Monday, April 11, 2011

2011 Tour of the Battenkill

The Tour of the Batenkill- for me in three words, not so good.  I crashed 9.5 miles into the race on the steeper uphill section of Perry Hill Rd.  (And, I was in the middle of the pack..where I thought I was safe.)  Actually, I didn't go was 3 guys in front of me that went down and I went crashing into them.  I don't know how I didn't go down..but I was lucky enough to unclip one foot and come to a screeching halt on top of one of the guys.  I actually jammed/twisted my foot trying to stop so fast.  If I had to guess, I'd say the guy in front of me touched wheels with the guy in front of him.  That's all it takes.  We weren't going fast (I'm guessing 8-10 mph) since we were climbing, but the fact that I had to stop in my BIG ring on a hill was NOT good.  I turned back down the hill, shifted into my small ring and circled back up the hill.  But, that short 1 minute incident was all it took for me to lose contact with my Masters 50+ group- they were gone.  At that point I pretty much knew my race was over.  I had a choice, do I pack it in and ride 9.53 miles back to my car or do I hump it pretty much on my own for the next 54 miles.  I chose the latter- after all, I trained hard for 6 mos. for this race and lost over 12 lbs.  Besides, I wanted to see/ride the course...and I did.

It was a long day in the saddle..too long in fact that I almost bonked.  I was on the road 45 minutes more than I expected to be..but that's what happens when you ride a race pretty much on your own without the benefit of drafting.  I looked at my Power Meter data (post-race) and saw that I averaged 220w (normalized power) for three hours and forty-five minutes.  I also averaged 167 bpm for the entire race.  That's 86% of my HRmax for close to 4 hrs. (non-stop except for the crash) burning just shy of 3000 calories along the way- with only one and a half bottles of water, one bottle of gatorade and two Gu's/gels that I carried on my bike.

Having said all that, it really was a beautiful day for a bike race.  Temps were in the low to mid 60s..clear skies.  The wind picked-up later in the race and made it difficult on already tired legs.  My Garmin computer said I climbed 4500 ft.  I don't know if that is correct or not since the race guide said it was close to 1000 ft. less.  All I know is, there was a lot of climbing.   I can see where people say that this is one of the toughest one-day races in America.  It's one thing to recreational ride a course like Battenkill and another to RACE it.  I think there were 10 dirt/gravel sections of road.  As a friend of mine said, "It's a beast".   As a whole I don't think my team (Team Pure Energy Cycling) faired so well on the day.  I heard there were a bunch of flats, mechanicals, etc.  But, there were some bright spots..Bobby Lea taking 4th place in the Pro race and Jim Ludovici (who I coached) 15th in the Cat 4 race. Great job guys!

I was very disappointed with the day..but that's racing.  Thank God I didn't get hurt in the I'm thankful for that.  (I heard there was a crash earlier on in the day on a high speed descent on gravel where they had to med-evac someone to the hospital).  I really wanted to place well..hoping it would reflect the hard work I put in over the Winter and my 12 lb. weight loss.  Having said that, I did notice I climbed MUCH better than I have that's a plus.  The only thing I can do now, is keep it goin' and look for another race where I can hopefully show-off my hard work and weight loss.  Until then, Power ON!  Coach Rob

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