Over 200 cyclists from schools across the Midwest Collegiate Cycling Conference came to South Bend, IN on April 12-13 for the 4th annual Notre Dame Collegiate Cycling Classic. The Notre Dame cycling team hosted the event with the help of St. Joseph County and the City of South Bend. It also acted as a fundraiser for the Ara Parseghian Medical Research Foundation. Saturday’s races were held south of the city, starting and finishing at the Greene Intermediate Center. Teams competed in the 7.8-mile team time trial in the morning. The Irish A team, consisting of John Pratt (Jr.), Jim Snitzer (Jr.), and Luke Tilmans (Sr. ) took 5th, less than a minute behind the best time of the day set by Marian.
In the afternoon, riders took the line in the road race, varying between 28 and 72 miles in length depending upon category. The wind picked up throughout the day, making for some very hard racing. Sarah Cullen (Fr.) set the tempo at the front of the women’s B field, but after 28-miles the peloton was still together going into the final sprint. Cullen managed to take 8th. In the men’s D road race, Mike Lorenzen (Grad.) came in 3rd, while Tom Frederick (Grad.) and August Kunkel (Sr.) were 13th and 16th respectively in men’s C. The men’s A road race saw a large crash in a crosswind section of the course in just the first of 5 laps. Thankfully, no Notre Dame riders hit the pavement. Shortly following the crash, Pratt managed to get himself into the 5-man breakaway that would eventually stay away until the finish while Douglas Ansel (Grad.), Snitzer, and Tilmans rode in the second group on the road. Unfortunately, Tilmans was disqualified for going over the centerline and Ansel suffered a flat tire. In the end, Pratt was 4th and Snitzer 15th after an extremely hard day of racing.
Sunday’s short, technical, 6-turn criterium course wound through the newly developing Triangle Neighborhood before bringing riders near the Eddy St Commons and finishing on Napoleon St. Early in the day, Emma-Kate Conlin (Fr.) and Cullen rode strongly to bring in another pair of top ten finishes for women’s B. Lorenzen had another men’s D podium finish, grabbing 2nd with the support of teammates David Berno (So.), Joe Mueller (So.), and Sam Melgar (So.). Kunkel and Frederick both recorded season-bests 5th and 8th respectively in Men’s C. After initially being gapped by the peloton, James Pratt (Fr.) fought hard to catch back on in the men’s B race. He eventually caught the field and held on for an impressive 12th. In men’s A, the final race of the day, Pratt once again made it into the winning breakaway. Meanwhile, bake in the peloton, Tilmans and Ansel were near the front but were both caught behind a crash in the final lap, continuing their bad luck from the day before. At the finish, Pratt recorded 5th despite taking large pulls to chase down riders from Marian and Lindsey Wilson.
The Notre Dame cycling team thanks St. Joseph County, the City of South Bend, and all the volunteers that helped out to make the weekend a success. The Irish will travel to Purdue University on April 26-27 for the MWCCC Regional Championships before going to USA Cycling Collegiate Road Nationals on May 2-4 in Richmond, VA.