Saturday, April 10, 2010

Tour of the Battenkill - plenty of room for optimizations

This Saturday April 10th was the day of "Americas Queen of the Classics" or Tour of the Battenkill. A great 100km / 1400hm course with a set of good dirt roads and dirt climbs to add some thrills.

Click to view full size image

A good number of the GAB team and team friends made the long road tip up there and stayed this year again at a beautiful Inn on Beattie Hollow Rd.


Learned lessons from previous years were that good and athletes dedicated dining is hard to find near by, they took full advantage of the place with full kitchen. Big thanks to Chris, who took so great care of dinner and breakfast for the team! And sure also thanks to the great and welcoming hosting family!

Plenty of time the next morning as the team starts in CAT4 blue and CAT3 were just after shortly noon. The sun came out and the weather turned out to be beautiful.


at the race parking


Staging Zone:


Start at CAT4 - blue at 12:50. Rolling out comfortable and neutralized for the 1st 1km. Everything very well behaved.

Towards the famous Covered Bridge (snaps form Py's on board camera):


Here a sequence of upcoming turns and sections.


Views from GreenArm Bandits support team at feed zone 2 (Big thanks to Chris and Mark and who else was there):



Now, let start with Py's view and report of the race CAT4 blue

Thanks to some unknown person(s) handing water bottles at F1 -- Py was more than happy to grab one, as... one 1/2 empty bottle flew out of Py's holder as he hit the 1st dirt section (Robertson Rd) after the covered bridge going over a couple of bigger holes at good speed... he doesn't really know how he managed it, but be leave it or not, actually his 2nd bigger (and full) bottle few out of the other holder as well (yes out) and he happened to catch and keep it with his left leg/knee tight to the frame and rescued it -- not to mention, still going at 20+mph on bumpy dirt (this scene in on the video), placing it back it the better down tube holder! Well, that was exiting.

Good cruise up on Perry Hill Rd, proceeding to Juniper Swamp, little short but steep dirt climb, road in great condition, almost pavement like. Passing a couple riders, but having a little separation to the front group -- but he caught up to them putting in a bit of TT efforts, flying down some dirt roads teaming up with some random rider, and back on -- chillin on the group again :-)

As already mentioned, at F1 he was happy to grab a extra water bottle, dumb thing with a screwed on cap -- well that had to go off (and fly away, sorry for that) -- stored the bottle open and lose sitting in the upright bottle cage and carrying it all the way to F2 to properly dump it there.

Exhilerating downhill towards 22 / Salem... tasting some smoking break action on carbon rims... [the GPS reported max speed of 76.3 km/h, must have bee there.]

Easy cruise to Joe Bean. Py doing pretty well up there but still at the very top the field got stretched a bit and he had to find myself in a kind of second group with little gap -- no good, left the mass behind passing more riders climbing over the top of Joe Bean and flying at warp speed down Ferguson Rd, more packed dirt -- may be good, NOT sitting in a group here, so he could pick his line on the dirt freely. This was going to be great -- and did he mentioned? He loves his new tubular wheels (EC90SL), at speeds up and beyond 30mph these get so nice and stable -- they need the speed, as they are so light and agile with so little angular momentum -- or just "really racy"!

Still some more TTing with a few others to catch up before Battenville on 49. Just right of himself (he saw these two riders already behaving weird and not properly working in the pace line in front of him and stayed away) -- not to mention, these two dudes went over the yellow line to the left, well, touched wheels and -- went down... (he hope they are OK)
Back on the front group, always finding C. Grady up there again :-)

[[sorry folks, the video SHOULD have lasted until the feedzone 2 and he expected even this crash to be documented..., but, no -- he only got about 1h10, vey mad about this, as for some reason the battery must not have been fully charged :-( ]]

Cruising to F2, grabbing my musette bag -- all smooth :-) However, dealing with the bag and food was kind of distracting -- would have been just fine without this time. Took mostly still full water bottle back to the finish, only the banana was good to have -- but this could have gone into his own pocket from the beginning.
But still, you never know, and you may need it. So was good to have and also a good exercise or lesson to learn.

Hanging in well, few more gentle climbs, no big deal, just over the crests he always got slightly off the front but managed to get on again on the downhills ;-)

Now, already slightly behind on Oak Hill Rd (the last dirt climb) with 5 miles to go (on top) -- he unluckily managed to drop his chain, not able to get it back on on the fly as it badly tangled up. (BAD DESIGN, MUST BE FIXED, SHOULD BE IMPOSSIBLE TO HAPPEN!!!!) OK, dismounting from the bike, fixing this mess -- riders passing by..., also the one he was TTing with a couple of times before... Heading on, flying down hill again, flying by a lot of riders... catching up with the guy passing him while dealing with the chain! However, the field was gone -- no wonder... Rolled into the finish at position 27 -- not too bad, just little over 3 minutes past number One.

Congratulation to 4th place of Chris Grady of EECT and early GAB team initiator??

Great ride or race, great day!

Special Thanks:

to Chris & Mark & few more ??? -- great job at F2, got all my stuff, no problem -- even my first time doing this :-)

Chis and Mrs. Schwenker for the so perfect GAP Team support and dinner/breakfast we enjoyed at Beattie Hollow Inn!!!

all my Team Mates !

the Battenkill organizers.

the great day and weather + perfect road conditions!

And all the best and speedy recovery
for our unlucky female EECT club member Jenn who crashed and suffered a broken collar bone as far as I know -- follow her on facebook for details.

I'll dedicate my (to be edited) -- unfortunately little short -- but still great video footage to her!

Visit the GreenArmBandits web site for GABs NEWs and view of the Tour of the Battenkill soon for more reports, photos and video once all is up and ready.


  1. Hey Percy, that was an amazing ride you had. Next year you'll tear them up!

  2. Yeah, was fun and I learned and figured out how this kind of tour or race works and I guess I have an good idea what it needs to get it done better:

    Put more efforts into the climbs. I was too conservative at those being scared to get in trouble shortly after. But I think it would have been all over more efficient to try and stay more up in front, it's hard to move up in the field on as it's tight and they fill up all the room available. Being about in the middle and passing them on the climbs and still finding always a gap to the front few riders after passing the top was no good. Then TTing after them to catch up again was most likely in sum more waist of energy every time then I may have spend climbing a bit harder.
    Well, finally not dropping the chain -- have to find a fix for that, even it happened to my knowledge about the 3rd time at all on this bike over all. Still, one too many.