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Kragie takes 3rd at MNO!
4th Apr 2012Posted in: Blog 0
Kragie takes 3rd at MNO!

Heading into Miss ‘n Out on Saturday we hoped to maintain our strong position in the spring series standings and show that our Quals/ITT performances were no fluke. The goal for the day was to place 4 guys in the semifinals and 2 in the finals, but unfortunately that proved to be a little too lofty.

In the first heat of the day our rookies Chris Craig and Jacob Gorgol were put into an extremely fast heat anchored by ITT champion RJ Stuart. With the top 3 advancing out there was a chance all 3 could make it out, but unfortunately Gorgol was unable to overcome his low seed and was the 2nd-to-last one eliminated. Nevertheless we were proud of both rookies for sticking to the gameplan and being aggressive.

I was up next, and was able to stay on the front and out of trouble for the duration of my heat. Green, Kragie, and Laser were able to do the same, and we were all through to the Quarterfinals.

The “officially unofficial” nature of these spring series events came to bite me in my quarterfinal heat, where I was the 2nd-to-last rider eliminated on a call that everyone except the judge who made it seemed to disagree with. Needless to say I was pretty frustrated. Fortunately my video evidence/protest forced the judges to be much more attentive for the rest of the day.

Laser in great position for his Quarterfinal heat

Green was able to make his Quarterfinal look like a 1st round heat, pulling the field for all 4 laps and advancing comfortably. Kragie wasn’t quite as dominant, but still looked extremely strong. Laser had probably the toughest Quarterfinal of the day, and when it got down to 3 riders we knew it was up in the air. Our bad luck continued when he took a bad line out of 3 on the last lap, got a little loose, and was unable to catch his 2 competitors. That’s bike racing.

On to the Semifinals. We felt pretty good about Green’s chances heading into the 10-person battlefield, and really didn’t know what to expect out of Kragie. Our expectations were outdone by bad luck once again, however, as Green got stuck in a pretty awful position off the line and was wrongly eliminated first in his semifinal heat.

After Green’s elimination the hopes of Beta nation were in the hands and legs of Kragie. He didn’t disappoint. Being in a heat with 3 former finalists and a former champion didn’t phase him. A first lap crash didn’t phase him. Not even the brink of elimination could phase him, as lap after lap he managed to find great position, open up a nice sprint, and settle back in. For the first time since John Grant back in ’03 (we’re pretty sure), we had a Miss ‘n Out finalist.

Getting the finals of MNO is no fluke. The 6 guys out there every year are without a doubt the “who’s who” of the field. At this point we didn’t really have much advice for Kragie, since clearly he knew what he was doing more so than the rest of us. He warmed up to the cheers of our raucous Mom’s weekend crowd, took the track, and we just watched the magic happen.

All that bad luck from earlier in the day paid off, when Sven Gartner from Phi Delt was eliminated in place of Kragie. As you can tell by my reaction in the video, this was yet another terrible call, but clearly it goes both ways. He dodged that bullet, survived a sprint, and it was down to 4. We all thought he was screwed when a gap opened up on the backstretch, but miraculously he was able to catch back on, take a great line through the corner, and follow Steve Sharp’s wheel to the line. And just like that, we had a rookie in the top 3 of MNO. Kragie was content to just finish it out at that point. Hats off to Sharp for making 2nd place RJ Stuart look like he was riding in slow motion on the backstretch.

It wasn’t what we wanted or what we necessarily expected, but much like with ITTs, we put in a solid team effort and are proving to the rest of the field that we will be contenders on race day. We now find ourselves in 3rd place for the spring series and are anxious to spend this weekend with our families for Easter. The Series ends on April 14th with Team Pursuit, our favorite event and one we’ve had circled for months.

Be sure to get your Race-Day shirt before Thursday’s 11:59 PM deadline. We’re also in the final stretch for race bike fundraising, so if you can spare any amount, head on over to the donation page. We couldn’t do what we do without our supporters, no doubt about it.

in _kai_
Eric Anderson
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