The Tour of Battenkill Women’s 3/4 Race Report

Cambridge, NY

April 10, 2011


64 miles of rolling countryside passing under covered bridges, through small rural towns, up difficult climbs, and on many dirt roads. Climbing for the race: 4000+ feet reaching 18% gradient. 2 Feed Zones.


Windy, 40’s-50’s.


  • Cat 4 Women, 35+, 66 starters: Julie Lockhart 36th.
  • Cat 3 Women, 60 starters: Katherine Snell 41st, Michele Harrison DNF.


Julie Lockhart,  Cat 4- 36th

Battenkill is an epic in many ways:

4 Me, it was to make up for missing  my 2010 race due to Clavicle mending (5 weeks from surgery – Doc said NO)

Goals: Finish, better than 2009, at front through covered bridge

Used Saturday Opener to preview new part of the course.

No feed Zone Help meant carry all  with me.

Ate all the way to the race (nibble, nibble, nibble) and stayed hydrated.

Worried around clothing and decided to wear long sleeve base layer under long sleeve jersey and long pants.

So, relaxed in Katherine Snell’s room until 11:30 feet up. changed layers back and forth, then got on the bike.

Opened up 4 the race doing sprints near the start … got caught in the porta and ended up last to line  up 🙁

All’s well, got into front of the pack pretty quickly and stayed there to/through the covered bridge (note to self – ignore poor visibility 7 just jam it out the other side) lost several places being timid in the ‘dark’. by then the race was on, and I did not have the response at  the little incline and less for the next part. but caught back on as the neutralized field slowed for the 60+ men Accident/Ambulances. (Note to self … go right to the front)

worked with some women in the field for the first part of the race, until I realized they were resting too much for my ‘style’ : i.e. they climbed a little better, perhaps … but they did not like to descend at all. So, after a while I found myself TT-ing alone. My nutrition held me in good stead, and I just needed a sip of water at the 2nd feed zone.

I had no idea who was close to me, so I tried to keep pressure on myself (hard to do, when alone). Wanting to finish in a bettr time than 2009 was another goal, but the race was different. there was one racer in my ‘age group” of 60+ who I really wanted to beat (I did).

Feed and Hydration was critical: several women were cramped out of the race (I do not know if they were u35 / jr women / or 35+) but they were in excrutiating pain. I think that may be why my body requested plain H20 at feed Zone 2.

Focus was another of my … I seemed to have more trouble as the race played out.

Interesting, I even passed one of the 60+ guys at the 1Km mark.

The whole race is still somewhat of a fog … but I had a really strong finish, and wished I had some strong people to work with.

Next year! 🙂

Michelle Harrison – Cat 3, DNF

This is my favorite road race, but I am really not sure why.  I guess it’s the mix of dirt and pavement and the bucolic setting that just make me happy to go out and suffer so early in the season.  Two weeks prior to Battenkill, I went out to Western MA to get a long hilly ride since I wasn’t able to do the preview ride.  During what should have been a fun ride, I was taken out by a pace line plunder and hit the deck hard.  I thought I was ready to race, but the ART guy who fixed my crooked body in the interviening two weeks suggested that I might want to ride Battenkill as a training ride and not race it.  Phooey, what did he know?  Turns out a lot….

This was my first road race lining up as a cat 3.  I wasn’t particularly nervous until we started to roll.  It was then I became very away of my uneasiness being in close proximity to 50+ riders I didn’t know.  I found myself in the very back as we turned off Rt. 313 and headed over the covered bridge.  Our group stayed tight and was well behaved with Katherine policing the pace at the front, but there was little opportunity me to move up.  Things got a tad sketchy on the dirt as we happened upon a few 60+ riders that had crashed.  Coming into the first climb, I was still in the back but managed to reattach on the backside of the hill thanks to Katherine.  We both lost contact with the group up the Juniper Swamp climb and fought like crazy to reattach.  This is were I made my second blunder – riding off without Katherine.  Somehow I lost her and motored on.  I could see riders ahead and chased like crazy.  Unfortunately, they were from the 60+ field and did me little good.   It was on Joe Bean Road that Katherine and a group of 4 or 5 other women caught me.  I had started to have quad trouble and slowed riding solo into the wind.  At first, I thought it was just a cramp, but after the Joe Bean Climb I realized that my quad was badly pulled and I was done.  I let the group go and limped into the second feed zone.  Race over.

Most important lesson? Listen to the people around you and know you.  Ten days later, I am finally able to start riding again, but with limited intensity.

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