Why Do I Love Racing the MN Memorial Classic?

Why Do I Love Racing the MN Memorial Classic?

For the last seven Memorial Day Weekends I have raced in Endurance Promotion’s MN Memorial Classic bike race. This omnium race includes four races over three days. I have had such great memories from this race that have been shared with incredible teammates, friends, and family. This weekend race marked my first race as a Cat 4 in 2010 and my first big win as a Cat 3 in 2011. This race is also now part of the Midwest Flyover Series—which means it attracts more out-of-state riders in the elite men’s and women’s fields. I have spent a couple years suffering in that field as well. However, this year four Erik’s riders will be competing in the Masters Field (including myself) and four younger riders will be competing in the P/1/2 Elite Field.

This omnium race involves four races over the course of three days. On Saturday morning the omnium begins with a short circuit race in Rockford, MN. On Saturday afternoon most of the same course is used for a 5.1 mile time trial. Sunday afternoon includes a flat road race in Lester Prairie, MN. Finally, Monday ends with a criterium in New Hope, MN. I had a blast racing in each and wanted to recap a few of my experiences as well as the help I received from my teammates on Erik’s Regional Race Team throughout the weekend.

MN Memorial Classic Circuit Race

The Circuit Race has been in Rockford, MN for the last several years and involves a 6.5 mile triangular loop with a punchy 1 kilometer hill finish. Our Masters Field completed 5 laps with bonus points going toward the overall omnium at the end of each lap. I’m not usually a fan of hills, but this hill never gets above 7% and most riders can power up it without having to drop into the small chainring.

I knew I needed to collect as many bonus points as I could in the circuit race because my below average time trial was going to drop me down a few slots in the overall omnium. Check out this short video to see how the circuit race went for the Masters Field.

Circuit Race Highlight Video

Circuit Race Strava Data

MN Memorial Classic Time Trial

The Time Trial uses the last 5.1 miles of the circuit race course, so the last hilly kilometer of the TT hurts! It’s amazing how much worse it hurts after you have been suffering on your own than when you were riding along in the pack during the circuit race. I knew from past experience that even a short TT was going to be my weakest race of the weekend. Maybe one of these years I will wake up and be a great time trialist, but not this year. Thirty minutes before the time trial started in began pouring rain. I was the fourth rider to be sent off and I nearly came to a stop at the first corner that was full of slick paint stripes and plenty of stopped traffic. For the first couple of miles I kept a close eye on my power numbers and felt pretty good. However, I faded pretty hard during the last hilly stretch and could only hold around 340 watts or just over 4 watts/kg for the 5.1 mile effort. I beat my previous years’ time, but still only managed 12:50 for 7th place.  When Saturday was all said and done I was sitting in 3rd place overall in the 40+ Category.

MN Memorial Classic

The “Pain Face” of a terrible Time Trialist. Photo Credit: Mathew Pastick

Omnium Standings After the Circuit Race and Time Trial

    1. Chad Weisgram Vision Racing (18) 113
    2. Brian Welch Hollywood Cycles (10) 105
    3. Brady Prenzlow Eriks Bike Shop (16) 100
    4. Jerome Ferson Milltown/Trek Cycling Team (0) 78
    5. Matt Muyres Vision Racing Mast (0) 75

Time Trial Strava Data

MN Memorial Classic Road Race

The Memorial Classic Road Race has always been held in Lester Prairie, MN. You will never find a flatter course, and not surprisingly it is the only road race that I have ever won. Our field completed two laps of this 23 mile windy loop. My two teammates (Ben Schinke & Michael Mardosz) did an outstanding job of keeping me protected from the wind all day. They also kept the group together as Chad Weisgram and Brian Welch attempted a few break-always. However, I made a few errors in the finishing stretch that resulted in Chad getting the win and the rest of us sprinting for second.

MN Memorial Classic RR -96

My teammates kept me pretty protected from the wind all day long.

MN Memorial Classic RR Chad Weisgram-123-Edit

Chad Weisgram flew the coop for a very impressive win.

MN Memorial Classic RR-128

Sprinting for Second Place at the MN Memorial Classic Road Race 40+

Here are the 40+ points after Day Two and a short finishing video to showcase how the last couple of miles played out.

Omnium Standings After the Road Race

  1. Chad Weisgram Vision Racing 213
  2. Brady Prenzlow Erik’s Bike Club/Eriks Bike Shop 195
  3. Brian Welch Hollywood Cycles 195
  4. Jerome Ferson Milltown / Trek Cycling Team Mast 155
  5. Michael Mardosz Erik’s Bike Club/Eriks Bike Shop 146

Here is the short video of the last couple of miles of the road race.

Road Race Finishing Video

Road Race Strava Data

MN Memorial Classic Criterium

The Memorial Classic Criterium has been held in four different locations. When I won the omnium as a Cat 3 the crit was a the Target Campus in Brooklyn Park. It moved to Waconia for a few years, last year it was held at the MN State Fair Grounds, and this year is the first time it was held in an industrial area of New Hope, MN. It was a flat 1.1 mile nontechnical loop. However, often the least technical courses can lead to the most crashes. This was the case today.

MN Memorial Classic Crit-15

Fantastic Teammates: Brady Prenzlow, Michael Mardosz, Laszlo Alberti, & Ben Schinke

Of the four race disciples, crits are definitely my strong-suit. However, being 18 points down on Chad at the start of the day was a nearly impossible gap to close. I was tied with Brian and knew I needed to keep an eye on them both while collecting as many bonus points as I could.

My teammates did an amazing job leading me out for three separate sprints and my legs felt amazing for the entire 45 minute race.

Here is a two-camera video and analysis of the entire Masters Criterium.

Criterium Analysis Video

Criterium Strava Data

MN Memorial Clssic Crit-154

The lead-out for this sprint was outstanding!!

MN Memorial Classic Crit-155

It’s been awhile since I have come across the line first–felt pretty good!

Overall it was a fantastic way to spend the holiday weekend. Winning the crit and getting on the overall omnium podium was more than I had planned for. My 10-year-old son also had a successful weekend as he secured 3rd overall in the Junior 9-12 category.  However, it’s the good times, teamwork, and memories created throughout the weekend that I will remember most.

Final 40+ Omnium Standings:

  1. Chad Weisgram Vision Racing 313
  2. Brady Prenzlow Erik’s Bike Club/Eriks Bike Shop 305
  3. Brian Welch Hollywood Cycles 289
  4. Ed Alpasa 182
  5. Michael Mardosz Erik’s Bike Club/Eriks Bike Shop 181
  6. Matt Muyres Vision Racing 175
MN Memorial Classic 40+

40+ Omnium Standings: 1st: Chad Weisgram, 2nd: Brady Prenzlow, 3rd: Brian Welch, 4th: Ed Alpasa, 5th: Michael Mardosz (Non Pictured), 6th: Matt Muyres

Thanks to Mike Delaney at Endurance Promotions who works tirelessly to put this event on every year. Thanks to Erik’s Bike Shop who supports us all so well. Thanks to my teammates who were extremely supportive all weekend. Finally, thanks to my family who not only support my hobby, but are actively involved.

Photo Gallery of a Portions of the Weekend

 

Brady Prenzlow teaches business at North Hennepin Community College, owns Prenzlow Photography, rides for Erik’s Bike Shop, and loves everything about cycling from behind the lens and behind the bars.

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