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…