Capital City Cycling Classic

Andrea Merlotti and Sara Seeley sprint for state championships in Womens Cat 4 & 3. Lucas Wall takes the top step of the podium for Masters 35-39 while Chris Winkler and Huy Tran took 3rd and 2nd respectively in the Cat 3/4 race. Here is a recap of all the action. 

The weather was perfect with sunshine and the temperature in the high 70’s at the State Capitol. AAVC had a huge turnout with riders in Womens Cat 3 & 4, Masters 35+, Cat 3/4, Pro/1/2 and Cat 5. The women and masters were racing for their state criterium championships (the other categories will contest the state championships Aug. 24).

Racing began with Matt Raezler racing in Cat 5. He raced well and finished mid pack in 11th. Lucas Wall brought the whole family to hangout and watch the Masters 35+ and Pro/1/2 races. The race started out quick with Rob Ehrmann leading a two man break that maintained a 10-25 second gap for 35 minutes of the race. As Lucas was the sole AAVC rider, he let Lathrup, LouisBenton, CFT, and Michigan NeuroSport take the responsibility of chasing the break as he sat in. The break was caught with 10 minutes to go and the field settled in for a sprint finish. Here is Lucas’s take on the final laps of the race:

“So I focused on field position. There definitely was a lot of “move up 5 spots, move back 10” in the last few laps. Guys were aggressive in the last few laps following favorite wheels, moving up, and bumping elbows along the way. I managed to play it pretty well and came out of the last corner in the top 10. I knew I needed a little better position than that so I slid up a few more spots before coming to 300m to go. Before we passed the 200m to go spot, I was thinking that my best shot at a top spot might be to catch the top sprinters (all well positioned) off guard by coming around a little early and holding them off, since I wasn’t confident I could come around them once the sprint hit full speed. So I made the first jump with about 250 m to go. I quickly grabbed a few spots but I didn’t get the speed I needed and never came around the number 1 and 2 sprinters. My form was sloppy on the rough road, and as a result I didn’t hold power as well throughout the sprint and conceded 3rd place to another good sprinter, Craig Newell, before the line.”

Despite getting 4th in the race, Lucas still grabbed the gold in the 35-39 age group for the state championship event. After a nice lunch and nap in between races, he got warmed up and ready for the Pro/1/2 race later in the day. He went into the race with intentions on just getting a good training race in. Towards the end of the race his legs were feeling the nearly 2 hours of racing and was beginning to count down the laps.

“I hunkered down in the saddle and churned over the pedals as much as possible. When ‘hunker’ and ‘churn’ become descriptors for your sprinting, you know it’s ugly and slow, but I picked off a handful of riders and only had one guy pass me--pretty awesome (and lucky) since my sprint power was about 30% less than normal. I managed to grab 7th in the field sprint, good enough for 12th overall. It wasn’t pretty but I was happy. “

AAVC represented in the Cat 3/4 field with 8 riders. Chris Winkler, Harvey Elliot, Kevin Juntunen, Rob Shoemaker, Matt Ronanan, Kyle Schroeder, Jared Winn and Tyler Carlton. Huy Tran rode as an honoree member as he is finishing up his contract with Metromint cycling. The pre race plan was to cover attacks that were expected from O2 and Leadout. Kyle, Matt and Rob covered the attacks mainly coming from a pair of O2 riders that would trade off as each was caught. The pace was fast the whole race but stayed controlled as much as a 3/4 race can be. When the 2 laps to go call came it caught the whole field by surprise as they were only 25min into a 40min race. AAVC’s lead sprinter of the race, Tyler Carlton, began making his moves towards the front for the finish. His account on the last lap:

“Out of the last turn I was in the top 10 and feeling good about my chances in the sprint. The guy who’s wheel I was on went WAY early, but I wasn’t about to be stuck without a wheel so I jumped on him. Unfortunately he blew up about 400 meters out so I had to open it up way early. By the time the 200m sign came I was already feeling it and just hoped I could make it to the finish. Eventually the line finally came and I managed to roll across 6th. “

Huy Tran was in good positioning for the finish and came across the line in 2nd followed by Chris Winkler in 3rd. Kevin Jununten came across the line in 15th followed by Kyle Schroeder in 17th and Rob Shoemaker in 19th. Harvey Elliot finished 23rd, Matt Ronan in 35th and Jarod Winn finishing 47th.

The Womens Cat 4 race resulted in our own Andrea Merlotti taking home the state championship. Here is Andrea’s account from the race:

“On the final lap the pace went from somewhat slow, to even slower, every woman conserving their energy for the last 200 meters. Upon making the last turn, there was an attack but no one went with. My plan was to start sprinting at the 200 meter mark, but plans changed when two other girls began their sprints at 300 meters. I knew it was too soon but because I sprinted several times earlier in the race I had determined that even if I sprinted earlier than planned, I would still have enough energy to out sprint them. I let a few girls pass me and that’s when I knew it was time to act. The sprint felt never ending but as I passed girl after girl and the finish line grew closer my legs couldn’t help but pedal harder. I had one girl that was close to my wheel but was able to out sprint her and win it all.”

The last race of the day was the Womens 1/2/3 which also resulted in our own Sara Seeley taking home the state championship.