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Snake Alley

Old 05-19-07, 10:09 AM
  #1  
Mayonnaise
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Snake Alley

Anyone going to do Snake Alley?
Anyone done Snake Alley?

Racing it for the first time and have talked to a few people that say it's all about your race number. That if you register early, get a low number, and are place up front at the start line, that's your only chance of doing well. If you're stuck in the back half, you just hit a wall and can never move up.

Beg, borrow, steal, lie, do whatever you can to get close to the front before the gun goes off, that's the advice I've been given.

Insights?
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Old 05-19-07, 10:15 AM
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**** yourself at the start.

Looks like a tough race.
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Old 05-19-07, 10:27 AM
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i was really really looking forward to doing this race but i cant make it. maybe next year
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Old 05-19-07, 01:42 PM
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I was looking forward to doing the snake this year as a 3, with a decent starting position this go around. I was in the next to last row as a 4 last year and ended up at the bottom of the payout, so it was a good race for me in that regard. However, when registration opened this year, I had about $45 to my name, and decided I liked eating more than the Snake, although it was close.

The Snake is a pretty tough course. It CAN be climbed in the big ring if you take the correct path around the turns and also have the prerequisite room to do so. Like you said, starting position is pretty important. The race can get bogged down on the first couple of laps up the snake, as some people will fall over and others will have to unclip and run up the hill behind them.

I was told that I was down by half a lap when I was going up the snake the third time, with a little more than 2 laps gone. It basically became a time trial after that, catching people going up the snake, trying NOT to pull them around behind me on the downhill and flat section, and repeating every lap. I literally got no help and had no draft the entire race, aside from going downhill behind guys I caught going up the snake, and was then forced to pass on the flat, and let them draft.

The work requirements are pretty unique. Absolutely hammer up the snake, and you should have next to nothing left by the time you hit the top. Recover on the way down, and then get into what should be around your FT/LT or time trial effort or maybe a little lower on the flat section. Repeat 11 more times, in the 4s.

A key to not wasting energy: the insides of the corners on the Snake are VERY steep. Like 25%+. Go through the corners in the middle of the cobbles and save some strain on your legs, albeit going a little further around. See picture with regards to slope.
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Old 05-19-07, 03:26 PM
  #5  
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+1 to what was said about starting position and corners. If you are not in the front at the start of the race, then once the whistle blows you need to bust your butt down the straight and into the first corner. I enter the alley on the right hand side the first lap. I think it helps you avoid a lot of the problems with traffic. It will be tight going up the alley the first lap, but like what was said, it essentially becomes a time trial for many at that point. Don't take the very inside of each corner because it is much steeper there. Like what was said already, go through the corners at about the center of the road.

I will be racing in the 4's there this year and have been doing quite a bit of race specific training for this course. I think at the end of the day you will look back and love the course. But . . . during the race you will absolutely hate it!

Who do you race for and what category are you?
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Old 05-19-07, 03:29 PM
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this thread depresses me
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Old 05-20-07, 09:06 AM
  #7  
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I race for the South Chicago Wheelmen and will be doing the 4's
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Old 05-20-07, 09:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Mayonnaise
I race for the South Chicago Wheelmen and will be doing the 4's
I ride with Team MACK from Springfield and will also be in the 4's. Are you doing any of the other races. I will ride Muscatine on Sunday and Quad Cities Crit in Rock Island on Monday. You?
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Old 05-20-07, 09:15 AM
  #9  
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Originally Posted by ronbridal
I ride with Team MACK from Springfield and will also be in the 4's. Are you doing any of the other races. I will ride Muscatine on Sunday and Quad Cities Crit in Rock Island on Monday. You?
Man, your elite/master's team sure catches some flack from the Delta Faucet/Indy Velo guys on Truesport.com...

But, a couple of them are pretty cool guys.
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Old 05-20-07, 09:22 AM
  #10  
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Originally Posted by Duke of Kent
Man, your elite/master's team sure catches some flack from the Delta Faucet/Indy Velo guys on Truesport.com...

But, a couple of them are pretty cool guys.
I train almost daily with one of the Masters guys and he's a good guy. What do they catch flack for? They seem to be an organized team that know race tactics and use them to win races. Is Truesport a webforum similar to this one?
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Old 05-20-07, 09:28 AM
  #11  
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Originally Posted by Mayonnaise
If you're stuck in the back half, you just hit a wall and can never move up.

Beg, borrow, steal, lie, do whatever you can to get close to the front before the gun goes off, that's the advice I've been given.

Insights?
I asked the race director about this and he said that on at least two different occasions a rider won from dead last in the cat 1-2 race. Also, the descents are much more difficult than the climbs.
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Old 05-20-07, 09:32 AM
  #12  
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Originally Posted by crazyb
I asked the race director about this and he said that on at least two different occasions a rider won from dead last in the cat 1-2 race. Also, the descents are much more difficult than the climbs.
I would tend to agree with the statement about the descents. As the race goes on you mentally have to remind yourself to pedal as you go over the top of the climb and begin the first descent. I also think this is a great spot on the course to make up time. So many people rest on the descent that if you hammer it for even a small part you can gain time on the leaders or pack.
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Old 05-20-07, 09:48 AM
  #13  
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Jason McCartney of Disco won this race a couple years back, and he would have won it no matter where he started. But in just about every other case, starting position is pretty damn important.

And if you can't produce the necessary w/kg up the hill, enough times, all the descending skills in the world won't help you. A kid hung with me for two laps last year, came flying by me on the descents, but got shelled the third time up the climb together. You have to be in great shape to do well on this course; not a place where the fatties can hide and then roll you in the sprint.
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Old 05-20-07, 07:16 PM
  #14  
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I used to do the 1/2 race at Snake Alley regularly and while you can't ignore what people say about starting position my experience was that this idea was way over emphasized. What I remember is that you really need to concentrate on the down hill section and can really make up spots there - I don't remember to much big jumping in position on the snake (and I love hills) - lots of changes on the down hill section though. It is good to do this as early as possible, of course.
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Old 05-21-07, 08:40 AM
  #15  
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Originally Posted by ronbridal
I ride with Team MACK from Springfield and will also be in the 4's. Are you doing any of the other races. I will ride Muscatine on Sunday and Quad Cities Crit in Rock Island on Monday. You?
Going to spend the whole weekend in the Quad cities racing my bike. Maybe we can catch a beer in the afternoon.

Is it easy for spectators to find a spot on the snake to watch the race or does the course fill up pretty fast with fans?
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Old 05-22-07, 02:17 PM
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It fills up but people are always moving around to different parts of the course so you can still find a spot. The beer idea sounds good as well. I'll be doing all the races but Friday. Last year I took a pretty good spill there and am not really interested in going back. The race doesn't really suit my style of riding either so I am probably better off skipping it anyway. I can't wait until the weekend though, I'm pretty psyched.
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Old 05-22-07, 02:42 PM
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Originally Posted by ronbridal
It fills up but people are always moving around to different parts of the course so you can still find a spot. The beer idea sounds good as well. I'll be doing all the races but Friday. Last year I took a pretty good spill there and am not really interested in going back. The race doesn't really suit my style of riding either so I am probably better off skipping it anyway. I can't wait until the weekend though, I'm pretty psyched.
I will also be skipping the Friday and Saturday races. I don't feel like dying on the 45mph sprint into Burlington Friday night, nor do I feel like picking my way past dead and dying people up the hill the entire time at the Snake.

I do, however, want to jump the speed bumb at Melon City at 30+, and haul through Rock Island during the cage match at speed as well. Great courses.

I'll probably ride for an hour in the morning on Saturday to blow out the legs, and then watch the Snake on the hill.
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Old 05-22-07, 04:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Duke of Kent
I will also be skipping the Friday and Saturday races. I don't feel like dying on the 45mph sprint into Burlington Friday night, nor do I feel like picking my way past dead and dying people up the hill the entire time at the Snake.

I do, however, want to jump the speed bumb at Melon City at 30+, and haul through Rock Island during the cage match at speed as well. Great courses.

I'll probably ride for an hour in the morning on Saturday to blow out the legs, and then watch the Snake on the hill.
What cat are you Duke? As I have never done Melon City would you be willing to share any info about the course/race?
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Old 05-22-07, 09:57 PM
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I'm a 3. Did it last year as a 4.

Pretty fun course. You start out slightly downhill, go up a short, low hill, take a pretty sharp left hand turn (crash in the Pro/1/2 here due to the amount of racers and lack of space), curve left, start heading downhill. Get moving pretty quickly. At the bottom of the hill there is a large speed bump, but it's smooth, so everyone gets launched into the air a little bit. Surprisingly safe. Then it's a ~300m (maybe more?) drag up the hill, not too steep. Take a sharp right hand turn about 75m before the finish. Some of the Pro/1/2 boys bunny hopped the curb and went through the grass to avoid getting pinched there, not sure how the officials took that. Pretty hard race, as there's an attack every time you go up the hill, and you can't really recover on the downhill or you'll lose too many spots.
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Old 05-23-07, 09:21 AM
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Am looking forward to the road race on friday, but I've heard from a number of people about the possibility of crashes out on that course. Those of you who've raced it, could you provide a bit of detail.

http://www.bikeburlington.org/

The above link is for those that are racing this weekend and want to check their registration status.
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Old 05-23-07, 03:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Mayonnaise
Am looking forward to the road race on friday, but I've heard from a number of people about the possibility of crashes out on that course. Those of you who've raced it, could you provide a bit of detail.

http://www.bikeburlington.org/

The above link is for those that are racing this weekend and want to check their registration status.
The field is large and it seems there is always a wreck toward the finish. Last year in the 4/5 race there were two, and I was in one of them unfortunately.

The first was mine, about a mile or two from the finish. I had conceded at this point in the race and was riding mid pack along the right side of the road. Next thing I knew I was flying over my handlebars at 28 mph. I landed headfirst on the curb, striking it with the right side of my head and right shoulder. Next thing I knew I was laying on my back, spread eagle on the sidewalk. Broke my helmet in 4 places, shattered my glasses, and tacoed my Bontrager Race X lite front wheel. No significant damage to any other part or the frame. I walked away from it with road rash some road rash, but was fine otherwise. The idiot in front of me said there was a big rock in the road that he couldn't avoid, and that is what sent him over the bars. Idiot. It just so happens that half the peloton managed to avoid it, so I didn't exactly believe him. Anyway, I was able to do Snake Alley the next day and still managed a top 5 finish.

The second wreck was in the group sprint at the finish, but I wasn't there so I don't know what happened. I will echo the advice my Cat 2 friend gave me last year but avoided to follow. Don't use your best wheels (or 2nd best for me last year), don't wear your brand-new kit and helmet, and stay back from the sprint if you're not in the top 20. I thought I did well with the last part, but again, some idiot ruined that for me All said, I don't regret the experience one bit.
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Old 05-23-07, 04:10 PM
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Originally Posted by ronbridal
I train almost daily with one of the Masters guys and he's a good guy.
wouldnt happen to be gary doering ?
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Old 05-23-07, 04:21 PM
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Originally Posted by lofter
wouldnt happen to be gary doering ?
The commander in chief of negative Masters racing in IL...

Aside from Clark Priebe, and occasionally Gary if he happens to drag himself up the road, I rarely if ever see those guys initiate anything. Always sucking wheel, "blocking" or chasing down THEIR own breaks because they don't like the guys from the other teams in the break, on a personal level. Case in point would be Priebe up the road with another guy who shall go unnamed (but you can figure it out) at Monsters of the Midway and Gary ordering his team to chase it down, simply because said unnamed rider was with Priebe. Even though Priebe probably would have rolled him in the sprint.

I have no problem with the MACK guys on or off the bike but they sure do some dumb ***** in races in terms of tactics.
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Old 05-23-07, 04:31 PM
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Originally Posted by lofter
wouldnt happen to be gary doering ?
No, not Gary. Darrell Bratton. We're both from Quincy and he's the guy who got me into cycling. Great guy who would do anything for a friend if they asked. On the bike he is very strong also. He seems to have the responsibility a lot of times of chasing down breaks and starting breaks himself to weaken the field. And no, he wasn't at the Monsters race that people have been referring to. We talked about it at a ride a couple days ago and he filled my in on what happened. Everyone has their own take on what went down I guess, but that's not something I'll debate on this forum. All I can say is the guys from Team Mack that I've ridden with and socialized with off the bike have been great to me.
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Old 05-23-07, 05:05 PM
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no worry dude i dont care bout whos racing who, as i dont race.i used to ride with gary back in bout 84-87 or so . he and his brother larry used to race. i got larry's meton bike and thats how i got hooked on the racing scene. i collect vintage racing bikes.
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