11 weeks down, 1 to go! Innsbruckring was the flavor of the week where the swarm slammed head-on into the Kleiner Hugel wall (aka “Leg Snapper”) 4 times. The course is pretty unremarkable with the exception of this one feature which will leave you feeling like an Austrian butcher tenderized your legs with a meat mallet.
A Cat Report by Matt Gardiner
Cat A race brought out the big guns of Zwift racing—Vujasin, Leo, Curbeau, Lyons, Lundqvist, Lindsay, Yu etc. When they’re in the pen, you’re going to hurt! Since I race for Team DRAFT and Greg Leo was looking to clinch the Series win today, my job was simple—follow any moves off the front and keep an eye out for him if he were to get gapped off the back (rarely happens, so not too hard for me).
Lap 1 was pretty calm until we headed up Leg Snapper. My teammate Matt Brandt and I stayed near the front until we hit the climb to make sure the pace wasn’t too pedestrian. Since the B/C/D riders were also in the pack until the climb, the A riders really hit it hard to separate the group.
After this separation, the race calmed other than the climb each lap. Team Beet-It racer Mick Kemper asked if anyone was going to attack and after everyone looked around to see who would respond, Mattias Lundqvist of Team Sz took a flyer off the front, stringing the group out ahead of the 3rd Leg Snapper ascent. This made the 3rd climb particularly painful as we all held on for dear life.
Very few racers were dropped on the climbs due to the caliber of racers, and also helped in part to the size of the field and having Double Draft enabled.
As the pack hit the last sprint banner at 2km to go, Matt Brandt and I moved to the front to dissuade racers like Vujasin and Lindsay from launching the sprint too far out. It worked and we lead out Greg until 500m to go where we waved goodbye.
In the end it came down to sprint timing and Huang Xiao Yu edged out Greg by less than 0.01s with Mattias Lundqvist, Lionel Vujasin, and Simon Nielsen rounding out the top 5 all within 0.15s of each other.
B/C Cats Race Report by Ken Nowell
A strong contingent of B riders shot up the road with the A’s with the wall fragging a few more players every lap.
Some of the usual B riders hung in the group including TT1’s Paul Buckland and Matt Corse, DIRT’s Jason Stern, Rich B, Dustin Elliot, and KISS’s Bryan Montgomery. Ultimately, this is the group that stayed away.
What was unusual about this race was the large number of very strong riders getting shelled on every lap. The physiological skillset needed to dominate this course is elusive. It’s not a great course for skinny long range climbers and burley sprinters will struggle with the steep gradient of the short slope. There is a sweet spot between weight, power and stamina required to get over the hump with speed four times in a row.
The Team DIRT Discord channel was lively with heavy breathing and race updates on rider positions which helped them secure some decent positions in the race but it was Team Type 1 that really powered down to take 1st place in B with Matt Corse and 3rd place with Paul “Buckwild” Buckland. DIRT’s Dustin “Dust Them” Elliott came in 2nd place. Paul remains the Series leader with 656 points and a remarkable 7 podiums in 9 races.
For the Cat C group, DIRT was really the only game in down with the top 8 slots. Timothy Busick once again took the win staying among strong B riders until he finished with Scott Olsen and Martin Heintzelman trickling across the line in 2nd and 3rd respectively. Timothy Busick is comfortably leading the Cat C’s for the series with 6 podiums and 604 points.
Check out Shawn McAfee’s excellent race report video, complete with a mechanical and DNF:
D Cat Race Report by Jamie Jackson
DIRT team dominated this week’s race, finishing with all three podium positions: 1st Joe Christman, 2nd Curtis Cummins, and 3rd Jamie Jackson!
The Innsbruckring was a mix of pain and more pain as the group pushed hard out of the gate. Peter Mardosa and Len Baird made the most of the start, connecting with the C’s and with a couple mixed groups behind them.
Mardosa was having his best ride (C upgradable) but connection issues left him with a DNF. Baird’s strong start caught up with him on the leg snapper as he dropped and was picked up by the chase group.
Cummins’ group worked well together as they picked up stragglers and kept pushing to chase the C group. Even with the effort, Christman solo bridged a +40sec gap to join Cummins and Jackson. The group stayed together throughout the race with solid efforts up the snapper and equal efforts to regroup.
Christman took the win with Cummins out-sprinting Jackson for 2nd!
Only one climb left in the series!
About the Morning Grind Fondo
The Morning Grind is a collaborative 12-week race series between Team DRAFT and Team DIRT where overall standings are tracked and prizes will be giving to category winners at the end of the series based on cumulative standings.
DRAFT is a virtual bike racing team that competes with the global community on Zwift promoting sportsmanship, unity, and integrity. DIRT (Dads Inside Riding Trainers) is a group of dads making time for ourselves for fitness, fun, and friendship on the Zwift platform by hosting daily rides and weekly races.