2016 Beard of Zeus Course Preview

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Two specific sections of Saturday’s race should prove decisive. Find where the moves will be made and who the likely candidates to shake things up are in the next 200-300 words. Saturday’s BoZ circuit promises to be one of the fastest races of the 2016 season, although riders rarely get to tuck and roll over the 1.3 mile course. There’s hardly a straighforward section, with technical ability and a puncheur’s profile likely to be the characteristics of the race winner.

Each lap brings riders up just over 70 feet in total (ignore the Strava segment that only counts elevation change from the start/finish), but the two small ascents each will be tough after an hour of racing. Just a quarter mile into the race, riders take on the gradual, winding incline that matches the ridge of Icebreaker before spilling down on fast, technical descent. At the bottom riders curl right and climb Out of Hades which hits gradients as steep as 18% and tosses riders over the top and straight into the Suds’n’Snow celebrations. The short flat section near the top is a temporary reprieve before efforts begin again, with another steeper bit before the top.

It’s short and steep, and the repetitive trips up from Hades will wear riders down lap by lap. Watch for riders like Nick Wierzba and Keegan Myers to thrive here, as well as the punchy Susan Vigland in the women’s race.

The second important segment is about as long and straight as the course gets. After riders part ways around Medusa’s Curls (left is faster, right is longer but you look cooler) they veer onto the newly-minted Yetterstraat. It’ll be the fastest part of the course aside from the start/finish, and it plays an important role tactically. After the Hades climb, it’s a chance for riders who were gapped to chase back on, or for those ahead to drop the hammer and keep those same gaps wide open.

The full lap should see riders turning in laps as fast as 5:40, but it’ll be who can keep the pace and watch the wheels over the full 90 minutes who will take the win. Expect a group of 5-7 riders to go clear, with chase groups scattered all over Timber Ridge.

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