Notre Dame Cycling made the trip to Lindenwood University in St. Charles, MO on April 18-19 for the final away race weekend of the 2015 MWCCC season. In Saturday morning’s 13-mile team time trial, the women’s B squad continued their undefeated streak this season while the men’s B squad took 3rd.
The afternoon brought racers to what is probably the toughest road race course in the conference. The loop consisted of 4 significant climbs before a fast, slightly downhill finish. Graduate student David McKenna was the lone D rider for the team this weekend. He took 2nd place, just inches short of the win in the final sprint out of his 3-man breakaway. Sophomore Connor Williams also secured a position on the podium with his 3rd place in the C road race after leading over the climbs for a majority of the race. The Notre Dame women’s B riders stayed near the front of the race during the climbs. In the end, Paige Handy (Jr.) was 5th, Sarah Cullen (So.) 7th, Emma-Kate Conlin (So.) 10th, and Maggie Schmid (Jr.) 12th to earn the team more valuable points towards the season-long team omnium.
In the 66-mile men’s B race, Andrew Koch (Grad.) and James Pratt (So.) worked together to stay near the front of a very strong group. They earned 11th and 14th, respectively, in a race that saw over half of its riders drop out due to its difficulty. In the last race of the day, the men’s A field tackled the climbs faster each lap in their 88-mile race. Senior Jim Snitzer worked his way into a select lead group of 8 riders going into the final miles. After his and others’ attacks failed to break up the group, Snitzer finished 4th in the breakaway’s sprint to the line.
On Sunday, the action was brought to downtown historic St. Charles for the criterium. The triangle-shaped course included a sharp final turn and a finishing stretch on a brick road. Tight corners and rain pouring down all day made for a nervous day of racing. McKenna rebounded after a crash to rejoin the D field and earn 3rd, his second podium placing on the weekend. In women’s B’s, Schmid also recovered from a crash to take 5th, a career best. Cullen also rode a strong race and sprinted to 4th. Unfortunately, Conlin suffered a mechanical in the final laps and Handy suffered a hard crash that took her out of the race. She is now recovering from a heavily bruised shoulder and fighting to get back on the bike very soon! Graduate student Thomas Frederick was the B squad’s best finisher in the criterium. He attacked with just a few laps remaining but was eventually chased down by the field. In the end, he still sprinted to an impressive 8th place. In the men’s A’s, John Pratt (Sr.) made the early breakaway. However, over-inflated and tread-less tires did not allow him to handle the turns as quickly as other riders. After a promising start to the race, he was forced to drop out of the race for his safety. He finished 24th, while Snitzer was 30th.
The Cycling Irish will host the MWCCC regional championships this upcoming weekend on April 25-26. The team goes in leading the conference in the DII team Omnium and vying with Lindenwood for 2nd place amongst all teams, only behind Marian. Men’s A riders Jim Snitzer and John Pratt are 1st and 2nd respectively in the DII individual Omnium.