Tim Reynolds (CGRP) led a strong Craftsbury contingent in the freestyle sprint prologue on Wednesday night in Minneapolis, Minn. Reynolds edged out teammate Pat O’Brien (CGRP) by a mere 0.6 seconds on the 1.4 k course. Mark Iverson (APU) was just 0.1 seconds behind O’Brien in third.
Reynolds was the first man out of the gate in the individual night sprint, and found it hard to tell what was going on out on the course.
“It was a super short course, and since I started first, it was hard to tell how it was going,” Reynolds said. “But it was a fast, fun course. I was super psyched to end up on the top of the podium.”
This is Reynolds’s first SuperTour victory this season. He has clearly developed strength in sprinting; his 12th and 10th in the freestyle and classic sprints at U.S. Nationals were his best results of the week. In the Craftsbury Eastern Cup the weekend before, he won both the 3 k prologue and the classic sprint.
Reynolds says he isn’t deliberately concentrating on sprinting.
“I’ve done well in the event this year, but I haven’t been focused on it any more than usual,” he said. “I had a tough weekend, so I’m happy to feeling a bit better.”
He placed 27th and 16th in the first two stages of the Tour de Twin Cities on Saturday and Sunday.
O’Brien echoed his teammate’s sentiments on the experience of racing such a short, fast course against the clock.
“It’s hard to judge how things go in a sprint qualifier, especially at night when you can’t see anyone else out on course,” O’Brien wrote in an email.
“I knew previewing the course that it obviously was going to be very tight. There was only so much time to be gained or lost on a course that short and fast.”
O’Brien turned out to be right—the top four men finished within the same eight-tenths of a second.
The Tour moves next to St. Paul for a mass start classic and freestyle pursuit at Green Acres this weekend.
“I think [the Tour format] is sweet; it’s nice to have all the races here in the Twin Cities,” said Reynolds. “You can just fly to one place and be there for a week and do a bunch of races. They’re fun courses here and it’s a pretty good field.”
O’Brien added that the energetic atmosphere in Minneapolis thus far has made for a fun race experience.
“Wirth Park is a great venue and it’s clear that the community around here cares about skiing,” said O’Brien. “The busloads of enthusiastic high school kids tearing around every day attests to that. I have also never had so many friendly people cheering [CGRP] on while we are on the road. It certainly helps motivate!”
Audrey Mangan (@audreymangan) is an Associate Editor at FasterSkier and lives in Colorado. She learned to love skiing at home in Western New York.