Battenkill

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onegeardoug
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Battenkill

Post by onegeardoug » Sun Apr 10, 2011 8:08 pm

I rolled out for my first race in the 4's with Rob, Bill, John and Stefan. I was also a Battenkill-virgin, so not too sure what to expect. Smudger flatted about 7-8 miles in on the first stretch of dirt. That I half expected! I now know that if the Irish got the luck, then they must have stolen it from the fargin' Scottish! I slowed and pulled out of the peloton to help him, but Rob and Stefan were already with him. I figured that there was no point in the entire team sacrificing for him...so I got back in the group. We hit the first climb on Perry Rd and I rode comfortably into 10th wheel by the summit. "Maybe I'm not completely out of my element in the 4's..." Feeling a lot more confident now, I rode in the first 10-20 wheels for basically the rest of the race. When we hit Juniper Swamp, again I crested in the top 10.

The pace in our wave of 4's was rather modest I thought, with guys stretching their legs on the climbs, but then not really working or drilling it on the "flats". As a result, we did most of the race with a not-so-select group of 40+. One exemption was after the Carney & Cassidy dirt climb. John was back in the group now, thanks and props to Rob & Stefan. We crested Carney & Cassidy with a selection of 10-15 riders. John and a few others yelled that we had formed a gap, and we tried to pace-line it to build that gap...but another hill got in the way, disrupting the organization and suddenly we were 30+ again.

2 guys tried to get off the front on Becker Rd, but we caught them at the beginning of the first hill on Meeting House Rd. The pace was really hard now, or my legs were REALLY tired. I was sitting 3rd wheel as one of the guys who had just gotten caught launched again and rode away from us on the rollers. I couldn't hold his wheel. The group behind me must have been shreaded, though, because when we hit the pavement we formed a paceline with only 12-15 riders trying to bring the soloist back. It worked quite well, and when we hit Stage Rd for the last set of climbs, the leader was only 20 meters or so ahead. My legs were screaming, though.

I started Stage Rd in 3rd wheel, second amongst the chasers. I was out of the saddle climbing; relieved to be nearly done with only 10K to go. My legs however didn't have the same sense of relief. I started to cramp and I knew that I had to back off, or I would soon be walking up the hill. A group of 4 went by me. Then a group of 5, with John as the caboose. It started to flatten out, and I had found a relatively comfortable pace. As we were about to crest the final stair-step of Stage Rd, I was dangling 20-30 meters behind John, who was alone at that point with the Top 10 up the road a ways. I put in a big dig to bridge up to John, and yelled something really motivating as I caught him...about how the money was up the road, and we had to go get it. Cash paid 10 deep, and I had counted those in front so I knew we weren't getting any of it!

The top of Stage Rd was the 5K to go sign. The next 5K were the hardest 5K of my life. John and I traded pulls the rest of the way, and every time I came off the front I thought that I couldn't help anymore and that I'd be lucky to just sit on his wheel. A few seconds later, I'd man-up and do some work though. We could see the Groupetto of 10 just up the road, and there was no one behind to catch us. Nothing to do but drill it, which as we all know...John is really good at. We took turns, and I was on the front as we crossed 1K to go. I pulled through the next 2 right-handers, and John took the sprint for the first racer to cross the line without $$, and with me on his wheel for 12th.

It was a beautiful day in the saddle for me. I was tired, I was thirsty, I had to pee the entire time...but I was so incredibly happy to hit Stage Rd with the leaders. The last 5K were as hard as I've ever ridden, but I was trying to get John into the $print and I was killing myself and we were working together...and it was beautiful. I can't wait to go back next year.

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jraguin
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Re: Battenkill

Post by jraguin » Sun Apr 10, 2011 8:38 pm

Fantastic Doug and John!! Sounds like the course was in fairly good condition as you didn't mention much about that. If you say it was your toughest 5K ever, that says a lot about the effort you put in! You and John are inspirations for me as well as many other riders in the club.

John

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Smudger
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Re: Battenkill

Post by Smudger » Sun Apr 10, 2011 9:39 pm

Finally the Battenkill monkey is off my back although it took a team effort to do it. When I flatted Stefan gave me his wheel and Rob paced me half way back to the group. What a fantastic team. Without this my race would have been done before it started. I had to work hard on Perry and then caught the group as we turned on to Juniper. I was absolutely where I didn't want to be and pretty gased. I pulled through the back half of the field and was able to stay attached on the descent. Sat in and recovered for a bit. Legs were already a bit crampy though. Dougs report covers the rest. Couldn't stick with the wheels on the last bit of Stage road. Was stuck between Doug and 1 guy who solo'd on. I thought it was better to ride with Doug and regrouped on the descent. We pulled hard along the valley road but as we got close the lead group hit the K to go and they were gone. I was super keen to get in the money so I could pay Stefan and Rob back but missed out by one. Still a great result.

Final comment - chapeau to Doug for a fantastic ride

Oh and one last request- can someone teach me how to bunny hop a pothole properly?

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Re: Battenkill

Post by swawersik » Sun Apr 10, 2011 9:48 pm

Smudger wrote:When I flatted Stefan gave me his wheel and Rob paced me half way back to the group. What a fantastic team.
There is no "I" in "team" ... but there is a "u" in "you suck if I give you my wheel and you don't do something good with it."

Fortunately, Smudger does not suck :)

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Re: Battenkill

Post by Bruce » Mon Apr 11, 2011 1:49 am

Stefan and Rob -- that was PRO.

Nice race you animals!

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irusk
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Re: Battenkill

Post by irusk » Mon Apr 11, 2011 9:41 am

Great race reports all. And teammates of the year award to Stefan and Rob!
"There is no charge for awesomeness" - Po

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Re: Battenkill

Post by swawersik » Mon Apr 11, 2011 9:59 am

irusk wrote:And teammates of the year award to Stefan and Rob!
The year is still early. Lets make this the first of many examples of guys sacrificing for their teammates' success.

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Re: Battenkill

Post by pierso » Mon Apr 11, 2011 1:12 pm

Yesterday was literally the toughest day I've ever had on a bike.

The small (50 guys) Cat 5>35 field I was in went out pretty fast and was very nervous and jumpy. The pace picked up, as expected, right after the covered bridge. By the top of the paved climb prior to Juniper Swamp the group had already exploded into a group of a few guys up front and a long sad procession of stragglers, including me, off the back. My HR was pegged (over 190 a couple times) on every incline and the pace was just not sustainable for me. Overall a pretty rude awakening for me in my first real road race. Over the top of Juniper Swamp I came together with 3 other guys, only one of whom seemed to have any experience working together in a paceline. We rode together til the top of Joe Bean when things started to really come undone for me (and them too). The other seemingly more experienced guy rode away, dangling within sight for a few hours, and the other 2 fell off behind me never to be seen again.

I spent the rest of the day occasionally finding somebody to ride with, but mostly in the brutal headwind alone. My legs were super heavy and I just couldn't seem to get myself over the climbs without seeing stars. I fought off occasional cramps in my quads and glutes with my insufficient fluid supply of 3 bottles which would run out with about 10 miles to go. As I came back on to the pavement after Meetinghouse Road, the P/1/2 women lead pack came by and moments later the leader of the next men's race. I limped over Stage Rd with my tail between my legs, put in one last effort and attempted to actually ride my bike the rest of the way in, feeling relatively good and counting down every last kilometer as I passed the signs desperate for something to drink... and finished 25th. 40 minutes behind the winner of my group.

I'd love to say I enjoyed the race, but after a day of reflection I can say that I really didn't. I was cut off by the wheel truck from my own race before I even hit Juniper Swamp around the tight hairpin onto the dirt - having to put a foot down and yell at the driver. This set the tone for an annoying day of pain for little reward. I've got a lot of work to do to figure out how to sustain the effort I needed to put in during the first 1.5 hours for any longer than that.

Congrats to the others who had great results! It was exciting to be on the finish line watching some MRC jerseys come in with great placement!

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Re: Battenkill

Post by carlshimer » Mon Apr 11, 2011 2:53 pm

Not a great day in the saddle. Sure, this was a tough course and I was off the lead group after Juniper swamp. In my group everything fractured so quickly that there wasn't anyone to ride with after 10 miles. I teamed up with another rider and we traded pulls until around mile 35.

Around mile 35-40 things started to go south. At this point I was completely dry after going through three bottles of heed. I don't think I can do a 64 mile event in the heat of the day with only three bottles. I'd say I needed 5 to 6 bottles. I have done Quabbin twice and been OK with 3 bottles but the start time was *early*. a 12:10 start put the majority of the ride at the hottest point with a nice strong wind for good measure. Luckily a spectator gave me a bit of water around around mile 50. I also forgot to bring endurolytes (usually I only use these on 70+ degree days). Perhaps next year I can convince my wife to drive 3+ hours to hand out water at the feed zone..... hah. With the dehrydation cramps the last 15 miles felt like miles 140-146 of the b2b.

Some interesting anecdotes:
Our pacecar took a wrong turn before the first little climb causing all the riders at the front to be off the back.
I saw a cat5 45+ rider who had crashed and torn the back of his bibs completely off and was riding with his nads swinging in the wind. Yikes.
Gary puts some kind of awful witches brew in his bottles. It even looks green (and tastes worse). Thanks for the couple of swigs ;)
the sandpits at the bottom of the hill near the end was a nice touch.

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Re: Battenkill

Post by taudep » Mon Apr 11, 2011 6:40 pm

Hard day on the bike. I dangled 25-75 meters off Scott's group from the top of Juniper Swamp through the first feed zone, riding in a lot of wind, unable to close (I used to be able to close on the descents). Eased up and waited for group behind me to catch up. They didn't know how to work together and I ended up dropping them behind me on Joe Bean hill, and consequently sucking more wind. I decided that riding in the wind by myself wasn't good, and slowed again to ride with them. The moment I spoke and suggested organizing a paceline, I flatted.

Watched a bunch of riders go by while I repaired my tire. Rode in the wind to the 2nd feed zone and raised my hand for the SAG wagon.
I'm 20PoundSkull at cyclowhat.com.

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Re: Battenkill

Post by rusto » Mon Apr 11, 2011 8:01 pm

Some pics from the race: http://www.mudandmanoloscycling.com/sce ... battenkill

Here's one with Matt P in it:
pierso_cropped.jpg
pierso_cropped.jpg (55.05 KiB) Viewed 17212 times
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Re: Battenkill

Post by rusto » Mon Apr 11, 2011 8:02 pm

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Re: Battenkill

Post by rusto » Mon Apr 11, 2011 8:23 pm

Sorry about the length, but hey, it WAS a 3 1/2 hour race. ;)
--------
Well, yesterday was the culmination of a winter’s worth of hard work for me. I’m just as proud of the preparation I completed as I am about the result I was able to achieve in the race.

After doing 20 or so minutes of spinning/tempo/jumps up and down Rte. 22, I was at the point where I was thinking, “let’s do this thing already”. Scott Sweeney mentioned he had an upset stomach and Todd P, Jeremy and Matt seemed to me to be pretty antsy too.

Jeremy had announced his intention to be at or near the front at the top of Juniper Swamp. Sure, I thought, I’ll go for some of that.

Lined up on the center line maybe five riders back with Jeremy just in front of me and Scott and Todd to my side and behind. After a couple of minutes we were on our way.

The first couple of miles, I had some pretty good butterflies in my stomach as I was a) unsure about some of the wobbly guys around me (not my team mates) b) being hyper attentive to staying near Scott, Jeremy and Todd and c) riding on the centerline. Soon enough, the pack thinned out just enough so that the front was only 2-3 wide which left plenty of room to maneuver. After some jockeying around, I think I was around 8th wheel.

We wound our way along Rte. 313 at a fair clip when suddenly, it seemed to me, everybody slowed down a few mph. Well, most of you know me well enough to not be surprised to find out that I swung to the left and kept the pace up at the mid-20 mph place that it had been. I could almost hear Jeremy say, “There he goes again.”

Just before the turn off 313, I settled back into a slot near the front of the pack as we wound our way to Perry Mill Road. It’s only 1/2 mile or so longer than Oak Hill but oh, that extra 1/2 mile at 8% avg gradient (w/some 12% thrown in) is a killer. I stayed in the front 10 or so and hoped the descent towards Juniper Swamp would allow my HR to return from the stratosphere.

No such luck: we turned onto J.S. and were headed up with me still huffing and puffing, but my legs felt pretty good and I was able to keep up. The road surface was well packed (by previous fields?) and you could actually climb out of the saddle if you carefully kept your rear wheel to the ground. At the top, nobody seemed to spank it hard and so we settled into it once again.

The next 24 miles, from 13 to 37 are kind of a blur for me but I remember these few things:
I can’t recall exactly when it happened, but it was in this stretch that I had my last glimpse of Jeremy and the lead group as they gapped the rest of us (6?) over the top of some hill or other.
When we weren’t headed into the wind, my super-thin (and black) base layer had me feeling pretty hot, so I put it into my head to be careful about water consumption (I carried three bottles and was on vapors at the end).
As we went on, I began to get gapped on the hills, a little bit, maybe 4 or 5 bike lengths but then hammered onto the last wheel ahead on the descents. I knew this was going to cost me in the long run.
There were a couple of husky guys who were in the same get-dropped/hammer-back-on cycle and I let them pull me back on a few times, glad they were around. They were good wind blocks too.
One guy got his chain royally tangled up as he shifted on a climb, thought that was the last I’d see of him but he heroically made it back to our group.
Scott appeared steady as a rock the whole time.

Nearly two hours into the race and I realized that I didn’t take any Endurolytes since before the start. I reached into my jersey to pull them out when suddenly we were descending Carney-Cassidy Road and I thought better of one-handing it just then. Sure enough, on the next rise, I got out of the saddle to narrow a gap and BOOM: right quad cramped. My Garmin data clearly shows the moment when my cadence went from the mid 80’s to 25 rpm when it happened. I shifted to an easier gear to get my cadence back up but it was too late: they gapped me real good.

I kept them in sight for few minutes but every turn seemed to put me into more wind and I knew I would not finish at all if I kept trying to close that gap on my own. I was prepared for the likelyhood that I would finish this race on my own so I settled into finding a groove that I could carry for the next 27 miles.

These next, long, miles consisted of getting low to the wind, doing what I could on the ascents and pushing as hard as I could on the flats and descents. One part of me was half expecting a huge pack from our field to come and overtake me, the nagging thought of this helped keep me from converting the race into a sight-seeing ride.

Soon, however, I also had to deal with some serious lower back pain. Not like any I’ve had before, it was really low and overlapped the top of my hips. Strangely, it would come and go with no correlation to the effort I was putting out.

Meanwhile, I passed a couple of guys that either Jeremy’s and/or Scott’s group had dropped. I thought they’d cling to my increasingly feeble wheel, but they didn’t even try. A couple of those dirt road descents in this last third of the race were pretty hairy, with loose dirt and crushed rock dust about 2 inches thick on top. I could see some pretty wavy tracks laid down by earlier passers-by but kept an even keel as I went along. I passed one guy getting medical attention in that stretch.

The ups and downs of Meeting House Road were torture, the pain enhanced for a moment when 5 guys went blasting by me on one of the rises: “Here comes the rest of the pack!”, I thought. It took me a moment to notice they had different colored numbers on and were the leaders of a field that started after ours. Phew.

Onto Stage Road and, like on most of the last climbs, there was no spark left in my legs so I shifted all the way to 39/27 and ground my way up. I was keenly aware of all the people set up on their front yards or end of the driveways, cheering, ringing bells and enjoying the passing parade of pain. It definitely gave me a lift when I really needed it.

I was in heaven when one lone lady leaning on her mailbox shouted to me: “One more climb and then five miles to go!”

The last miles had me, forearms my bar tops, in tri-mode, pedaling towards the end. Somehow, after all previous agony, I managed a 20 mph avg for the final 4 miles. That last turn into the finish straight was a real treat with people hanging over the barriers, cheering as I crossed the line with no one else in sight. My assumption was that I finished barely in the top 20 and was going to confirm that later on BikeReg, I felt good all right about it but was not exactly jazzed.

Afterwards, I greedily grabbed a bottle of water that was handed to me and downed right away. I wandered with my bike along the vendor area until I came upon Len near the start-finish line and gave him the short version of my race. Then he gave me directions back to the high school which left me dreading getting back on my bike for the short ride back.

I bounced back a bit after I changed/ate/drank and returned to the podium area with Jeremy, Scott, Todd, Matt and connected with Carl “Old Salt” Shimer and Gary “Wasabe Chin” Sclar.

Finally, I wandered over to the posted results, looked up my field and found to my surprise that I had finished 12th. Cool!
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rusto
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Re: Battenkill

Post by rusto » Tue Apr 12, 2011 12:19 am

Better pic of Matt:

Image
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onegeardoug
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Re: Battenkill

Post by onegeardoug » Tue Apr 12, 2011 5:29 am

rusto wrote:I was keenly aware of all the people set up on their front yards or end of the driveways, cheering, ringing bells and enjoying the passing parade of pain.
Nice race report, and way to tough it out. I particularly liked the "passing parade of pain" part.

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Re: Battenkill

Post by JeremyC » Tue Apr 12, 2011 7:39 am

Great race everyone. Nice teamwork in the 4s, looking forward to racing with you guys.

You've seen the report from Russ. I'll add a brief writeup from my perspective.

My main goal was to make the selection on Juniper. I led out over the Perry Rd Hill, joined by 2 others and we hammered into Juniper Swamp. I kept a steady high pace up the climb in 2nd position and was happy to settle in to the selection of 8 lead riders, fully recovered. Steady going through the feed zone in a pace line that all of a sudden was hammering. (post race power numbers explain what happened in the next 20 minutes). We were going so fast that even in mid-paceline I had trouble holding wheels. Hitting the bottom of Joe Bean I knew I was in trouble. Hit the hill hard but still watched 6 guys riding away, although they were all spread out as well. Worked with another guy for a while and I dropped him on "the driveway" and caught and passed another guy. Rode solo but still hard for 15 miles when low and behold Sweeney and another guy caught me, which I was happy about. We worked together until Stage Rode when the big englishman turned on the gas, I was able to follow but Sweeney had done too much work in the previous chase. We descended together, with 1k to go he turned to me and in a nice british accent, "so what do you want to do here?" I suggested sprinting it out, which he agreed with. We turned the final corner and we both hit the gas, sped neck and neck all out down the straight away, and I did my first ever bike throw and beat hm by no more than 3 inches. Happy with 6th place, now I just need to know how to make the "2nd" selection next year.

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Re: Battenkill

Post by Smudger » Tue Apr 12, 2011 9:12 am

JeremyC wrote: I did my first ever bike throw and beat hm by no more than 3 inches.
Ya belter...get it right up them. I have a pair of saltire socks heading your way.

On another thought...Anyone else having that day 2 after Battenkill "I can't touch my calfs without screaming" sensation.

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Re: Battenkill

Post by swawersik » Tue Apr 12, 2011 10:44 am

Smudger wrote:Ya belter...get it right up them. I have a pair of saltire socks heading your way.
I have no idea what half those words mean...

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Re: Battenkill

Post by Smudger » Tue Apr 12, 2011 11:09 am

swawersik wrote:
I have no idea what half those words mean...

It's just my enjoyment over Jeremy gubbing a sassenach (beating an Englishman ) and for that effort I have a nice pair of blue and white Saltire (Scottish flag) socks for him to wear as an honourary Scot.

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Re: Battenkill

Post by PJ McQuade » Tue Apr 12, 2011 4:59 pm

Quick report from the Cat 3/grey field. Some total stud broke away on the Perry Mill climb never to be seen again. No real team organization in the race, so no one reacted. The field stayed together on Juniper, but a split formed on the next climb, Joe Bean. I was caught on the bad side of the split and was forced to chase back on. This wasn't too much of a struggle and we regrouped on the next dirt road. The addition of Carney-Cassidy Rd was critical this year, however. As reports predicted, this would - and did - change the race. The group was mostly together here, but gaps formed almost immediately as the traction worsened and the pace picked up. By the time we reached the top, an elite group had formed, which didn't include myself. Again I was chasing the pack. I pacelined with a medium-sized group and we caught on around 7 miles later. Ouch. Had I been with the pack up front these miles would have been recovery; instead I was taking pulls and wrecking myself. By the time we hit Meetinghouse my legs started showing signs of surrender. Once again I tucked back with the mortals and watched a group of 10-15 pull away. With Stage Road approaching time was running out. Stage Road is kind of a blur, but at some point I grouped up with two riders and we desperately tried to catch the lead pack (now over a minute ahead). We were sharing the work nicely, but a bigger chase group behind us was closing in. This was around the 5k mark, so we sat up and basically rode in together. There were probably around 12-15 of us in this group, and given the uneven stretch of road at the finish, I was quite comfortable rolling in safe toward the back. 35th place, about 1.5 mins behind the main field. I'll take it. Oh and the freak who bolted at mile 10 won by 4 mins. I spoke to him at the finish and he said, "It wasn't as hard as you'd think." Ha!

Awesome experience this year, despite leaving my cycling shoes at home. 2010 left a sour taste in my mouth and I was glad things worked out better this time around. Dieter definitely improved the race too. There's really nothing else around like this. I give the guy credit.
To climb steep hills requires a slow pace at first.
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Re: Battenkill

Post by jraguin » Tue Apr 12, 2011 9:10 pm

Nice job PJ! You are a stud.

Carl et all: The comments about the guy in the Cat 5 45+ field with his private parts almost in the breeze struck a cord. Here is my friend's blog on the race. Note the picture of the guy (Greg) covering up at the finish. I give the guy a TON of kudos for riding on.

http://cantabloggia.blogspot.com

John

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Re: Battenkill

Post by scott_sweeney » Wed Apr 13, 2011 6:53 am

Do I get a pair of socks for softening the English guy up for 20 miles before we caught up to Jere?? :D
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Re: Battenkill

Post by JeremyC » Wed Apr 13, 2011 8:00 am

Stefan, thanks for asking for the translation. Now it all makes sense, looking forward to those socks, it makes the sprint even that much sweeter.

Smudger, BTW I'm not great with accents. There's a 17% chance it was actually scottish...

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Re: Battenkill

Post by Smudger » Wed Apr 13, 2011 8:05 am

JeremyC wrote: There's a 17% chance it was actually scottish...

You wouldn't have beat him if he was Scottish :)

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Re: Battenkill

Post by swawersik » Wed Apr 13, 2011 8:53 am

scott_sweeney wrote:Do I get a pair of socks for softening the English guy up for 20 miles before we caught up to Jere?? :D
Only if you didn't take a pull the whole time. Otherwise, you were just helping him chase down your teammate :)

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