Written by Cindy McNett
The NY Capital Region Road Race is a hill-lover’s dream. A circuit race over a twenty mile loop, with several steep wall-climbs, winding descents, and 2 sharp 45-degree turns.
As I surveyed the fit-looking women at the starting line of the Pro 1/2/3 who all appeared to be half my age, I wondered why I was there and what was going to happen to me. This nonsense was quickly shelved as the race got underway and full concentration turned to the task of completing 2 laps and staying with the lead group.
The 3 mile neutral zone led us to the start/finish line, where the racing began. Almost on cue, it began to rain – HARD. All I could see and hear was water spray. Flying down the steep rain-slick descents on egg-shell carbon and faith, everyone was cautious. Up the wall-hills, holding position, trying not to roast my legs. People were falling out of the group, and on one particularly steep wall, 2 riders got away. What remained of the main group organized and tried to reel them in, mile after mile in the rain, passing remnants of the men’s fields.
At some point I looked up through the spray and realized the rider just ahead was right behind the pace car! Loop 2 started as we passed the start/finish area, and got into the wall-climbs. Then IT happened, cresting the top of a steep hill. I shifted into the big front chain ring anticipating the down-hill, and dropped the chain. I had to unclip, put the darn thing back on, while watching the coveted top-five finish glide away over the next hill.
Back on the bike now and in full chase-mode, I caught up to the trailing end of the group but didn’t fully latch on. On the descents they rolled away, and incrementally the gap got larger.
By good fortune a strong rider named Meagan appeared out of nowhere and we helped each other. I could climb, and she was fabulous on the flats. We could see the leaders but never closed the gap. The last 2 km sported a series of short steep uphills, where I pulled away with whatever I could muster at that point. Nothing on my mind now except dry clothes and HOT coffee!!
This race was great fun, well organized, and well-marked, with a marshall on every corner. I would definitely recommend it!