Monthly Archives: April 2011

Quabbin Road Race 2011 Masters 45+ – April 23, 2011

Report submitted by Jeff Fisher

What can you say about racing in 39 degree pouring rain/snow mix?  Brutal.

I actually didn’t think I was going to be racing.  Through a never ending series of mishaps, John Grenier and I managed to get to the start line just after the 45+ group left the start line.  Before we had even gone half a mile I hit a huge hole and lost one of my water bottles.  I didn’t realize it until we had gone a couple miles through the neutral start.  I was planning on quitting right there since I didn’t think I could ride 65 miles on one bottle.  John talked me into continuing, so against my better judgement I continued to race.

We hit the first climb of the day and I thought I was going to get dropped.  Ron came up and said we were at least going to warm up and Stuart was right near the front where he needed to be.  For the next few miles I kept wondering if I made the right decision to keep going.  It seemed like every mile there were riders heading back the other way having called it quits.

About 50 minutes in to the race I had just about had enough.  My legs, knees, hands were so cold they were in real pain.  Somehow the zipper on my jersey came apart at the bottom and started to unzip.  I told John I was 90% sure I was going to head back.  Ron came by and said some encouragement so once again I stayed in the race.  By now I was trying to calculate what was going to be worse, staying with the pack or turning back and riding another hour back by myself.

We went down a long descent and that was it.  I thought I couldn’t take any more.  My jersey was know nearly open all the way and the cold air on my chest was cutting through me like a knife.  The only problem was it was too difficult to stop on this descent.  By the time we got to the bottom I didn’t feel like turning around and climbing back up so I stayed in.  Meanwhile, Ron was up at the front trying to bring us back to the lone rider off the front.  I was glad to see Ron and Stuart came to race.  For me it was now simply survive to the finish.

We started up the longest climb if the day, I think, and by the time we got to the top I was at least warmer and my legs were feeling a little better.  By now it was about 1:15 into the race so I figured I’d better just stay in for the duration.  We still hadn’t caught the lone guy off the front, but I was worried, who could stay off the front for 60 miles?

At about the 30 mile mark I was in bad shape.  I felt like I was getting hypothermic.  I was shivering so hard that my neck and back were locking up.  I couldn’t feel my hands so I could barely get my bottle out of the cage to drink.  Since my fingers weren’t working I could barely shift.  The was the darkest moment I’ve ever had while racing.  Luckily we started up a series of climbs and it seemed like after each one I warmed up just a little bit more.  I was still having problems shifting, but at least I wasn’t shivering so much.

Stuart was pushing the pace on a number of the climbs with Ron not too far behind.  A couple of times it looked like the group was going to come apart, but the elastic just wouldn’t snap.  After all this action I finally started to come back to life.  For the first time I actually felt like racing.  I noticed the Keltic guys were really trying to get someone off the front.  I think I covered or was involved in at least 10 attacks over the next 10 miles.  The harder I raced the better I felt.

Finally I saw what looked like the break forming that would stay away.  I managed to bridge up to to others, a CCB rider and a Keltic rider.  I figured we had a good chance and hopefully they were shutting down the pack.  We kept the pace as high as we could for the next eight miles.  With about five miles to go I was starting to pay the price for the earlier aggression and only having one water bottle.  I knew I had to hang on since Ron and Stuart would be pissed if they saw me coming back to the group.  With 5K to go I was mentally preparing myself for the finishing climb.  The pace was high, but we were all tired so it wasn’t brutal.  The sprint opened up with about 150 meters to go.  I thought I had third, but got nipped at the line.  I was happy with 4th, that’s for sure.

Stuart came in 10, but I wasn’t able to find out how the final battle up to the finish went for what was left of the group.  Just finishing today would have been a reward; two OA in the top 10, not too shabby.

Women’s Monday Night Ride Departure Location

We have finalized a new and permantent departure location for the Monday Night Ride for the women, which will be from Emmaus Lutheran Church, 265 Middle Road, Falmouth.

Rides are currently leaving promptly at 6pm and will continue throughout the summer at this time. We’ll move the ride to 5:30 in the fall when daylight becomes an issue.

Apres ride will be at Foreside Tavern, 270 US Route One, Falmouth.

Women’s Ride – Monday, 4/18; 6pm

The women’s Monday night ride will now move to 6pm due to extended daylight. Departure from Plummer-Motz School, Middle Road, Falmouth promptly at 6pm. We should be returning to the school no later than 7:30.

Apres ride drinks will be at Foreside Tavern, Falmouth. If you will be biking to/from the ride and staying for the apres ride social, please bring lights as it will be dark biking home.

Battenkill Race Report, April 10th, 2011 – by Joseph Reis

Things started out like most big junior races, kids weren’t used to riding in such a big field and for the first 5 miles there was a lot of surging followed by hard braking and ballooning.

It was pretty chaotic and starting in the back didn’t help much. So I just focused on trying to get towards the front before the covered bridge on Eagleville rd. since I didn’t trust a lot of the kids in the back and wanted to stay out of trouble on the first dirt section. I made it up on the right side of the road just in time for the bridge crossing (epic) and stayed in the front half for the following dirt section (also epic). Things became pretty ballooned again after dirt section #1 and the moto official eventually gave up trying to enforce the yellow line rule.

Next up was the first little climb before the juniper swamp road. I moved up to the front and opened my legs a bit. The legs were feeling pretty good and warmed up by this point so I just got out of the wind on the downhill and sat in 10 wheels back going onto Juniper swamp. At that hill I made sure to stay in the front and it was a good thing too because the group split here. The 2nd peloton caught back on, but by the looks of it they had to take quite a dig to manage. Everything regrouped after the feed-zone in Shushan.

Things really slowed down in between Shushan and Salem. This was a very nice section of open countryside though so I am thinking everyone enjoyed the cease-fire. A few kids rode off the front and the pace went back up entering Salem however. Eventually, the kids were caught, but the pace stayed up for the roads bringing us to the Joe Bean climb. I had heard a bit about this climb before and I exected that things would break up here so I made sure to stay near the front for when things started to heat up. Just as I had thought the pace really picked up as members of the Rocky Mountain  junior team started to try and bring back a rider dangling up the hill. The climb got pretty fast towards the top and I was dodging kids falling out of the lead group. I put in a hard dig and got a good wheel in the lead group and stayed there for the remainder of the climb. We crested the climb with about 10 kids together, but things kind of regrouped again for the next dirt section. The next series of roads were pretty uneventful, but I knew there was more fun just around the corner as we were now approaching the new section of the course with a pretty loose gravel climb.

Coming onto Carney and Cassidey road was good though. I just followed a hot tubes rider up the left side of the road (nice dirt path that nobody else seemed to notice) and stayed up front. I responded to a few of his attacks and then things settled on the top of the climb, but after this the same hot tubes rider followed someone off the front and they started to open a sizable gap on the pavement. Knowing that this was a winning move I got to the front with a CL Noonan rider and a few other of the stronger riders and we went off to get them and opened up a good gap. It took a little yelling, but we got organized and caught the hot tubes rider and his breakaway mate about 5min later and rolled through the 2nd feed zone in a group of about 10.

Coming onto mountain road, the peloton caught us. It must have really shattered though because there were about 110 juniors that started and the peloton that caught us was around 30 riders. The pace stayed pretty high as a flurry of attacks kept coming from Canadian and America riders. Towards the end of the road everything had just come together and I was sitting second wheel when a Specialized Espoirs rider went off the front. I was left in the wind and I wanted someone else to close the gap so I sat up. When I saw everyone else was content with doing the same I just lifted my tempo slightly and opened a pretty large gap. I looked back once and then went as far into the pain cave as my junior gears would allow. I caught the Specialized rider by Becker road and we got together and put the hammer down. We had a surprisingly huge gap going over meeting house road and we couldn’t see the chase group that some of the stronger riders had organized until a few miles before stage road. Not knowing that the group had snuck up on us, we pushed it hard. Stage road was tough because we had been working so hard, but we made it over without getting caught. By this point I didn’t know that the chase group of 7 had come so fast and I was too busy thinking about the last 5k to realize that the gap had shrunk to about 10 seconds. I looked back coming onto the pavement at the top of Stage road and saw that my time off the front had come to an end.

We were caught at the end of the downhill and it was time for the attacking to begin. A series of failed escapes by some of the riders discouraged some of the riders and stopped what could have been a painful end to the race. I just grabbed a wheel and tried to get the legs recovered enough for the group sprint. From 3k to 1k nobody moved. I saw the hot tubes rider go under the 1k banner and I grabbed 5th wheel. I came around the two corners ready to sprint, but tried to cut inside to get to 3rd wheel on the last corner and had to slam my brakes because I would have been pushed into the barriers by another kid. By that point I had lost all momentum and my legs only had enough kick to maintain my place. I rolled across the line in 7th.

I feel that this was a very positive first experience at Battenkill. My goal for the race had been to make it in the winning move and I accomplished this and came pretty close to a podium finish. I might have messed up my sprint, but I definitely had a blast and also learned a lot about where my fitness is and what I will need to work on in the coming weeks. This was certainly the most epic race I have attended and I suggest it to anyone looking for a well-run and challenging race next year.

Women’s MNR Update for 4/11

We have a slight change to the women’s MNR. We are going to depart from Falmouth instead of Payson Park, Portland. While we work out arrangements for a starting place we will temporarily depart from the Plummer-Motz School, 192 Middle Rd. (corner of Lunt and Middle), Falmouth. You can either drive or bike there easily from Portland. Ride will depart PROMPTLY at 5:30. Subsequent weeks will probably be moved to 6pm with later sunset, but stay tuned for confirmation.

Our route will be approximately 20 miles, traveling up Woods/Woodville/Winn to Range Road/Bruce Hill and back via Blanchard and Tuttle Roads with a turn onto Harris Road to the end, across Rte 1, through the woods (yes, the woods, but don’t worry, it’s great!) and back out onto Woodville/Woods and back to the school.

Again, pace will be approximately 14-16mph average. We will look for experienced riders to buddy up with those not familiar with group riding or the route so no one gets lost or left behind. Instruction on group riding etiquette for newcomers is encouraged.

If anyone is inclined, drinks will be at Foreside Tavern after the ride. Perhaps it will even be warm enough to sit outside on the patio!