Ken Woods Road Race
|Posted on June 1, 2021 at 1:35 PM|
Ken Woods Road Race May 21, 2021 By: Matt Denis
An often-overlooked aspect of the glamorous profamateur bike racing scene are the hotels you end up
in weekend after summer weekend. The final preparation for big days in the saddle usually consists of
piling four bikes, four bags, and four bodies into the cheapest room still available when we finally got
around to booking 36 hours previous. All of which I only mention to say that no one was surprised to
see, as we rolled up to our motel in Red Wing, MN, that it was in the shadow of a penitentiary. Lucky for
us, it also abided by the other rule of the road: never be further than three miles from a Perkins.
Potential jailbreaks notwithstanding, we were able to get our pre-race pancakes, which is all that really
With pro races all pushed back further on the calendar than in years past, the local racing scene has
been filled with some extremely talented fields, and the Ken Woods Road Race in Cannon Falls was no
different. The field wasn’t overly large, but included an assortment of pros, former pros, and very
talented juniors. With a climb near the finish of each 20-mile lap, we assumed that the day would go to
a break filled with Project Echelon riders, and our plan was to try to get me into that break. The first
hour of racing was full of attacks, counterattacks, 100% humidity, long stretches in the gutter in the
crosswinds, and a good tempo up the climb. Nothing was able to get away, due in large part to the great
work being done up front by Reece. He patrolled the moves, never let the pace slow too much, and
generally looked after me. Behind, Trevor was helping to keep me in position and relaying information
about the composition of the group.
Around the 35 mile mark, the move finally went. The pace slowed in the crosswinds, and in the ensuing
bunch-up, John Heinlein of Project Echelon, Chase Wark of Guillotine, and Patrick Welch of Vol Gas
came up the outside from the back of the group with a full head of steam. Given their strength, and the
fact that they represented the major teams in the race, I think most in the group knew right away that
the podium had just rolled out of reach. I made a couple of attempts to get across with Luke Feuerhelm
of Lux, but to no avail.
Once the move was gone, the race behind settled into more of a rhythm. I rolled through with Luke and
some of the members of Project Echelon, who wanted to make sure the break wasn’t completely out of
reach if something were to happen to John. Given the heat and the intensity of the racing, it was hard to
organize a true chase, as it seemed like someone was always trying to miss a turn. I figured someone
would try to use the hill on lap 3 to figure out who couldn’t vs. who wouldn’t, and give the group a much
needed reshuffling. Matt Zimmer of Project Echelon attacked and distanced Inno Zavyalov, who was
trying to follow, and I figured the time had come. I bridged across with only Matt’s teammate Peter on
my wheel and the three of crested the hill together, with Inno using his TT prowess to get across before
we could open the gap too much.
The final lap was tactical and slow. Inno didn’t want to work because Chase was up the road, and I was
trying to figure out how Project Echelon wanted to play their numerical advantage in the chase group. In
the end, we stayed together and took steady pulls to make sure no one from behind could get back on
terms. The tactical nature only heightened on our final time up the climb, everyone looking at one
another as we posted by far our slowest time up the steeper part of the rise. With Inno and I unwilling
to roll the dice with an attack, a sprint for 4 th was in the cards. I positioned myself in third wheel, feeling
good about having Peter, who I know is a fantastic sprinter, stuck on the front. With a couple hundred
meters to go, I laid off Inno’s wheel and wound up my sprint. Peter is a smart racer. He’d put the race in
the gutter, forcing anyone who wanted to sprint to do so on the windy side of the road. Coupled with
Matt calling my move ahead as I wound it up, I never was able to get the initial gap on Peter, and the
two of us drag raced up the final slight rise in the road, with Peter nudging ahead in the final 50 meters.
In the end, while I would have loved to have made the winning move, and felt like I had the legs to do
so, the fifth place was my best result in a P/1/2 race since upgrading, and doing it in such a talented field
was even more icing on the cake. It tells me that the work that Eric and I have been doing is paying off
ahead of some of my bigger targets this year. The first of those targets is now rapidly approaching. I’m
writing this from my parents’ house in Pittsburgh, and will be traveling to upstate New York for the
Whiteface Hillclimb, (8 miles at 8.5%) on Friday, June 4. Stay tuned to hear how I manage carrying the
torch for all the Iowa flatlanders who insist that a 20 mph headwind is just as hard as a 6% climb.
Ken Woods Statistics
Place: 5 th /21
Distance: 83.4 miles
Avg Speed: 25.0 mph
Avg Power/NP: 256/312
Post a Comment
The words you entered did not match the given text. Please try again.
Oops, you forgot something.