Thursday, April 23, 2009

Tour of Battenkill

Ok it's been four days since, so time for an update. If you've been reading cyclingnews/velonews, or others blogs this race was as tough as anyone has said. Each lap consisted of a total of 100km's with 4500ft of climbing, and 25km of dirt roads. Saturday the "warm-up" race was 1 lap with an additional 30km in the beginning and Sunday was two full laps.

Saturday's game plan was quite simple, rest as much as possible, but don't miss any moves. The break of the day went rather early, in the first 20km and are man Ty had it covered. As a team we were out numbered in the break with other teams having 2 and BMC with 3 so we massed to the front quickly ready to bring it back and reshuffle, but thought about it and decided to let Ty show his stuff. Ty was having a great ride till he had a mechanical 35km from the finish, but never gave up as he spent the rest of the race chasing and fighting to stay ahead of the peleton that was do anything but charging 15 minutes behind.

So the rest of the team and myself were riding back in the group touring the country side of upstate New York. Everything was fine until it decided to rain. After getting time gaps of 7 to 9 to 15 minutes I knew the second feed zone just so happened to be at our hotel drive way and decided this would be a good place to call it a day. Apparently I wasn't the only one as at least half of the peloton pulled out as well. A few of the dudes decided to stick it out and represent.

Sunday was much better weather. The race started off fairly fast as the first sections of dirt were no more then 10km from the start. Again the break went early, only 2 riders this time, so no worries, well at least that is what you would think. We continued hard for a while and soon enough the pace settled down in the middle of the first loop. The last 30km of the loop is brutal. This part of the race contained the longer, tougher dirt road sections, many rollers, and good size stair stepper climb 10km out from the finish. The pace immediately picked up the first time through this section and 5km into it I get a flat. Chad without hesitation threw me his bike and I got on my way with help from Parrish. After 10km of chasing I finally made it back on and was safely in the group. Unfortunately though during the chase a rock came up and bent the front derailleur and I had some chain rubbage, but wasn't about to stop now. I rode it as it was over the climb before the finish and at the top switched back to my bike. Thanks for the ride Chad!

There was so much chaos in the second half of the race. Scottie punctured twice, once with Chad and Parrish, Swain, and Applegate all went back to bring them back up. Unfortunately after the second puncture of Scottie and Chad throwing me his bike there days were over early after some early mishaps.

The next lap started off very fast through some cross winds and the chase was on for the early break which was still out there. Eventually the team that was chasing decided to just throw a guy solo up the road to chase and the pace let up. Then another group of 3 rolled away as the peloton seemed content to sit and wait till the end. A couple of teams started to throw guys up on the front to bring back all the riders up the road. We caught the three before the final feedzone and 30km of hell before the finish.

As soon as we got through the feedzone the pace picked up. Then we hit a long gradual uphill dirt road section. The race began to string out and exploid as we were over 170km into it. As soon as we hit the section I flatted in the previous lap, I just so happened to flat again. I got a wheel change from the car thinking my day was over as what was left of the peloton was flying up the road and riders who were popping and got popped were trickling by.

I got some words of encouragement from the boys in the car and the team had sacrificed for me all day, (also my wife told me never to quit and I do what she says) so I just gave it all I had. I chased over the rolling dirt road section passing riders and not worrying about anything but the group up the road. I was able to get back to the caravan and jumped my way through the cars. As soon as I got pass the last car I saw the group was split so I just went right pass the second group to the first group. It all came back together before the final stair step climb.

In the beginning of the climb a few riders rolled away and I wasn't able to go with it. I was pretty burned from the chase so I had to settle with where I was. Coming into the final sprint I got on Tony Cruz's wheel and hung on for the first 100meters before I couldn't really keep on it anymore and hit the wind, and got passed in the last 20 meters by a couple of guys.

Not quite the result I or the team was looking for, but the team road in great support of each other. Everyone sacrificed themselves for the good of the team. I didn't really mention Bennet, but I should as he was always riding in the top 20 and right around me if I needed anything. We have an amazing group of guys.

Well I guess that's it for my boring race report. Next up is Brown County Road Race on Sunday, followed the following week with Sunny King, and then with Joe Martin.

Breeze On

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