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Snelling Road Race

Contributors: Tim Westmore, http://www.argentumimago.com
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The Snelling Road Race is one of the early season classics of Northern California with a. 11.7 mile circuit with rolling hills just east of Turlock. The weather is typically unpredictable for a late February race, ranging from warm and dry to cold and damp. This year it was dry but the strong winds played havoc on all fields.

Kyle Fiori
Kyle Fiori competing in the Men’s 13-14 year old race at Snelling.

For the Juniors, Snelling was the second contest of the Junior Points Series and the DBC Race Team was again well represented. For Kyle Fiori, Snelling was his first road race. He had been training with his Dad, Mark Fiori, and good about his fitness.

Although he has been doing long rides of 30-45 miles, the 27 mile contest would be his longest race distance.

Racing in the Men’s 13-14 year old category, Kyle road a savvy race staying out the wind early.  A few miles into the race and into a strong crosswind, a Team Swift rider went off the front with Curtis Trueblood followed by a second Team Swift rider. Trying to bridge, Kyle got stuck between the two groups, but he made the right decision and drifted back to the main group where the strongest riders remained.

the_hunt
(left to right) Mike O’Rourke, Mike Pugh, Dirk Himley, and Hunter Ziesing sprint for the finish of the Men’s 45+ 1/2/3 road race at Snelling

Shortly thereafter, attacks came fast and the group was in shambles. After regrouping with Cutis and a few other riders and right before the biggest hill on the course, Kyle made his attack accelerating up the hill and going solo the rest of the lap and about half of the next holding on to 7th place.

At the other end of the age spectrum, Mike Pugh had the highest DBC Race Team finish of the day taking 3rd in the Men’s 45+ 1/2/3 race. In deference to their age, the old guys had an afternoon start and along with Pugh was John Steggall, Fred Schnaars, Todd Marshall, and Rod Fernandez. Not knowing how soon the battle in the crosswinds would start, Mike parked himself near the front staying sheltered. Coming to the finishing straight of the first lap, there was a decisive attack into a quartering head wind which would turn into a crosswind from the left as they rounded the corner after the finish line. Mike countered and after about 1 km of more counters there were 3 riders dragging another 6 with a 

Kyle Fiori
Kyle Fiori competing in the Men’s 13-14 year old race at Snelling.

gap to the field. The break settled into a rhythm with a sizeable lead that grew because the big teams, including DBC were represented in the break. 

Once the chase group was out of sight the games began with random attacks by Dirk Himley and Hunter Ziesing from Echelon. Michael O'Rourke (Safeway), probably the best sprinter in the break was also there.  Surprisingly, he soloed of front with about 1 1/2 laps to go.  On the last lap into the crosswind section after the finish he was still in sight. The chase dwindled to four as they caught O'Rourke. Five now, Steve McCaw (Bicycles Plus/Sierra Nevada) caught the lead group with 3 miles to go. With 2km to go  McCaw lightly guttered everyone going into the final corner, Pugh on his wheel.

As they rounded the final corner with the finish looming on the horizon, after a pause, O'Rourke

nathan_trueblood_snelling
Nathan Trueblood demonstrating cornering technique at Snelling

attacked and Pugh came off McCaw's wheel in favor of O’Rourke’s. With 30 km to go, Ziesing came by both O’Rourke and Pugh to take first, leaving O'Rourke to second and Pugh to third.

Other notable finishes at Snelling included the Elite 4 Team Ryan (Malm, Odell, and Alvey) taking 6th, 9th, and 12th, respectively. They are expected to all soon be moving up to the Elite 3 squad. 

 
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