Catching up with last month's adventures...
At the beginning of August, a Nine2FivePro contingent made their way to the Catskills again for another racing adventure. On the way, Gerald and Charlie found themselves as part of a parade when they took an exit to find food and gas. And everybody managed to find their own meandering way to the rental house due to the "creative" nature of each GPS.
Everybody made it to the house the night before the race started, so the morning of the time trial was relaxing, giving everyone a chance to decompress after a long drive the night before. Coffee aroma filled the air, and plenty of oatmeal was made to fuel up for the Windham time trial.
The shakedown after the time trial had Charlie finish on top of the Cat-3 podium, squeaking out a win by 16 seconds. After going out way too hard, and taking a bit of a breather after 3k, he found his tempo, for the rest of uphill part of the course to the turnaround. After making the turn it was all about spinning to the finish. Greg finished up 9th, putting another N2F guy in the top-10. Caroline rode the women's open time trial to a 2nd place. Two podium places for Nine2FivePro was a good start to the weekend!
Stage 2 was a circuit race with one punchy climb of about 2km...enough to hurt for a bit, but not quite enough to make any significant splits. Nigel jockeyed a couple times for the KOM points, while Greg battled for the sprinter jersey points. In the last lap, after going for the sprint points, Greg made an opportunistic move to sneak away with another rider. With power in numbers, the team tried to give him a fighting chance by neutralizing any chase efforts. But the pack was too keen to contest the uphill run-in to the Windham ski centre. At 15k to go, Greg was brought back into the pack. With the pack all together Charlie thought it was a sure thing he would start the last stage in yellow, but that wasn't going to happen without a speed bump. At 10km to go, Charlie had to pull over to "manually" shift by pulling his chain down the cogs, as his rear mech had gotten stuck on his sprockets, a product of fitting a "Catskills cassette". A hard chase back to the pack, and a short and fast finishing climb to the finish, the pack finished all together.
Caroline rode in the women's Cat 3/4 women's field for the circuit race, battling hard to hang on for the first lap. She hung tough to finish off her race, and had her domestique-husband to take care of her after the race, after he cleaned up from his circuit race and went out to support her.
A couple days of racing complete, and we were ready for another root-vegetable extravaganza courtesy of top-chef Gerald. Apart from providing the awesome dinners each night, Gerald also served up some sweet pre-race tunes as team-DJ.
Stage 3 was the Queen stage, with an early hard climb, a rolling middle section, finished off with the infamous climb of Devil's Kitchen. Rolling out for a long day in the saddle, Charlie found Hans' steady wheel to follow for the first 20km, while a breakaway snuck up the road, the team content to gamble that the long day and brutal final climb would be too much for the breakaway. The break's lead grew fast, and mid-way through the race time checks weren't available as the lead car was out of radio range. Mid-race Nigel, Gerald, and Charlie had a brief stop to heed the call of nature before the first KOM, with Nigel doing great team work to pace Charlie back onto the group.
With 20km to the base of the Kitchen, it was time to begin the chase. First, friend of the team, Andrew Kruger was at the front setting a tempo in front of Charlie. He was in Catskills looking for a hard workout. After he pulled off the Front, Nigel came to the front and lit it up, chasing at 40km/hr right into the base of Devils. This brought back most of the break, apart from a lone rider who stayed away until the finish to take the stage win...Chapeau! The pack hit the final climb, and it was time for business. After hanging tough for a K or two, Charlie came unglued from the front runners, and had to settle into his own tempo to the top. Over the top, and an alliance formed with riders around him, he chased to the finish to try to hold on to a top spot in GC, finally finishing up 8th overall.
Greg was the next finisher after having a tough go on the final climb being over geared, while Nigel grovelled in after his massive chase effort before the climb. Gerald had suffered a flat mid-way through the stage, but still finished off his tour of Catskills, while Caroline was cheering us on on the Devils Kitchen, collecting evidence of our pain and suffering.
With that, another Catskills was wrapped up, with plenty of good racing and good times. All that was left was to pick up some tasty brews to bring home.
Big Thanks to the TOC organizers for another awesome edition!