Well done to everybody who rode at Battenkill, here’s the complied race reports:
I had a great day placing third in 60 plus masters. The road conditions were much improved over the prior weekend’s pre ride. Weather, however, was much worse with the wind. Still on cloud nine about the day!
First another congrats to Ralph for his podium. Any pics?
The four race went well, was good to have company with Chris Cugini and Aaron Wolf. Aaron and I drove up together and stayed at a House in Cambridge with one of the Marshalls and several other bikers, all really awesome folks. Far more interesting and fun than a hotel.
My expectations weren’t high heading into the race. A busy schedule has prevented me from training and sleeping as much as I’d like and I was thankful Aaron was able to figure out how to drive standard on the way up so I could rest in the passenger seat of my Honda Fit. I did manage to sleep well the night before the race though, and that was huge.
This was definitely an authentic B-Kill experience: Cold, penetrating rain from the night before ensured the dirt sections were particularly messy. My plan was to “Surf” to a good finish: get up the hills with the leaders without going too deep physically and then working with others to reel in the lightest and fittest during the rolling lulls.
My first bit of luck came at Juniper swamp. A pile up occurred right in front of me but through a combination of luck and better balance this year after a season of MTB, I was able to sneak around it and pedal up. Others wound up running with their bikes only to find their cleats too muddy to click back in.
I was up with the leaders through the Big Joe Bean climb, and climbing very well. Shortly after the descent though I dropped my chain and it didn’t want to shift back on, perhaps because it was ensconced in mud. By the time it caught the leaders had 70 yards on me and I was in no mans land.
I spent the rest of the ride working with a small chase group to get back into things. We were continuously overtaking riders from other fields who we had to refuse to work with. (Somehow they didn’t understand this would be cheating!)
My group finished in a sprint. Props to a guy who finished with us with a wobbly rear wheel! 15th in a field of 75 or so: not bad.
Lots of fun moments. Hit 49 MPH on a descent.
Roughly 50 riders took off in 32F weather in the 55+ event at Battenkill. Everyone rode easy and shivered to the first hill crossing the covered bidge without drama or incident of years past. The first hill was taken without putting anyone in stess untill the very top. Once we hit Juniper Swamp road massive attacts on the front singilated the pack opening small gaps along the line. We hit the hill sprinting in a 39/25 spining the rear wheel the length of the hill. The front continued the pressure for the next 10 miles bringing to pack down to 20+ riders.
The pace slackened on the easy sections, and exploded over the hard sections. Joe bean hill was brutal with its steps convincing you you were at the top, only to dish out more suffering on the next step. Coming into the second feed we down to 14 riders. A huge attack on Herrington Hill shattered the pack and dislodged me. The soft road conditions made my usual 39/25 unspinable on the steepest section, loading my legs up to failure.
I then TT’ed at my limit solo 18 miles to the finish passing riders unable to find suitible riding friends. I finished 11th with a large chase group just a minute behind me. Other than gear selection, everything went well for me, felt good, drank and fed well, dressed perfectly for the weather, no cramps, no asthama. This is a race where a small errors create terrible results.
Next year I’ll mount a 27. — Tim D
I did my first Battenkill race this year. The mud made things interesting, and so did the wind. Doing the pre-ride was a huge benefit, as you get a feel for the dirt decents, and how to best manage the challenging climbs, etc. Finished 19 out of 47 in my group.
My race did not go like that at all. Juniper hill was chaos of guys unclipping and walking.
I suppose I should have run up the hill and redlined a TT till I caught the lead group.
It went as I thought though. I have no confidence on that mus in a pack.
This is what I mailed to friends Saturday night:
FWIW, I think that was my first and last Battenkill. Fricking brutal. 25% dirt, including all the serious hills, with a couple having fresh sand applied, which bike tires just sliced through so you basically just stopped dead. One of my least fun experiences on a bike.
Time has tempered my loathing (:-) so you never know I might try again, but only if I get some XC or MTB in next winter/spring. And hopefully a new set of legs 🙂 I was in group 5I with another NEBCer (Tom?) who I couldn’t pick out. Oh, and I was #22 out of 45 so I console myself with finishing in the top half, lol.