Fast forward to the morning of the race - that weather report not only looked worse, I at first thought I was headed to a cross race. Mid-50s and almost constant rain in the forecast and I was ready to put on my mudders and claim my stand in the pits for bike swaps. I didn't have to muck to the pits, but I did have to think about tire pressure - something you rarely expect in crits. With the cobbles up the snake tire pressure had some impact - if you slipped, you walked. Suddenly I wasn't 'over-prepared' by bringing my battery powered CX pump with super-accurate gauge.
Snake Alley is one of the larger junior races in the Midwest, if not the country. Spencer, Kenz, and Nickzilla all met kids from other parts of the country last year. The boys 15-18 field in particular is a large and very competitive race - with over 50 kids registered to race. The kids have a huge interest in doing well. Having the skies open up prior to the race put some of them at ease - with a good CX background your mindset doesn't shift when a little rain comes to the game.
The focus of the race is on the snake, and the steep, cobbled turns. While many kids would slip, fall, and walk the snake, the descent was far more important. Traditional road hazards play havoc on this day - manhole covers, road paint, potholes filled with water. These traditional hazards could send someone sliding down the descent on the seat of their pants at speeds that impact recovery time.
Names familiar to the OVCX cyclocross scene dotted the front of the Juniors 15-18. The race selected 8 racers at the top of the field, 3 of those were 15-16s and those there were Haley, McShane, Petrov. Not only are our local juniors kicking our adult butts in OVCX, they are kicking butts at big events in the road scene.