A lot of firsts for me yesterday: First race of the year, first race at Battenkill, first race as a 3.... should be fun! Oh, and first time I've EVER seen my heart rate at 205
As for the race, pretty uneventful for 48 miles -- some hard efforts on the ramps, but mostly just trying to surf the front to stay in the top 15 -- mostly successfully. Cheese Factory road was so much fun, I was 3rd or 4th wheel, everyone was hammering, stones were flying, wheels were slipping.... SWEET! CX in April.... As Doug and I were chatting after the race, we both would have liked more Cheese Factory and Wrights-like surfaces, it definitely put some roadies in difficulty. On to Wrights Road -- more loose surface and hammering, still in the top 5-10, what was left of the group was mostly together but strung out. We hit the start of Meetinghouse and the carnage began. Still in the top 10, I could see and hear guys giving up the ghost. I felt great the whole climb, the last sharp kicker hurt a lot, but I just glued myself to the wheel in front and dug in. After cresting, descending, and turning right onto the main road to head south, I looked around and it was a group of 20-25 of us and suprisingly (to me anyway) the wheel car was behind us, meaning we had a big enough gap that they considered it to be "the race" -- Yay! Then, of course, everyone sat up. And softpedaled, and lolligagged, etc, etc. When we turned left about 1.5 miles before Stage, we were back up to 40ish guys. Then, Stage Road happened. I felt great for the first half (the steep part), but I dug ever so deep on a sharp kicker to hang on a wheel (with PJ shouting encouragement!!) but I misremembered (like Roger Clemens) and thought it was the last real kicker followed by a slight downhill -- it wasn't. It was followed by 200m of 2% false flat, and that was followed by the kicker I was actually remembering, but too late. The false flat was my unhitching, and it was a lonely ride from there in no man's land. I did catch one guy on the downhill, but then I sat on his wheel, he flicked his arm, I played along, and then never regained his wheel. Oh well.
Strava tells the story in cold hard numbers: 6 seconds behind PJ on "Stage Road" segment (the unhitching), and 32 seconds slower on the run-in from the summit of Stage Rd to the finish (the solo TT). All in all, I'm very satisfied with the day, my goal was top 25 (borrowed from racing Cat 3 'cross), I ended up 21st. Slight miscalculation on Stage Rd, but basically I think I raced smart and gave it everything I had -- no regrets. Maybe next year we'll get lucky and all the dirt sections will be turned loose like Cheese Factory and Wrights
Jeremy says Battenkill is the best race going, I might just agree....