Monday, April 26, 2010

No easy races to warm up for 2010…Tour of the Battenkill

I should probably start with a summary of my winter off season…after Reston, took a few weeks off, mostly to catch up for exams, then drove three bikes on the roof of my car into a garage, was without a road bike until Marchish, spent the first months of the year learning to delivery babies, spent another few weeks rotating at Friends psych hospital, then onto surgery…somewhere in there I rode a little.

I thought for a fleeting moment in January about racing Battenkill. But after my lackluster off season and my thoughts that I should probably study more, I decided to pass the opportunity and wait to race road for another few weeks. That was until a week before the race when our fearless leader, Kristine, told me it would be fun. I require little arm twisting for adventures and signed up that day.

The entire week before was sunny and 80s. Then I checked the weather on Thursday for the Saturday race…35, snow flurries. Awesome, not only was I not feeling like I had fast legs, but it was going to be freezing.

Friday – adventure time! - Luckily Kristine let me study a little on the 5 hour drive – pretty much up to VT. Got to the hotel in time to get ready to sleep – only to have a bachelor party reving up in the room next to us. Some highlights – “All I want to do is shot guns tomorrow,” “Is it bad that I don’t trust leaving my kids with my wife.”

Alright, time for the actual race…the weather was partially right – 35, no snow luckily. The course cruised, pretty quick pace, slight rollers for the first 10 km. Part of it went onto a dirt road – luckily it rained the day before so the dirt was really hard packed and fast. 15 km – hello, first climb – the pack split slightly. 20-30km punchy uphill followed by dirt downhill. I’d like to think I am decent on the decents thanks to lots of riding with boys trying to keep up, but the girls in the pack were charging, super aggressive on the downhill’s. 45 km – long, steep, 150-200 m climb. Then some more little punchy rollers. The course highlight began at 70 km – a 10 km uphill section mostly on dirt. Pretty brutal. Luckily the sun was out, the course was perfectly marked and maned, and all we had to do was pedal. Just when the course looked like it was done, at 90 km there was another 100 m climb. Finally a downhill and flatish finish. The women’s 3 field spilt up early and I stayed will a small pack for the majority of the race, minus a 15 mile section somewhere in the middle and the last 2 miles of the race. My race was fun, ended up nice weather, great course, great views. Kristine’s race found her in a police car…not for anything entertaining, but for a flat at mile 37 (I may have told her to bring a flat kit…) requiring a ride one mile down the road to neutral support. Not one to quit, she pounded the rest of the course and DQed herself at the finish for “taking a ride in a cop car.”

Battenkill – we will be back next year. Hopefully with more teammates, better luck, and fresh legs…

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Fair Hill: Mid-Atlantic SuperSeries

The roster is in, well, at least the first draft. We have 12 HZ men and women racing in the MASS this year. I think that 9 of us towed the line this weekend at Fair Hill in Elkton, MD. Almost all of us raced in the sport class races starting at 10:30.

Cross-country category: Sport Women I
Course Highlights: A stream crossing, a metal grate over a log (note the following picture courtesy of and the fast sweeping corners.

Stats: 2 HZ women, Ali Flis and Caitlin Thompson in a field of 9. 2 laps of 7.5 miles each.
Average speed: 12+ mph
Weather: Sunny, highs in the 60's, perfect for a mountain bike race

Well, it was by far the most exciting mountain bike race that I have ever entered. As we got up the road on to the single track, I was sitting 8th. Twenty minutes of standing in the corral sure had not helped me stay warmed up. I made it up to 6th within 10 minutes, powering through some straight single track. Then I could see Kat from C3 Sollay. She, Ali and I all duked it out in the MAC cross series. I guess it was time for round 2. I got past Kat on a tricky bridge that she decided to walk and I finally caught up to Ali, who was 4th, as we she was cruising to the end of the first lap. Sitting in 4th was tough because I was fairly certain that 1-3 were up the road, but I could see Ali and Kat right behind me. Ali got past me as we pulled through the start calling at me to get on her wheel. Kat got past me soon after that as well. Back in 6th I hung on to Kat's wheel like white on rice. I got around her one last time but knew that if I didn't drop her then, she'd pass me at the finish. Then I caught a tree with my bars and somehow ended up with a bar-end sized bruise on my tush. Hmmmm.... Anyways, tried to sprint out in front of Kat, for 2 seconds. Then she hauled past me and I'm fairly certain I crawled to the finish line, exhausted.

Official results aren't up, but Ali got 4th and I got 6th. Great competition, awesome race. Can't wait for Granogue and the Stoopid 50.