Strava is a power stacked contingent and a squad to watch for 2011. The races also showed that Sierra Pacific’s Vincent Owens and Joe Galloway will be heavy factors in any hardman’s event, as well. It will be interesting to see if those riders, or the biggest sensation of the Norcal pre-season thus far, Logan Loader, will race at Snelling and throw their wildness into the mix.
Women’s P1/2 … TIBCO emerges
The women’s field at Snelling will be lacking the taste of PeanutButter&Co, as they have a VIP event in Marin planned for Saturday. The battle of the Norcal superteams will have to wait until the MERCO Stage Race. But this weekened, the team to beat will be the TIBCO riders as they conclude their training camp for the 2011 season.
Last year the TIBCO team pulled a super-class move by splitting their squad into different jerseys and racing against each other in the women’s field. I think it’s a safe bet they’ll do the same this year if they get more riders into the field.
The pre-reg lists show strong squads from Metromint, Webcor, Red Racing, and Fremont Bank for this Saturday’s race. Fremont Bank has been the dominant squad in this pre-season, with Susannah Breen taking another 2 wins for the team at Cantua and Pine Flat. But Snelling will be a bigger test for the all the regional women’s teams, and good indication of who will be prepared for the big show at MERCO the following week.
Another rider worth watching is the new transfer to the HDR/Lombardi squad, Ruth Winder. Winder has shown growing form in her last year as a junior and has an instinctive ability to position herself well in the wind and for the attacks. Look for a good punch from the Lafayette rider.
Masters … old guys are boring, but they race asses off
The 35+ races thus far in Norcal have been heavy with Safeway riders at the top end of things. Jon Eropkin took Pine Flat over the weekend, with Dan Martin notching a victory for the team at Cantua, as well. They will have their hands full with a very strong and coordinated Thirsty Bear squad in effect for Snelling, however.
Fielding similarly strong teams will be Sacto area squads from FolsomBikes/Mercedes and Rocknasium. And the Simple Green/Bike Religion squad from SoCal should not be underestimated.
The 45+ fields can add to those teams riders from Davis Bike Club, Webcor/Alto Velo, Wells Fargo, and Morgan Stanley.
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Dress warm, ride safe, see you out there.
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