Jennerstown 5/21,Ligonier RR, Snitger's CR

Due to lack of time and no lack of racing, I'll lump all of these races into one larger posting. Jennerstown,PA 5/21 First, the 2nd freddie fu Jennerstown Crit. The day started out pretty nasty. Rain/T-storms were being called for all day long in addition to 40-50 degree temps, and winds gusting upwards of 30 mph, not a good forecast for race day. Still, a good sized field showed up for the crit, including Brian Hopkins and myself. The race started off slowly with very little action in the pack. The conditions certainly made everyone feel pretty lethargic and not wanting to do much. After about 9 laps of the course and a few failed attempts at pushing the pace, Doug Riegner made a solo break from the pack. Seeing my opportunity, I jumped and was able to get a gap on the pack while advancing toward Doug on the back stretch of the course. I was able to carry this advantage over into the technical inner section of the course because the wet, muddy corners of the infield were much easier to maneuver solo at high speeds than in the midst of a large pack. After chasing for a few laps, i had him down to about a 5 sec. gap, but didn't have the oomph to close the last little gap and latch onto his wheel. The race continued this way with Doug leading, me chasing him, and our ever-expanding lead on the field. At the end of the last 21 laps, Doug lapped the field with his commanding lead, and i came in for a solid second with a minute gap on the field, and brian contested the sprint with a 4th place finish overall. A good victory for Indiana Cycling. Ligonier,PA 5/28 The next weekend, Indiana came out in force to the Cat 3/4 men's PA state championship race. Mike, Brian, Nick, and I came out to contest the race. The day was beautiful and ideal for a race of this caliber. Apparently the rest of PA felt the same way, because there was a field 100 deep in the beginning of the race. The start consisted of a large neutral lap around the historic Diamond of Ligonier and then back to the Ligonier H.S. where the staging of the race took place. From here the field took off into the mountains of the Laurel Valley. The narrow winding climbs, flats, and descents were very tightly packed with riders as we weaved through the course, but that didn't slow down the pace. Most of the pack stayed upright and together for the entire ride with the exception of a few minor wrecks at the beginning that separated the field and took a few good riders out of contention. Despite having a few descisive areas where it could've been possible for a break to be established, nothing came of anyones efforts to get away. Inevitably, the race came down to a 55 mph downhill bunch sprint. The result of this large bunch was one rider getting taken down and having a 30 second facial pavement scrub, and taking a trip to the emergency room for his wounds. Overall, Nick got 5th (Also taking the cat 4 pa state championships) and I got 13th overall (3rd cat 4). An enjoyable day of racing on a hilly yet fast course. Beaver,PA 5/29 Mercifully the Snitger's Cycling Classic the next day was at 2pm, giving a sufficient amount of time to sleep and recover from the day before. I met Brian in Monroeville and we took off towards Beaver in what would prove to be a heat-stroke inducing day. The temps climbed as we waited for the first races to finish up and our lap of the course to open up. The race began with the master's class starting 5 minutes ahead of the Cat.4's. But the Cat. 4's started off fast and the speeds quickly took off as the field gained momentum. Unfortunately in the 3rd lap, someone crashed coming around one of the 9o degree turns on the back stretch of the course, causing Brian to take a flying bunnyhop through the adjacent yard at 30 mph and landing the foot drop off the other side of the curb. This slowed him down and left him racing to catch up to the pack, with 4 stragglers hanging on his wheel, yet taking no pulls. I was able to stay up in the top 10 throughout the race and attempted breakaways on numerous occasions. Making a jump with Eric from the UPMC squad, i nabbed a prime and thought we had a good gap on the field, but we ended up getting reeled in about a lap and half later thanks to both of us being pretty cooked from the effort in ligonier the day before. On the 4th to the last lap the lead pack overtook the masters and then everything ended up going to crap as the masters grabbed onto the 4's wheels and noone knew who to chase. The last lap the pace ramped up significantly and riders began to get dropped. On the last small hill to the finish line, the front pack i was with made a huge effort and as we topped the hill I figured my only chance was to hold the pace and catch everyone off guard before they had a chance to take the sprint on a straightaway. I got to the line in second, ending the weekend on a high note with a much better race.

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