Wente Road Race

Promoter:  Valley Spokesmen Racing Team


Course Description: A hilly 15 mile loop with about 1000 feet of elevation gain per lap.

Road Surface: Mostly good road surfaces.

Gearing: I just upgraded to 11 speed so it's hard to find a race where you need to put too much thought into gearing.  I'm a big fan of the 16 tooth cog so my gearing answer is almost always going to be SRAM 11x26 or 11x28.  What was Shimano thinking when they left the 16 tooth cog off of the 11 speed 11x28???  Isn't the 16 tooth cog the WHOLE REASON to go to 11 speed???  Having said that though, the 11 tooth cog in general isn't that helpful in this race.  If I was on 10 speed I'd go with the 12x27 every time.

Facilities: Porta cans and water at the parking area.

Weather: The weather should be nice in April. Allergy sufferers beware and bring your favorite USADA approved medication.

Feeding: The feed zone is on Carroll Rd. at the top of Altamont pass just after the steep part of the climb and before you cross I-580.

Rules Specific to this race:

Race Advice: The steep climb on Carroll Rd. is the main obstacle of this course. But the fun doesn't stop there. After crossing I-580 on North Flynn Rd. you go through a long false flat section for about two miles. If somebody is putting the pressure on here it can hurt. Be careful the first time down the descent on South Flynn Rd. There are a couple of pretty tight turns that you can come into with WAY too much speed if you're not careful.

On to Patterson Pass and Cross Rd. you'll find more false flat sections along with a few short, but steep rollers. Finally you get to start downhill again and then into the flats on Tesla Rd. Watch for a possible cross wind on Tesla Rd.

The finish is now on the steep climb on Carroll Road.

The steep climb on Carroll Rd. is the big obstacle that will break up the field. It's possible for a small group to get away here and it's likely that groups of riders will get shelled out the back here also. I've also seen groups go away on Altamont Pass Rd. as you head up towards the turn onto Carroll. What happens is that a few riders will attack, and thena couple of more will join them while everybody else is thinking, "I'm not going to kill myself just before we get to the big climb and then get dropped." While the pack is hesitating behind waiting for somebody else to do the work the group can open up a big gap. Of course if you go in this group you can find yourself getting dropped on the climb if you're not as strong as the other riders.

This is a good race because you have to be a strong rider to make it through all the climbing and tough false flat sections. But, it's not just a slog where the strongest rider wins. There can be a lot of tactics involved also. So a strong rider who's pretty smart and knows when to use their energy can do really well here.

With the finish on Carroll Road the tactics change some from when it used to finish down below. The finish is on a false flat just before I-580. This is very much a finish for a patient rider. Don't go early. You will probably pop and finish poorly. One smart tactic is to sit and just follow, follow, follow on the step pitches, then get ready to go as the road flattens out. Still though, you need to be patient. Don't start sprinting as soon as it flattens out, wait as long as possible before making your move.

Of course if you're not as strong as the other riders in your group just hang on as long as possible and try to pace yourself as well as you can. You will probably end up passing a number of riders who went too hard, too early and blew up.


Corrections and additions, please email me!

Kevin Metcalfe


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