Gerald, Greyburns, JRoc, and Charlie made the trip down to Saratoga Springs, New York for the annual Tour of the Battenkill, which takes place in Cambridge, New York. After a few hours in the car, the gang decided to work out the kinks with a post-drive spin.
When we were done riding it was time to eat, and the decision of where to eat was an easy one, with a BBQ place just across the street from the Best Western. And what a BBQ place it was! After (over) indulging on BBQ we headed back to the hotel to veg-out, probably in a similar manner to cavemen after they had a brontosaurus feast. It all worked out though, as our start times dictated that we hit the hay early.
In the morning we went to the the trusty Starbucks for our mandatory caffeine hit, a bit of smoothie, and a few pastries for some carbs. After we each got our shot in the dark, we piled back in the car to make the short trip over to Cambridge.
Andrew, Gerald, and Charlie participated in the Masters 30+ race, while Janine decided to enter the Gran Fondo event. As per usual, the Masters 30+ race started pretty easy on the rollout to the first covered bridge. After that the pace quickly increased as we entered the first dirt section. On each climb, the group hammered hard, while in between the climbs and the dirt sections the pace mainly settled down. The slowing of pace allowed a break of 3 to formulate, and those riders wouldn't be seen again until after the finish. Kudos to their panache!
Gerald found the intensity a bit too hot, as he's currently got more of a diesel engine. He was gapped off the group after about one-third of the course covered. Andrew was hanging tough over the first few climbs, but found himself under-geared with his new compact crank and no 11 cog. He made a valiant chase after finding himself tailed off on a descent, and after a 10k chase he made contact with the group again. But unfortunately his making it back to the pack happened just as we hit one of the most severe dirt climbs. Charlie heard a quick hello from Greyburns, and then an even quicker farewell, as Andrew paid the price for his chase effort.
Charlie meanwhile made use of the course itinerary sheet Andrew had prepared to ensure he was in good position for the start of the climbs, and hung tough with the front of the pack over the steep gravel hills. After a group split off the front of the pack in one of the last dirt sections, Charlie found himself in a chase group with little horsepower, and protective teammates of riders up front. Sensing it was time to take matters into his own hands, he broke away from the group exiting a corner onto some pavement and went into solo mode with 15km to go. With 3km to go, Charlie made contact with a straggler from the leaders, and was caught by a chaser, but managed to take on his two companions in the sprint for 8th. Top-10 goal achieved!
Janine rode steady through her Gran Fondo, using her 'cross bike to navigate the hilly dirt sections. A big group caught her with 3km to go, but she was in no mood to give up places at the end. She lead out the group sprint and took it all the way to the line, not knowing at the time how much that sprint would pay off. After washing up and grabbing some food and a cold one at the expo, Janine was surprised when she was called up to the podium for the 3rd spot. Rewarded with a commemorative jug of chocolate milk, it was official, Battenkill 2013 was a success!
Thanks to Brown's Brewing Company, who are celebrating their 20th year, for their delicious beers they were serving at the Battenkill Expo post-race! The bitter is so good!