Friday afternoon, Charlie, Gerald and I setoff for the self proclaimed Queen of American Classics, the Tour of the Battenkill. The weather, the atmosphere, the course, the organization, certainly made this self proclamation legit. Above all, the course was spectacular. Truly a euro classic feel to it. A lot of corners and ups and downs. Very fun to race over pavement, hard packed dirt, slightly loose dirt and gravel to very loose dirt and gravel and rocks.
My goals for the race were a) test the legs and see how the winter of training and a week in South Carolina have worked b) avoid any carnage at the first dirt section. Goal b) was accomplished flawlessly. I was fourth wheel heading under the covered bridge (traditionally, where the fireworkds start) and then second wheel onto the dirt. The fallout from this was I was left a bit gassed after the dirt. But many years of racing has taught me though that if I'm hurting early, hang on for a bit, because eventually the pace will come back down to my comfort level as the others tire.
Sure enough, at the 75km mark, we hit the last major section of dirt that was about 10k long. As we hit it, the peloton just exploded and many were going backwards and I was going forwards fast with nobody taking up the implied offer of a lift forward. Eventually I was in a group of 8 including local Ottawa Tall Tree rider, Matt Surch. I was happy to be riding with him but he looked to be fading. I offered some words of encouragement and he perked up a bit. As we crested the last sharp pitch before the descent to the finish, I just couldn't hold the wheels and came home solo.
Turns out the group I had been in was racing for 15th. Sh*t. I ended up 23rd and lost no positions on the descent and run into the finish. Given my non-sprinting prowess, I'd wager I would've got the same result had I buried myself deeper to hang on to the group. Ultimately as I stood at the car spent, I realized goal a) was achieved.
Charlie looked amazing the whole race until he flatted just before the 75k mark. Gerald and new teammate Adam "Fitzy" Fitzsimmons both lost contact with the group early in the race and ended up in a group for the duration.