Category Archives: Women

Tour of Hilltowns Race Report

Tour of Hilltowns

The Tour of the Hilltowns race took place on Saturday, July 23 in the Berkshires in Massachusetts. The day brought 94-degree temps (felt like 104 on pavement) and some pretty substantial wind. The women’s field was huge at over 30; and strong, as all of the New England climbers seemed to be there. The race was 54 miles and about 5000 feet of climbing, with a 4.5-mile mini monster at mile 22 up East Hawley Road. After PVC racers Kathy Ventura and Kate Lynch discussed the race with advisor Joe Lynch and their coach Troy Barry, who have both raced the race before, we planned on sitting in for the first 21 miles. We actually, intentionally dangled 15 yards off of the back of the group on the steep West Hawley descent at mile 15, based on advice from the guys. The pavement was sketchy and the road was narrow and there was the potential for oncoming cars; the women’s field can also just be plain twitchy and we all know this too well. We wanted to be safe above anything else. It was perfect advice. We rode easily back to the group at the bottom of the climb. The pace for the first 22 miles was mellow with a lot of rollers and decidedly not a good place to try to drive the pace or to get away.

At the base of the big climb, Kate brought Kathy around to the front to launch her up, according to the plan. Kate shares, “She got away with the lead climbers and looked strong from there A couple of minutes later,I rode back to her unexpectedly and told her to jump on. She said the heat had gotten to her and she didn’t feel good. I looked over at her and her face was bright red and white all at the same time. She looked really sick. She told me to go to keep one of us up there. I didn’t have enough oxygen to get a lot of words out to her, but reluctantly climbed on. I continued to climb hard with Natasha B. from Green Line Velo in about 9th position. We got to the top of the climb and started our 25-mile chase to the leaders. We picked up a couple of more ladies and had a fast, organized group. We got a lot of miles behind us. The heat was absolutely crushing and the wind seemed to be picking up and be always coming at us. With 7 miles to go, I started cramping. I put back some Hammer Extreme Endurolytes and Endurance Aminos and they immediately put the cramps at bay – but I knew it was temporary. We had two more climbs to go to the finish. At mile 3, the cramps came back. I was out of water. I decided to sit up from my group, take my last Endurolyte and just get to the finish. The last 3 miles were endless. I lost a few places and about 5 minutes from my chase group to finish 14th.”

Kathy got it back together after feeling sick on the climb and rode with one other lady. She pulled most of the remaining 25 miles but was psyched for the brief, intermittent break she got from the other rider. The other racer wanted to pull over and stop multiple times and Kathy kept her on her bike as she knew she could use her for the short breaks from the wind. She absolutely plowed through the remaining 25 miles, riding though a bunch of women and staying focused on the finish line. It would have been easy to quit but she stayed so strong and finished 20th. Absolutely epic effort mostly solo-ing in the heat and wind.

Kate and Kathy were both truly crushed at the finish line. Joe and Troy were there for them, picking up the pieces by taking our bikes, sitting us in the shade, peeling off our helmets, shoes, and socks, and giving us icy cold water and orange Gatorades. Thanks you guys.

One more race behind us. More fitness and more experienced gained. A couple more big races coming up – but maybe a quick rest first…..!



2016 Killington Stage Race Womens PVC p/b CSH


After months of training; which included climbing intervals on fat bikes up to Stratton and Poplar Huts in 7 degree weather and snow storms; to boring 2 hour sweat sessions on the trainer; to gritting through the Men’s Tuesday Night Ride; to Dawn Patrol 5 am departure rides; to driving the Scarborough Crit Series; to doing the SMR with no finishing coffee but adding 3 extra hours of hard riding and climbing training, Kathy Ventura, Teresa Swinbourne, and Kate Lynch of the PVC p/b Chiropractic & Sports Health Ladies Race Team headed out to their first race this past weekend – The Killington Stage Race.

KSR is a 3 day stage race made up of a 37 mile circuit race (with 2000 feet of climbing) Day 1, a 60 mile/5000 foot vertical gain road race Day 2, and an 11 mile slight uphill Time Trial Day 3.  After thorough analysis of Training Peaks data, the plan from their Coach, Troy Barry, was to get Teresa (who had been taking some Scarborough Crit Sprints and has high power output and a big kick) to the line for the sprint Day 1. Day 2 – the plan was to keep Kathy Ventura, (who has shown recent climbing finesse holding onto her coach’s wheel getting paced on Opportunity Hill repeats), to stay with the lead group, attack at mile 38.5 if possible, and let her show her stuff on the last 5 mile 3000 foot climb straight back up a 12% grade to the ski area. Day 3 – Kate Lynch (who has shown strength out alone in the wind – winning the final Scarborough Crit on a 5 lap breakaway) was to go for the TT.

Day 1 was at hot one at 89 degrees – a shock to all Maine riders who had just shed their leg warmers. The ladies prepared by pre-dosing with Hammer products, Endurolytes, Endurance Aminos, and Anti-Fatigue caps to fend off the inevitable electrolyte deficiencies. The field was twitchy and the first quarter of the race, there was more braking than pedaling. In retrospect, Teresa commented, “…Absolutely mind-bending. I was never sure what was going to happen out there. It certainly lacked the familiarity of wheels of folks-  like John Futak – on Dawn Patrol…”The girls stayed patient. It would have been easy to attack and maybe stay away early on, but how would that leave them for the remaining 2 days of hard racing? (….Maybe next year….) Just prior to the first climb, there was an attack. Kate and Teresa were perfectly positioned riding in 4th and 5th position. They stood up and took their heart rates to 180 bpm and reeled it back in within about 4 minutes and pulled the whole field with them. The climb started and had a QOM at the top. The ladies worked to get Kathy to the front with 3 km to go before the QOM. She took the lead climbing and started to pedal away with Kate blocking the field, she got a 20 foot gap before the field realized what was happening and the leaders jumped to catch her. Kathy powered down and took it to the line with 4 super fast climbers. A few feet before the line, the rider in front of Kathy turned her head and her bike and took Kathy to the dirt. She nearly missed a crash and had to fight her way back into the field. Almost. They sat in  – with watchful waiting – knowing the technical downhill sprint finish was coming. With 5 km to go, the ladies after sticking tight together for the day, were a bit spread out in the field. Teresa made her way to the front and, inadvertently, took the lead of the race, which was not going to get her into the final sprint. Kathy and Kate saw what was happening and jumped, working their way quickly to the front of the pack to come to her aid. They took turns pulling on the front on a 40 mph descent with the finish line coming fast. A team of young guns from B2C2 came from the right and took the lead. The PVC ladies train was swallowed up a bit. Kate went to the left, hoping Teresa would follow – but there was no time to talk. Kathy found a hole on the right and blazed to it. Teresa came around her and charged to the line at 40 mph, sprinting in her hardest gear, with just 1 other B2C2 racer – totally hectic, all hell breaking loose. They locked bars. Teresa says all she could envision was her 3 children – in a millisecond, she kept her bike upright, unlocked bars, and took 6th at the line. Kathy was 7th. Kate took 13th. (On Day 1 –  all riders get the same time for the sprint finishing group but still get a GC standing).

Day 2 promised cloud cover and better temperatures. The race started with a 2 mile 5% grade climb – nothing to laugh at. The race then took a right hand turn at the top of the climb and had a 20 mile decent. There was a big crash in the middle of the descent – luckily the local ladies steered clear. There was ripped skin and mashed bikes, however, all involved riders were ok. All of the action occurred at mile 24.5 with a 12% half mile grind up. The group attacked at a blistering pace. Teresa sat at about 10th position and held it strong – never giving up the wheel in front of her – as the race continued uphill for the next 3 miles. Kathy had been in the front few riders and in the first mile of climbing dropped her chain. Kate climbed past her on a high speed chase group led by Green Line Velo. She realized what was happening and called to Kathy, while dangling half way between the chase group and her teammate. Kathy yelled that her chain was on and she was on her bike bridging. Kate bided her time and when she saw Kathy had her wheel, she climbed out of the saddle and bridged to the chase group again. She handed the Green Line Velo wheel to Kathy saying ‘this is the wheel’. Kathy grabbed it and didn’t look back. After 3 miles of uphill chasing, she and Natasja Brooijmans from Green Line Velo reeled in the main group – absolutely amazing. The main group stayed together, chasing down a 6 lady breakaway with Kathy and Teresa driving the chase. They caught 4 of the leaders and charged to the final looming 5 mile climb back to the resort. Kate had lost contact after getting Kathy on and chased in a group of 5 ladies for 30 miles. When all riders got to Bear Mountain Road, it was every woman for herself. The climb was absolutely grueling. The ladies called on all of their training and lots of positive self-talk and made it up. Kathy finished 13th, Teresa 24th, and Kate 32nd.

Day 3 – Almost over!! The Time Trial! It had poured torrential rain the night before and KSR1all riders were nervous about the weather. The rain ceased and it was 70 degrees with low lying fog – perfect conditions for your first Time Trial. Kate was the first team rider to go. She was not able to clip into her pedals in the start house, due to the angle of the bike holder and certainly some nerves….. She left the start house unclipped. She took a few seconds and clipped in and started her race. She reeled in her first 30 second girl, then her second, then her third. None of the PVC ladies have specialized TT equipment and most of the riders did – a distinct disadvantage but never to be spoken as an excuse for the team. Kate focused on keeping her head down, keeping her forearms resting on the bars, and keeping her wattage within her zone. (Troy had told them all their heartrate and power targets for the 11 mile effort.) With 3 km to go – all power and heart rate targets went out the window and she stood for the last two little rises and rode with defiance to the line. The final results had her clustered in a group of riders just 6 seconds out of 7th place – with an 11th place finish. Teresa stuck close to her power target and came through – not remembering much of the ride. She had a smile on her face though – saying ‘I loved that. And Troy is an amazing coach. My numbers were right on. That felt great!’. She finished 22nd. Kathy was the last team rider though the finish – see photo. She also stuck to her target numbers and left everything she had out there for a 21st place finish.

Final GC (46 total riders): Kathy Ventura 14th, Teresa Swinbourne 24, Kate Lynch 31. A huge effort and an amazing race.

“I could not ask for a better team, or a better coach. We are proud to be from Portland, ME, proud to be 40 plus year olds with kids – all just out of retirement, psyched to have had the opportunity to go to KSR, and psyched to come home – safe and sound – to our families”. (Teresa)

Thanks to Hammer Nutrition.
Additionally, Hank Pfeifle (Downeast Racing), Dan KSR2Ventura (Kathy’s husband), and Matt Robinson (Downeast Racing) for giving us a feed on Day 2 during the climb. It was great to see you guys! Thanks to our teammates, Cody Harris and Sarah Margolskee, who continued to check in. Thanks to our great friend Pete. Thanks to all the PVC and Dawn Patrol folks who showed their support. Thanks Jane Moneghan for all of the great texts and for the finishing beer! A special thanks to our coach, Troy Barry, who volunteers countless hours a week to help us out – we have made some amazing gains. We are looking forward to the Nutmeg Crit in 2 weekends – (a crit now seems short!)

Thanks to PVC and all of our sponsors for your support – we appreciate it.

Kate, Kath,. & Teresa


Baystate Cyclocross Race Recap – Nov 24 & 25, 2012

Wow another 2 days on the Verge Series CX race.   Great way to keep going after the holiday.   I drove the long drive in the AM from CT (Family Thanksgiving).  Made ti to Sterling (Chuckset Middle School) in time for the 2 hour prep to race Masters 45+.   Race was large field with 80 or so registered.  Did not get the greatest start on this blustery cold windy day.   But worked my way up the field in the first lap.  Ended up behind Bruce Shwab and near John Grenier (Eric Larson was also in the pack and I think had a good race).   It was fun to be on Bruce’s wheel for a while.   Bruce was doing a good race and we were taking advantage of a small group that formed.   Today was a day to be out of the wind and groups were key.   After a few laps this group really coalesced and stayed together.  There was a hard hill and screamer downhill that ended up in a vault type barrier.   It took a lot of concentration since you were gassed from the uphill.   I kept moving up and made it to the front of our group and was trying to break across to John Mcgrath and Eiric Marrow.   It was next to last lap and I was thinking things were going well and all I needed to do was not make any mistakes and keep up this pace.   Then hitting the pavement I must have had the rear tire rolled a bit and hit a curb hard, well all of a sudden I was flat in the rear tire.   This really was a bummer.   Lost at least 10-15 spots and made it to the pit to get a new bike.   Got on my pit bike and made it back in the race with less than a lap to go.   I worked hard but only made up a few spots.   A good effort but not perfect.  Oh well.

Day 2 I felt better, having rested and woke up later than the 4:30AM start on Sat.  It was a colder day (low 30’s degrees) with high winds once again.   Had a good start and once again saw Bruce Shwab and then John Grenier, who had an excellent start.   I drilled it through this group and got on the wheel of Peter Vollers, and bridged up to the next group.   This was going really well, in top 20 and going forward.  No major mistakes all the way through until 2 to go.  In a really nasty rooty section of the woods I hit a small tree stump that was not marked (they usually spray paint the roots that are wheel breakers).  I thought after hearing the rim noise, (that was bad I hope I do not flat).   Well into the next turn out of the woods and my front wheel was flat.   Barely made not crashing in a short radius turn.   Then eased my way on half the course running a flat to the pits and got the pit bike (again) argh.  Lost a whole mess of spots as riders passed my left and right.  Finished the course with my second bike having a second flat front tire (must have been a slow leak).   Unreal.   So I will be putting the “Stans no Tube liquid sealant” in all my tires for now on.  This is ridiculous.   Though I did not show any good results, I know Sunday would have been one of my better days in cross for the season.   It will have to wait for next weekend in Rhode Island at the Verge finally.

Ps: Nate Smith did awesome races with the cat 4 I think he made the top 5th sport.  Missed Teammate Jeff Fisher who decided to do running races over Thanksgiving and pull a hamstring.   JEFF YOU NEED TO ONLY RACE BIKES.  RUNNING IS WAY TO DANGEROUS!  3 Maine Women made the top 3 spots in the womens 3-4 race! PVC’s Niocle Pisani kicked some arse, making second place!  Jessica and her had an amazing sprint for 2nd and third.  It was right on the line photo finish, spill your beer sight to see.   I think it was all due to both graduating cyclocross camp this fall :^)

PVC/OA/Cyclemania cross team mid season report – November 2012

Submitted by Paul Weiss

Day 19 on the cross circuit.   Almost mid season.   Had a great day down in Northampton at CSI cross (a really big UCI level 2 national race).   Saturday was fun and finished with a lot of the guys I am racing with each week, but Sunday I had a really good start and felt well enough to jump 10 places by the end of the day.   Finally got some coveted start points.    This beets a few weeks ago at Pinelands, when I ended up running half the course with a rolled tire.

I have to congratulate a great bunch of PVC folks that have been racing on the cross circuit this year.   I have seen Jeff Fisher go from middle of the pack, to a really respectable fast racer that is really doing well.   Also kudos to Bruce Shwab for also upping his game.   Both these guys jumped into cross just a few years ago and had fun racing in Louisville last year, that is how crazed they got into it!    It is great to get to race with Teammates and I have had a few fun races with George Bennington, Bruce and Jeff in the same race!

Also out on the race circuit this year has been Karl Geib, Nathaniel Smith,  Chris Darling, Eric  Larsson, Ron Bourgoin, Dan Landry and Andrew Freye,  Stephen Corral.   On the Women’s circuit, we have had some excellent racers in the likes of Cindy Mcnett, Nicole Pisani, Hattie Freye, Carrie Carney.

Did I miss anyone?

Looking forward to Plymouth this weekend then the Dopio Ciclo

NY Capital Region Road Race – Albany, NY – July 28, 2012

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!

Ride Updates

Please know that the Monday night rides from Shaw’s in Falmouth have been canceled for the remainder of the season.

The women’s rides, both Monday and Wednesday nights, will depart from their respective locations at 5:30 after Labor Day. Also note – there will be no regularly scheduled ride on Labor Day.

Anne Wilkinson Wins 2011 Tri For a Cure

PVC Member, Anne Wilkinson, won at the Tri For a Cure Women’s Triathlon for the third straight year!

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Read about the Tri For a Cure HERE.

Many PVC members participated in this great event on Sunday. Some were cancer survivors themselves. Some participated because they love triathlons. For some it was their first ever triathlon. All were grateful to make it in when registration opened and before it filled up 8 minutes later.

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Some even showed up on the course to cheer on their fellow teammates.

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It was a great day for the ladies in blue!

Tour of Hilltowns – Women’s Pro 1,2,3 Race Report

By Cindy McNett

The Tour of the Hilltowns in northwestern Massachusetts lives up to its tough reputation.  The 57 and 97 mile course winds through the Berkshires, goes through 8 towns, and features grueling climbs.  The temperature on race day hovered around 100 degrees.

The women’s pro 1,2,3 division raced 57 miles and included the best of the best.    My expectations were to see how they ride, have fun, and finish the race.  It was a leisurely pace to start with, which picked up steadily.  I focused on staying out of the wind and out of trouble, but neglected to drink enough early on.  This would haunt me later.

After about 35 miles of scenic riding, with a 40 mph descent,  we reached the bottom of the East Hawley Hill Road climb.  As we made a sharp right hand turn, there was a disturbance in the rhythm ahead and someone swerved. The rider to my right tapped her wheel and in an instant was on the ground, catapulted over her own handlebars.  As a commotion ensued behind, two riders peeled off from the left and sprinted uphill.  Ahead loomed the biggest, steepest hill I had ever seen.  It looked like the stairway to Hell, complete with heat waves shimmering off the black, soft tar.  There was not a breath of air, except the labored breathing of the riders.  The field strung out into small groups as this hill went on and on.  I made an effort to catch people, but too quickly found myself in the “red zone” and overheating.  My decision to stick with two others no matter what was pivotal – we finally crested the mountaintop and worked very hard together for many miles to catch the leading group before the feed zone.  A bottle of ice water poured on my back enabled me to cool enough to continue working, as I had begun to see black spots and felt fuzzy.  We continued at a brisk pace into an arid headwind, heading back towards the start.  One or two would sprint ahead, and no one reacted.  We just reeled them in and continued an organized paceline.

About 5 miles from the finish sharp cramps seized up my legs, so I was done.  It was awful to see everyone just go, but there was little to do about it.  My goal changed from doing well in the standings to just making it back to the car and avoiding the emergency room.  Along the way were many remnants of the men’s fields who were barely moving, some even walking up the long final grade.

I wasn’t first, but I wasn’t last, and relearned the lesson again about dehydration and electrolyte depletion.  But it was a good experience, that I hope to repeat again next year with better preparation.  Congrats to all the 500 or so riders who raced this very challenging course on such a hot day.

Yarmouth Clam Festival Race 2011

It’s time for the 31st Annual Yarmouth Clam Festival Bike Race to be held on Sunday, July 17th. Register HERE! (Pre-registrations only – no day of registrations.)

OA/Cyclemania Masters on the line at the start. Photo by Donald McEwan.

Starting in beautiful downtown Yarmouth, the route is a 3.6-mile course with the men taking 10 laps (total of 36-miles) and the women taking 6 (total of 21 miles).

The race begins at 9am on Sunday, July 17th on Main Street, Yarmouth. The 3.6 mile course takes a right on East Elm street, right on Leighton Road, right on North Road, right on East Main Street to the bottom of the hill then a sharp right on Marina Road (a great spot to watch the race), which turns back into Main Street to the start/finish line.

The field coming around the turn from East Main Street. Photo by Don McEwan.

There are between 2 and 3 primes (sprints) per lap of each race, which make this very exciting to watch. This race typically attracts 150 of the finest cyclists in New England with 3000-4000 spectators lined up throughout the course to see one of the best bicycle races in the area.

2010 Men’s podium: 1st place – Jurgen Nebelung, Embrocation Cycling Journal (center); 2nd place – Dylan McNicolas, CCB/Wheelworks (right); 3rd place – Harrison Harb, Sunapee U23 Team. Photo by Don McEwan.

2010 Women’s podium: 1st place – Amy McGuire, Wheelworks Racing (center); 2nd place – Nicole Freedman, Wheelworks Racing (right); 3rd place – Elle Anderson, NEBC/Cycleloft/Devonshire Dent (left). Photo by Don McEwan.

As you can imagine, it also takes many volunteers to make this event happen. If you are able to volunteer, please email David Brink.