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


PVC Annual Meeting on Leap Day 2016

Leap into the 2016 cycling season and attend PVC’s annual meeting and club social on Leap Day, Monday, February 29 from 5:30-7:30 PM at Easy Day in South Portland. Re-connect with friends, talk smack about the coming weekend’s first SMR of the year, and enjoy complimentary food and beverages. Mostly social, the Leap Day event will also include some club business in the form of our annual meeting. We’ll be brief. Oh, and there will be really cool door prizes for attending members.

RSVP to or on Facebook.


PVC Clothing Has Arrived!

That’s right. The newly designed PVC club clothing has arrived, and it looks fabulous. We will be distributing it at the annual meeting, aka, the Leap Day Club Social. So, this is just another reason to attend, reconnect with friends and go home with a fabulous looking new PVC kit.


PVC Membership 2016

Have you renewed or become a new member for 2016? Check out all the great benefits of Portland Velo Club Membership.


PVC Committee Opportunities

Are you interested in increasing your involvement with PVC beyond group rides and club social events? Consider joining one of PVC’s newly forming committees. This year, the PVC board expects to form as many as four different committees, depending upon member interest:

  • Finance
  • Clothing & equipment
  • Marketing & sponsorships
  • Events

If you have expertise or interest in any of these areas, please let us know by emailing

PVC Clothing Order 2016

PVC Clothing Order 2016
Your Portland Velo Club is pleased to unveil a new clothing design for the 2016/2017 seasons! Now, for a limited time (we are not kidding), you may order your member’s onlyPVC Clothing  online at between now and November 14, 2015.
Here’s what you need to know about the PVC Clothing order:
  1. 10% savings for early order. PVC receives a 10% discount from Louis Garneau for an order placed by mid-November. We are passing that savings on to members, but you must place your order by November 14 in order to take advantage of that savings. If we do another clothing order later in the season – a big ‘if’ – prices will be higher by 11.1%.
  2. $20 off for first 100 members. Due to the generosity of one of our sponsors, the first 100 PVC members to place an order for a PVC top AND bottom will receive $20 off your order. Use coupon code 20-OFF to take advantage.
  3. One club, one kit. After careful deliberation, we are going with one design and color for both men and women. We hope you love it!
  4. New! Louis Garneau. After years of working with Giordana, the club has decided to make a switch to Louis Garneau. We will offer both men’s and women’s specific sizing; as well as a high-end race cut similar to last year’s FRC.
  5. ‘Fit kit’ is in the shop. Sizes and fit vary by manufacturer, so you will want tocome by CycleMania now to try on jerseys and shorts and order by November 14.
  6. Members only. You will be able to renew your PVC membership for 2016 when you order. The club is open to all, so please renew or become a member today! And, encourage your friends to join and take advantage of this great clothing offer.
  7. Order by November 14. The order closes on November 14, so order today!
Sponsors Announced for 2016/17
We are pleased to announce the following sponsors for the 2016/17 season:
Please join us in appreciation for their support!
PVC Women’s Race Team – NEW!
PVC is delighted to be working with new sponsor Chiropractic and Sports Health and CycleMania to sponsor a Women’s Race Team for the 2016/17 seasons! Interested members should be on the lookout for communication from team leader, Kate Lynch, in the near future. Or you may email for more information.
Wanted – More Racing Teams!
If you are an aspiring director sportif and have a plan for men’s racing, mountain bike or Cyclocross racing for the 2016/17 seasons, we want to hear from you. Contact David Brink orTed Darling to discuss your ideas. At its core, PVC is a racing oriented club, and we want to support club teams as we are able.

2015 Annual PVC Clothing and Membership

While Saturday’s Doppio Ciclo (SMR double loop) brings to a formal end the Portland Velo Club official riding season, the planning for 2015 has already begun, and we have some exciting news to share!

PVC has opened our annual PVC clothing order on (click here). With the generous gift of one of our sponsors, this year the first 100 members to order a club kit (any combination of jersey and shorts) may use a coupon code to save $20 off your order! (email: ).

PVC clothing features high quality, Giordana Italian cycling gear with the new 2014-2015 design introduced this past year. The PVC Clothing order is offered once each year, and for 2015, the order closes Friday, December 19, 2014!

NEW for 2015 

By popular demand, PVC will be offering the high-end Giordana FR-C Men’s clothing line as well as women’s tri tops and tri bottoms. These items are offered in addition to the middle/club line VERO clothing line offered this past year. Look for items marked New for 2015! towards the bottom of the online order form. The FR-C line is considerably more expensive than the VERO line (which is also available), but many have attested to the better quality when offered in past years.

Fit samples for the women’s clothing (Vero) and men’s (Vero and FR-C) have arrived and will available at Cyclemania until Monday, December 1st. If you’ve never worn the FR-C line, you will definitely want to make the trip to try on a pair of bibs and a jersey before ordering as these are Euro cut vs. club cut for the Vero line.

Ladies should contact Suzanne “Spence” Brink with any questions, and guys may contact Wayne Larochelle, both of whom PVC wishes to thank for their volunteer efforts.

We expect clothing to arrive in early March, and it be disbursed from Cyclemania at that time.

A special thanks to our sponsors – OA Centers for Orthopaedics, CycleMania, Mechanical Services, IDEXX, Coffee by Design, Athlete’s Touch, Portland Sea Dogs and VONT Digital.

Thank you!

Ted Darling, Portland Velo Club

34th Annual Yarmouth Clam Festival Race – July 20, 2014

It’s time for the 34th Annual Yarmouth Clam Festival Bike Race to be held on Sunday, July 20th. Register HERE! (Pre-registrations only for men’s field – no day of registrations. Day of registrations permitted for women’s race.)

2013 Race Photo’s


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 2oth 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.


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.

2013 Men’s Podium

2013 Women’s Podium


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

33rd Annual Yarmouth Clam Festival Race – July 21, 2013

It’s time for the 33nd Annual Yarmouth Clam Festival Bike Race to be held on Sunday, July 21st. Register HERE! (Pre-registrations only for men’s field – no day of registrations. Day of registrations permitted for women’s race.)


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 21st 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.


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.



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

Kennebunks Tour de Cure


The Kennebunks Tour de Cure is a one-day celebration bringing together cyclists of all ages and levels. With five route length options anyone can participate. All routes, except the 5K follow Maine’s scenic coastline, featuring rocky coves, sandy beaches and breath-taking vacation homes, all in the bicycle-friendly community of Southern Maine. The routes range from a family-friendly 5K on low traffic neighborhood roads to a challenging 100- mile Century ride that includes hilly terrain and the rolling farmlands of York County. All routes include rest stops with refreshments, mechanical support, and medical volunteers to fuel and cheer your journey. Following your ride, celebrate at the post ride festival, which includes lunch and live entertainment. For more information and route maps, please visit the website at