Memorial Day Criterium

by Will Kanz

Memorial Day Criterium takes place in Morgan Hill south of San Jose. Going into this race I was in third place in the NCNCA Junior Points Series (a 10 race series ) and I knew this race could change my standings. To add extra incentive this race had money involved, $100 in total for primes (prizes to the winner of a lap), and $50 to the overall winner. After getting checked in I went to sit down near the race course to watch a few of the earlier races, then went to warm up.  

will kanz holds on

Will holds a wheel in the Junior's Criterium

When we lined up for the start I recognized a lot of people and knew that it would be a fast race. The 20 mph winds would make it that much harder. We started out like every juniors race, going from 15 to 30 mph every minute, just playing cat and mouse, but eventually causing the field to split up completely.  I then see Drew, a 6’4”, 16 year old Tieni Duro rider charging at us from behind. We cranked up the speed but I couldn't hang on. I knew that the person I have to beat to move up in the point standings was in that groupso I desperately try keep the group in sight but they continue to get away.

I then see my team-mate Magnus chugging away, having popped from the lead group, I ask him to slow down to help me.  He pulls me through the back of the course, through the wind and we ALMOST catch on to the group.  Knowing that it was last lap and I had one more turn to make until the finishing stretch I go for it and try to bridge to them.  I just catch on at the last turn and ready myself for the field sprint wondering if I could catch my breath in time.

We ramp it up in the final meters and I come from behind to pass the guy I had to beat.  I was extremely happy--I just had a teammate help me make it back to the group and help me get the placing I needed to move up in the overall standings. I was really happy to finish 6th overall and 3rd in the age 17-18.  I was one of two category 4's in the final sprint.  This was my strongest finish this year and I hope to get better as my season continues. 

kanz podium

3rd in the 17-18 age group!

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