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Killington Stage Race, 40+, (Almost) According to Plan June 1, 2010

Posted by Wayne in Race Reports.

When responding to the story of my bout of food poisoning last Thursday night, Gary emailed me and said “Well, you really care most about the final stage since that’s the one that favors a climber, right?  I figure you’re going to be taking the safe option on tomorrow’s finish, ride a TT that keeps you in the race and have fun on the climb on Monday.  So, you really only need to recover enough to make time cut tomorrow…” Oh Gary…you know me too well. And I would have done that anyway. 🙂

Saturday, Stage 1 Circuit Race, 53 miles
It started spitting light rain when I got off I-91 in Westminster, but never really looked like it would get serious during the rest of the drive to Killington. Even about an hour before the race as I was getting dressed, it still looked like an overcast sky for the day. But then…the rain started to come down.

Turned out to be sort of a mini-repeat of Quabbin. It rained steadily the first lap, we got soaked and it was tough to see at times, but the rain abated and the roads dried up as the race went on and it was dry and sunny for end of the final lap. Things were fast and animated, with Arc-en-Ciel and the CVC boys doing most of the attacking.  I breathed a sigh of relief on the first lap as we hit the steep descent in Plymouth, and Jonny Bold went to the front and motioned for everyone to take it easy. As the race bible said, the race wouldn’t be lost on that little downhill, but it certainly could be lost.

Lap 2, Buckley attacked on Rt. 4, took a couple guys with him, and they were out of sight pretty quickly. In fact, I thought they could possibly be gone for good. Eventually, thanks to a quickening of pace for the KOM and sprint lines, they were reeled in and the rest of the race was uneventful (for me anyway). Nice course, never out of the big ring, stayed near the front and out of trouble. Then with about 5k to go, I slid to the back to make sure I was out of harm’s way for the final/downhill sprint. Steve Rozsko made a nice move close to the finish, taking one other guy with him, and I thought they were going to foil the sprinters. But whoa…that is one fast downhill finish and they were swept up before the line. Finished last in the field, 57th place.

Stage 2, Time Trial, 11 miles
So yeah…time trialing. Doing this race means I’ll do 2 this year. Should I train for these? Yes. Will I start doing so? Hmmm. No.

Luckily, I borrowed Ian’s TT bike, otherwise I probably would have been last. I rode easy for about 45 minutes around 11 AM, to see how my legs and the winds were, and also to gauge whether or not riding down/back to the TT was a good idea. The finish was only a couple miles from home, but I decided the uphill into town would be too much for a “cool down” so I drove to Skyeship and rode the 5 miles to the start (near Long Trail Brewery in Bridgewater) from there. Plus, I got to enjoy the tailwind riding to the start and riding back to the car after the finish.

My legs felt good, I warmed up well and gave it my all but…holy hurricane Batman! There was a cross/head wind all the way down Rt. 4 to the turn, and then a steady 25 mph block head wind on the flats to the turn on River Road. I just got punched and pounded around by the wind like crazy. Buckley was 30 sec. behind me, and passed me in the first 5k, then once I hit the flats, at least 5  other guys passed me. Oh well, I did beat a few guys, 53rd out of 61 starters. 40+ winner Fred Thomas was only beaten on the day  by the top 2 guys in the P-1-2 race, and he was a full 5 1/2 minutes faster than me. He’s one impressive dude.

Stage 3, Road Race, 61 miles
As usual, I felt very good on the third day of racing. I rode down to the start, and my legs came around very quickly. It was about 60 degrees which was nice because I could go sleeveless from the start. An Arc-en-Ciel guy attacked before we even went under the Skyeship bridge (i.e. 50 yards  from the start) and a few guys bridged and boom…they were gone and out of sight before we turned right on Rt. 100. The next 10 miles were downhill, on typically rough VT roads, but I stayed near the front and did a pretty good job of dodging the potholes (or so I thought). OA/Cyclemania started to chase pretty good to keep the gap down for their leader, after we passed through Sherburne. I kept feeling better and better and then…my front tire went flat. I went to the back and rode it flat and hung in there awhile but then I started to become a danger to others with little steering control, and I threw out the anchor. I rode a couple of miles before the tire disintegrated and then stood in the shade waiting for the next field in hopes I could get a wheel. And I waited, and waited. We must’ve been hauling it pretty good because we already had put 5 minutes into the Cat. 4 field. They passed and I literally jumped out into the road in front of the wheel van and…they almost hit me before they looked at me like I was crazy as they passed by. 😦 When the 50+ field approached 10 minutes later, I did the same thing and lucked out because someone had just flatted and they stopped for him. I helped myself to a front wheel (thank you CCB guy with the Bontragers, whoever you are) and continued on.

So what to do now? I rode with the 50+ guy to the base of the KOM climb, hammered up that as hard as I could, and set myself into TT mode the rest of the race. I paid my money; I planned on finishing. Unfortunately, other than a few dropped 50+ riders and an occasional solo dropped Cat.4 rider, I had no companions. I’ll have to say the weather was nice, I felt good, and the scenery was awesome.  And I was very happy to do the dirt road descent in Woodstock solo; it would have been sketchy in a group.

Not much to say about the East Mountain Road climb other than thanks to John Hanson for his words of encouragement just as I hit the climb, and that I saw Elvis standing on the side of the road (I think) I was so far into the red zone. And who’s idea of a cruel joke was that last 1k up to the K1 parking lot? I’m thinking the bottom of that hill would have made a much better finish line 😉

Incredibly, I was only 47 minutes down (remember, I stood still for 25 minutes at one point) and I wasn’t last on GC. Some other poor soul lost almost as much time as I did on the road race, plus 26 minutes at the circuit race. No Lanterne Rouge for me after all.

Thanks to Chris P. for allowing me to stay in his nice ski house right near the main Killington entrance. Nice and quiet, comfy, and a good location for being in the middle of everything. Sunday’s TT didn’t start until 2:45 so I had a nice quiet place to correct student projects and get things ready for the week. And thanks to Beth, my roomie for the weekend, who tolerated me giving her crossword answers way too easily.

Not much going on at Killington in the summer but a few stores/restaurants were open for business. Had dinner at The Garlic (very good) on Saturday and the Grist Mill (so-so Sunday). Gary invited me along on Sunday to eat with him and Silke W., Becky B., Mark G., John G. and Kip S. Good times and interesting post-race conversation. Also got to hear what was going in the FRONT of the race during the hot points on Saturday. 😉



1. Wayne - June 2, 2010

Nice to see Jonny blog about the other end of the race. Now I know what happened…


One other side note I forgot to include…there was a smoky haze in the valley at the start of the race Monday. Turns out the stiff winds on Sunday brought smoke from the forest fires in Quebec all the way to the middle of Vermont. Very odd…

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