Purgatory Race Reports

Jon O’Connor


Took advantage of my senior citizens status this year and raced in the cat 4 35+.   Ironically the race was a few minutes faster than the cat 4 u35 in the morning.  Though the race is named for purgatory chasm, its appropriate for other reasons.  Round and round on a circuit that goes up one ways and down the other with a nasty 3 minute climb.  

Some notable moments”Doug Chrystal of M3 took an early leap and went off the front for 10 minutes which strung things out.   Tom Keene of 545 also made a late game on the 4th lap move and went off the front after being pulled back by an official for a yellow line violation.  Strangely, his teammates helped reel him back in the rotating pace line.  (Let’s not do that!)
Sore,  dehydrated and bad leg cramping by the end: I suspect that was a shared feeling.   Still, was able to get up the hill at a good rate.  Off the back of the frond group by 50 yards.  Oh no not again…but.. found the mustard to hammer to the finish line and catch them.   Nearly picked off the two riders in front of me who sat up either out of exhaustion or mistaking that no one was behind them.  7th place and a single upgrade point.   Okey doke.
Great job by everyone out there today. Some highlights:  Nice work by Tom Coughlan who took 11th and Chris Cugini who pulled 15.  in the U35 Chris Parker nailed seventh and Aaron did the Purgatory “Loup”  (6th place).  Arnost had  another notable finish in the 5’s and I’m certain he’d make a great 4 (hint hint!).  Crummy luck for Charlie Dow who flatted, but Peter Megdall was good enough to give him a sweet bike so he could ride today since his bike was in the shop.  He looked good in that San Remo though, great to finally race with him again.
Looking forward to the Berkshires.


Steve Joseph


I raced Purgatory with the 5s, and I wish I had as much good news to report as Jon (congrats to Jon, Tom, Chris, Aaron, and Arnost!).  My race seemed doomed from the beginning.  During my trainer warm-up in the parking lot, I got two flats (a broken valve and a pinch in the newly installed tube) and discovered that I couldn’t shift from my small chain ring to my big chain ring — not a great start.  I got my chain back into my big, but I knew I’d have to stay there the whole race, which is less than ideal for such a hilly course.  Dealing with all of this made me late to the start, and I was at the absolute back of the pack before we even rolled out.  

I spent the whole first lap creeping my way up the field to get near the front.  On the first finishing hill, I managed to muscle my way up in the big ring and come over with a select group of twenty or so.  Part way through the second lap I finally saw Arnost (who had wisely started and stayed near the front), and clung to his wheel as tightly as possible (which had worked out well for me at Sunapee).  The second time up the finishing climb in my big ring, I couldn’t stay with the group and I fried my legs trying to keep up.  I lost contact and didn’t see Arnost’s group again.  I spent most of the third lap in no-man’s-land.  I eventually collected a handful of riders who were similarly spit out from the lead group, and I shouted at them to organize a rotating chase .  They actually listened and started to take turns pulling, but this machine of my own making soon spat me out, as well, and I was dropped again.
I was suffering (I can see it in my heart rate data — new high score/max HR!), and just wanted the race to be over.  On the final trip up the finishing climb, I dropped into my small ring, knowing I wouldn’t have much use for my big after that.  I managed to claw back a few riders, but then got easily passed by one as soon as we hit the finishing flat and I tried to “sprint” in my small chain ring.  I finished an unremarkable 30th, but I was mostly just relieved to be done.
I do like the course, though, and I must to tip my hat to Green Line Velo for putting on a very well-run, organized, and safe race. I’d definitely do this race again, hopefully with two working chain rings.

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