Battenkill: A bit of everything

A bit of everything today: some lessons learned, some progress and victories, and some good times.  My second race of the year, and I’d say it went pretty well.

First the interesting stuff: lessons learned.  Number one: when the start is at 2:00pm, don’t have a juicy espresso at 8:00am right before a three and a half hour car ride.  I was on top of the world for the car trip, but by race time, I was starting to feel strung out, cranky, and a little tired like… well… me most nights around 10:00pm.

Number two: Be decisive. I actually said out-loud to myself today (to at least one snicker from another rider) “What the hell am I doing?” after waffling on an attack, and then sitting halfway in front of the group, watching attackers on far more decisive moves whiz by.  I also had a chance to bridge up to Bobby Lea in the games leading up to the finale, but waffled when I should have committed.  Nice work, Kevin, for righting my wrong, just putting your head down and doing it –exactly what I should have done (and for making a wicked scary face while you were attacking that paralyzed the group with fear).

Number three: Confidence.  I was ready to quit after having my doors slammed shut the second time up Juniper Swamp road, and then again, worse, on Joe Bean Rd.  Luckily, a few caffeinated gels opened my doors back up.  Some guys don’t quit until someone slams a padlock on their doors.  Other guys just need their doors shut gently and they’re done for the day.  Its time to be the former, not the latter.  (apologies to the real Eric Saunders, for the rough paraphrasing, and to all for publishing an inside joke in open-forum).

Now for the less interesting stuff (unless you are my mom or my girlfriend): the stuff I’m proud of.  First, I knew what was going on.  Like pretty much the whole time.  I knew who the players were (mostly), and I was in there and in the mix when they were attacking.  I didn’t play everything perfectly (see above) but I was finally in the right place at the right time on several occasions.  That’s the big one, and I think I’ll leave it at that.

Next up, the juicy details about the race…

The stats, for those of you who aren’t so familiar with Battenkill:  The race was 80 miles, which we covered in about 3:20 — 24mph.  Not very fast, actually, for a couple reasons.  First, there were no dominant teams setting pace, and no all-day breakaway to chase.  Second, well, it was hilly.

There were five main “climbs” as I categorize them — twice up Juniper Swamp rd (the appetizer, a short, steep dirt pitch), then Joe Bean Road (photo from last year), a longer, stepped climb that keeps you guessing (or wishing?) that it’s over.  Then the real racing starts with the climb out of Greenwich, although it’s really the many rollers of Valley Summit and Meetinghouse Rd (again, not from this year, but two sweet photos) that come a few minutes after the main climb which really mess shit up.  At last, Stage road, a nice, steadier climb with rollers over the top offers a final chance for suffering before the tailwind flats into town.

The summary: Juniper Swamp road was pretty tame the first time, and a bit savage the second time.  But again, this was just the appetizer.  Some fireworks started going off on a small climb leaving the first feed zone in Shushan (about 1 hour into the race), with Josh Dillon, Robbie King, Will Dugan, and other players attacking and following moves — but things came back together quickly.  Shit hit the fan on a small climb out of Salem, and on the flats leading up to Joe Bean Road, when an attack by Dugan sent everyone into a frenzy.  The race might have been decided here, when a sizeable group of many favorites went up the road, and the group was strung out and guttered in the crosswind.  After completely exploding on Joe Bean Road, however, an unmotivated lead group allowed the race to come back together.

A generally hard pace on the climb out of Greenwich, and tired legs set things up perfectly for a shakeout.  And that’s exactly what happened following the short paved climb of Valley Summit Road, where the rolling climb and ruthless crosswinds of Becker Road separated the wheat from the chaff.  The huge rollers of Meetinghouse road sealed the deal.  I was able to stay with the second group on the road.  Stage road came up quickly, and we had the leaders in sight.  I made a desperate move on the rollers at the top to bridge up, but couldn’t quite seal the deal.  Bobby Lea pulled through solidly, showing more experience and class than I had with my frantic effort.  We descended down to turnpike road, and Bobby attacked.  Kevin bridged up.  I went with 1k to go and held it for 14th.

Then I fell over trying to get off my bike and use the porta John.  No one saw (I think).

Entertainment for the ride home, courtesy of Aidan: This American Life 403: Nummi (Some great insight into the American and Japanese auto industries), and some weird podcast about hiccups.


~ by awerbuch on April 12, 2010.

5 Responses to “Battenkill: A bit of everything”

  1. Damn son, nice finish!

  2. I was checking up on Dartmouth’s results at Yale, great results yourself!
    You must tell me though, how is it racing for the enemy? : )

    But seriously, just wanted to say I’m enjoying your blog a lot. I’m off in Prague for this term after being in Peru for the winter. No biking (except some mountain biking in the Andes) and a lot of running, I’m planning on running the Prague marathon on May 9th.

    Your riding/dedication was always good inspiration and continues to be so. Hoping to race A’s and go to Nats next spring.

    All the best Rudy, keep riding. Got a lot of people rooting for you.

    • Wow, Isaiah, those are very kind words. Thank you so much.

      Good luck at the marathon. I have little doubt that you’ll be able to race at nationals, given the focus and determination you’ve always shown (like when you blitzed me the spring before you came to Dartmouth for advice on how to prepare for college racing). You’ve got your shit together, man, and it shows.

      I’ll try to keep up my end of the deal as best I can!

  3. NorEast really appreciated the hard work you put in this weekend.

  4. Isiah is so sweet.
    Emily is so Philly.
    Ryan Kelly is so itchy (you know, the herpes).
    And the NUMMI episode was pretty boring to my non-engineering ears, but I can could have guessed that you would have liked it.

    Do we get to see a pic of you in the CCNS kit?

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