Team sprinter Willie Myers checks in after Snelling Road Race. While most of the boys were away racing in the Dominican Republic, Willie launched his season early by heading out as a solo rider for the first race on the NorCal calendar. You can read about the race in his own words below.
Snelling is a classic NorCal road race that draws full fields and strong riders, so I figured what better time to start my season then now. With a chilly neutral rollout, the field cruised along the almond orchards chatting nervously about the race to come. If there is wind, Snelling can be an absolutely brutal race with winning moves going on the first lap. But if it’s calm anything could happen. That was the case today.
As the ref waved the flag to start, all the major teams started launching riders off the front with Team Mikes Bike, TeRun, Oak Valley Bank, and Specialized all looking to establish themselves in the early move. I had one job for the day: sit around, try not to get tired, and make sure I made it into anything that looked worth while. Lucky for me everyone seemed perfectly happy to chase things down so I just got to sit and wait.
For the first couple laps the pace was high and crashes seemed frequent, but on the 4th of 7 laps Cameron Bronstien (TMB) and a rider from TeRun had managed to get off the front and build up a decent lead. As the laps ticked down and the raising wind speeds battered the two riders out front it become obvious that for the first time in a while Snelling would come down to a field sprint. This was my first road race in 11 months, so I wasn’t sure how I’d be feeling at the end of the day. However, I knew I could at least position myself well enough to give myself a shot.
With only a handful of kilometers left, the strongest riders in the field were hurling them self’s off the front with Tyler Williams (Israeli Bike Academy), Cam Piper (Illuminate), Jason Saltzman (Aevelo), and everyone else that didn’t want a sprint trying their luck with a long one. As we neared the final kilometer I put my elbows out and chose the wheel I would follow, which was Jeff Linder of TeRun. I knew he would be in the right place and I was hoping I had the speed to come around him.
As we hurtled into the final corner with 600 meters to go, Tyler Williams launched a long sprint and diving into the corner first. I stayed calm and had a fun bumper match with Chris Riekert as we both fought for the tall frame of Linder. Jeff was the first to open up his sprint as we sped by the 200 meters to go sign. With my legs tying up I stayed seated and gave it all the power I could, hoping I had a little more left then Jeff. Not only did Jeff have more left in the tank then I did, but Chris Riekert seemed to have more than both of us as he came by in the last 50 meters for the win.
I like winning bike races, but I don’t mind sharing a podium with good friends… so I’ll take a 3rd place. I didn’t do anything wrong in the final, I was just beat by two riders who had a better finish which makes me happy with it. Onto the next race,where I plan on beating Riekert very badly.