Sunday, April 10, 2011

Tour of the Battenkill 2011 -- new dirt

Tour de Flandern, Paris Roubaix or Battenkill, Cobbles or Dirt -- Holland or New England?

George, Mike, Owen, Chris and Py from Team Green Arm Bandits traveled this year again to Cambridge in
Southern Washington County, New York to dust up the dirt around the river Battenkill.

Moving in at the Beattie Inn near Salem, NY Saturday afternoon. Team dinner with a few additional guest riders and again C. Grady and buddy... a lot of small talk.

Big thanks to Mrs. Schwenker for all the outstanding dinner preparations!

Sunday, race in CAT4-Pink for Owen, Kris, Chris, Py and Mike, start 10:10. Everything went smooth and on time. Easy neutral roll out in a field of about 100. A little pace pick up towards the covered bridge, nothing serious so. Shortly hitting first dirt, pretty hard packed and smooth, just a few holes -- still enough to let a few bottles fly out of insufficient holders. No issue today for Py, having a good strong bottle holder.

Just sitting in and floating up the first climb mid field near by his team mates. Pretty much the same for the famous steep dirt climb Juniper Swamp already seeking for a more top of the pack position, following a fun fast dirt descent.

Moving up to the top ten, always good and more safe. Hanging at top 5 for the cruise to Salem via Feed Zone 1 and few rollers and a fast road descent into town heading to Salem, 90 deg turn in town proceeding to the Jo Bean climb trying to avoid been too much in very front spots. Typical pace pick up at the bottom of Joe Bean to secure a good position. A few strong guys jumping ahead a little, Py was not yet concerned about those few, he kept passing mostly others but did his best not let them go too far off. However, it all stringed out quite a bit and over the repeated more and less steep sections he could not see all the way up. Mike came around at some point and managed to close up on front, Py missed a critical moment to give it all and try to get there and found a break of possibly 18 rider taken off and gaining a at this point unknown time advantage. This goes quick from 30sec to a minute -- while you are slow working at the last steep and they are just over and off around the turn to the fast dirt downhill on Ferguson Rd.

But what Py did not realized (missed looking back) at this point turned out been painful for the good hour to come -- there was virtually no one near by close behind him either -- a huge gap. Sounds good, well, bad luck same time as he now had to ride solo and keep chasing with tiny little to zero chances to catch up -- or eventually been picked up by the "field" not putting the hammer down. He could not know how the "field" be hind him was assembled if any left at all.

So what now?

OK, downhill, get flying... nothing in sight behind. A few not identified single spread out riders ahead. He caught up to several and found them either way, very slow and out of other earlier field just passing by (a lot of "CAT4-brown") guys. Eventually he found one with a Pink number of his field and they tried to work together for a while -- this happened about two or three times -- but never lasted really longer then a few flat miles and Py (un)fortunately dropped them all on the next climb and was on his own again. To this point not a single other rider passed him. A little help on the fast easy open roads with minor cross winds would have been welcome.

Heading on solo again, towards new the rolling loose dirt section North-East of the Battenkill -- curious how this would be. Nothing in particular, just nice scenic winding rolling loose gravel roads, few minor steeps.

Heading to Feedzone 2 with one more picked up rider in "Pink" of his field, working together fine for a few miles -- thanks buddy! And sorry for dropping this poor guy at the next climb again -- more dirt on Mountain Rd towards Becker and turning on the infamous Meeting House Rd. This is a pretty funny totally strait but up- and down rolling road featuring one in particular insane steep what puts the hurt on every ones legs. Plus some photographers take their chances for good snap shots.

Here a few impression of this spot from one of the photographers -- click to see more:

From there on a little more rolling dirt a few turns and some paved road sections to recover or just fly on. Reaching top speed of some 80km/h shooting into Buskirk. Getting once again shocked with the last steep dirt section -- minor cramp issue in right leg due to the downhill ease off and full power again attempt, but this issue faded away quickly and Py pulled still Full Speed Ahead towards the finish line -- last drop of water with 4k to go.

His bet of the break of about 15..20 (his toughs while racing) was pretty exact, he picked up and dropped 3 riders of his field (and passed many many others). Py's result was at race day posted with 16th place what got some how later adjusted to 17th as one more rider seamed to show up?!?! GAB Mike did a great job staying with the break a little longer and got 12th!

Py's GPS Data:
And the Official Results.

And last a word about the organization of this huge race event -- over 2000 racers and numerous starting fields! -- basically everything went just smooth and efficient -- virtually all coordinations seamed to be nearly invisible in background. May be it felt easy as he already did it once lats year and knew where is what. However, great job behind the scenes! And many thanks to all the people and volunteers making this event once more a premier one.


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