You might have thought, after Friday’s high temperatures hovered around 80 degrees, Kansas would finally see some warmer weather for this weekend’s racing. If that is what you thought, you were wrong. Temps were in the low 40s for most of the day on Saturday with a slight warm-up coming at the very end of the day which took temps into the upper 40s for the last two races of the day. A north wind and cloudy conditions made it feel even cooler than the thermometers were reading. The forecast doesn’t look any better for Sunday’s Perry Road Race; rain overnight is forecasted to change to snow and highs will struggle to reach the low 40s.
Saturday’s racing at Clinton Lake State Park began with the master’s 35+ field. The pack stayed together for most of the race. With just a couple of laps to go two riders, Jim Whittaker and Thomas Hall, broke away from the group. The pack was either unwilling, or unable, to chase the two riders down and resigned themselves with sprinting for 3rd place. Jim and Thomas worked together, pulling away from the pack all the way to the finish line. Tony edged out Thomas for the win in the sprint to the line.
The men’s 4/5 race was a fast for this early in the season; they averaged just under 24mph. Riders made several early attempts to breakaway but nothing stuck. On the final lap Mark Schleihs of Team Head Strong attacked hard across the backside of the course and Jason Rew of Team Sho-AirKC/PrologueCycling.com was the only rider able to go with him. The two worked together to hold the rest of the field off with Rew winning a hard-fought sprint to cross the finish line first. Despite taking first in the race, points earned by other riders in this track-style criterium placed Rew in 3rd for the day and Mark ended up 4th.
The 3/4 race was fast and attacks came from riders throughout the race. Several riders felt the race was the hardest of the season so far. On the back stretch the race was constantly strung out with racers pushing the pace trying to shell riders off the back of the group. There were 3 intermediate sprints in the 3/4 race. The last two intermediate sprint laps took place with only one lap between them creating chaos in the field and allowing some riders to take advantage of those who were still winded from the second sprint lap. Speeds were high on the last lap stringing the field out across the back section of the course. There were some small splits in the field going into the final sprint with Garrick Valverde taking the overall points win on the day.
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Full Results (coming soon)
Photo Credit: Roger Harrison