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Quabbin Reservoir Classic April 26, 2010

Posted by SL in Race Reports.
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Yesterday, we had a good team showing at the Quabbin Reservoir Classic. Gary Aspnes, Wayne Prescott, and A. Zane Wenzel competed in the one lap 35+ race. Matt Domnarski and Scott Livingston did the two lap Pro/1/2/3 race. They were out there for the miles, and they got them. Livingston’s full race report can be viewed here.

2010 Tour of the Battenkill April 11, 2010

Posted by SL in Race Reports.
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I’m bringing this blog alive, but cheating on the race report.

For a full account of our trip to the Tour of the Battenkill, click here.

A. Zane Wenzel, Spike McLaughlin, and I had a great time at yesterday’s classic in Cambridge, New York. This race deserves respect and less criticism. It is a simple event that is a lot of fun to ride.

upcoming women’s rides November 4, 2009

Posted by trackie in Chatter.
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girls_ride

Mansfield Hollow October 19, 2009

Posted by Wade in Race Reports.
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118462515 Qi2CXRlL IMG_1190Went over to Mansfield Hollow with the family and had a good day of racing. The clouds parted and the sun was shinning brightly, although a cold wind chilled things off just a bit. Perfect for racing. Course was largely the same as last year – 2 sand runs, 2 sets of barriers, a run-up, long off-camber on the dike, and lots of up and down. Scott and Craig were there. Both missed the start I guess. I’ll let them fill in the rest from their end.

Got a front row start position and put myself in 6th position or so has we settled in for the first obstacle, a single barrier just after a slight up hill. Glad I hung back a bit because the 1st or 2nd guy plowed right into it, delaying others, while I had time to react and make it through, now in 3rd place. Half way through the first lap our group of 5 formed. John Moser was the strongest guy in the race and after chasing our group down he rode right through us, taking Doug Aspinwall with him. I hesitated, which I shouldn’t have done. By lap 2, our group was down to 3, Brian Atwood, another guy and myself. By this point, John had dragged Doug to 20 seconds in front of us and then dropped him. We chased Doug the rest of the race. I had a couple of bobbles in the race, once on the 1st sand run, I kinda just fell over. The next was more spectacular. I went wide on a turn, going into some leaves, and some still unknown object, stopped my forward progress cold! I went as* over tea kettle, taking down Brian and causing the other guy to stopped too. We picked ourselves up with no harm to man or machine and we off again. With 3 to go Brian and I dropped the other rider. Brian and I exchanged attacks for the next 2 laps. With 2 to go I gapped him and he chased me down and then with 1 to go he gapped me and I was on the defensive. I caught him just before the last set of barriers, which lead into the wide open field part of the course. He pulled for just a little and then sat up, waiting for me to come by. I rolled through and as I rounded the corner into the uphill I attacked, flew over the barrier and kept the pressure on to grab 3rd place.

Gone to the Dogs September 21, 2009

Posted by Wade in Chatter, Race Reports.
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Crossin’ 4 Canines Cyclocross Race – Rocky Hill, CT 

After fifteen years of racing Cyclocross, I finally won a race. In contrast, my first win on the road came just a couple of years after I started racing in 1992.

 The new race in Rocky Hill sorta fit the name of the town. Rocky. The start finish was on a pavement road that quickly changed into dirt  that in some sections was,  well, rocky. Nothing big, but they were those 2 inch trap stones that can be sharp. I cut a tubular on rocks like this last season. The rocks played a roll in my victory, with the two leaders, Sean Groom and Keith Gauvin both falling victim to the sharp stones.  The course was undulating and fairly demanding fitness wise with the balance of the course being grass fields and some sections of wood chips.  The course was dry.

I had a good start and was sitting 5th or 6th wheel. As we came to the first tricky part, a short sharp up-hill that was loose dirt. (It was ride-able but it only had one good line)  Groom got off the line and tipped over just in front of me. Luckily he fell to the left and not to the right, which was my line.

Keith got a gap at this point and I set off to get him. Sean came back to me and passed me before I could make contact with Keith. Darn! He is strong. He and Keith worked well together as I chased with Jeff Gelt .  At the beginning of lap two, just after the uphill portion of the dirt/rock road, I saw Sean running.  There was only one pit and it was right after the finish line, so Sean would be running an entire lap.  Jeff and I chased Keith for the rest of the race. Jeff seemed better than me in many of the corners but it was apparent I was better over the barriers and on the hills.  With 2 laps to go, I was checking on the gap to Keith when I heard something and saw him looking down at his wheel. Could he have flatted? It didn’t seem that we were closing much but he did appear to be going slower. Going into the bell, someone yelled “the leader is right there!!” Keith was coming out of the pit. Both Jeff and I punched it and we caught Keith as the road transitioned to the grass section. I knew my first attacked would come at the barriers and the hill that followed them. I nailed it and got a small gap but they both came back to me. The next section I was good on was a horseshoe downhill turn that transitioned to an uphill as you came out of it. I punched it and gapped them again. They closed it down.  Another sweeping turn into an uphill was my next shot. After the uphill on the road, this section was the longest sustained climb on the course. I had been good in the turn all race. I shot through the turn and punched it. Gauvin crashed in the corner. I kept the pressure on through the next 5 or 6 turns and one more uphill and held it to the finish with time to throw the arms up for a victory salute.  

Bad luck and flats are part of cross racing. I had good luck Sunday. After the race, I noticed a cut on the sidewall of my front tire, a Tufo Flexus 32. (great tire by the way). I was fractions of a millimeter from flatting myself. Two knobs we almost completely ripped off and the cut continued down to the sidewall, where the tube layer of the tire was exposed and bulging.

Nathaniel and Kieran are becoming quite the cheering section.  Nathaniel’s “Go Daddy!” can go right through your head like only the screech of a three year old can.  And Kieran smiles, points and says  ” EhhheehDadahaaa..” A photographer from the local paper was there and got shots and Nathaniel! and me. He left after our race so there is a good chance we’ll make the paper. We’ll keep an eye out.

The Josh September 13, 2009

Posted by SL in Race Reports.
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While a few of our teammates were in Eastern Massachusetts for an epic MTB race today, AZW and I were in Western Massachusetts at The Great Josh Billings RunAground Triathlon.

It was an excellent event, again. The road bike leg was as intense as usual with the nutty start on Main Street in Great Barrington. Arlen and I made the third group. He can probably break down the bike leg better than I can. I was in the Ironman Kayak solo division and he was on the Pfizer Corporate Team. My full race report has some cool photos. Unfortunately, none with cheerleaders (check with Matty if you need the details).

Shenandoah 100 Mountain Bike Race Sept 06, 2009 September 8, 2009

Posted by wenzel in Chatter, Race Reports.
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It has been a while since posting, having missed posting the Litchfield Hills 100 ‘Win’, I will not be remiss in not posting the Shenandoah 100.

 

Spike and I raced this epic Mountain race this year, and by all expectations, we will be back for another round.

 

Spike had business in VA this past week, so on Monday he picked up all my gear and headed south. I on the other hand waited till Friday and headed south via Amtrak. I meet up with Spike at the Hilton Hotel in Old Town, VA. We then headed out for an awesome ride along the Patomic River in both VA and DC. Spike and Rhonda had spent some time here post-graduation, so Spike knew of all the great places to ride and drink. After finishing our ride and bike repair, we headed out for dinner in Old Town.

 

We settled into our chairs around 7pm in a place known as Murphy’s. Well needless to say, after many pints and a lot of Irish drinking songs we headed home around midnight. (Pictures to be posted later). Well, if you know anything about me, you know that I am not known as a drinker. So, after the bed spins stopped and the Advil kicked in, I had a restless sleep interrupted by Spikes alarm on Saturday morning. We headed out for a ride around VA, prior to breakfast. Well, as you might expect, it was not a very productive ride. However, I was able to burn some of the EtOH out of the system.

 

We arrive back in Old Town, shower and check out. Now onto Stokesville, VA…..well you know that you are in rural VA when the Garmin GPS can not find Stokesville. Needless to say, we finally arrived at the campground, established camp and waited for registration to open up. Registration opened at 4pm and we were two of the first people. We got our laminated, color, personalized number plates, along with Hammer gel flasks and a t-shirt. Nice! The best registration I have ever seen in 20+ years. We head back to the site, take the doors off the Jeep and head out for a ride and then onto the local market. If you never have had the pleasure of shopping in a local market in NW VA., please try it…..

 

After finishing our second dinner of burritos, we headed to bed, awaiting our 5am wake-up call. The campground starts to come alive around 5am as the riders start to awake to the knowledge that they will spend ALL DAY on their bikes. Around 5:30 am, a volunteer ran around the campground, banging on a Ziljain symbol. What a wake-up call. As 06:30 approaches we start to line up, the start is to be neutral, as the exit road is dusty and soft. Spike and I bump fists and the motorbike pacers set off. We feel good about our position, in this mass start race, until we get out on course only to notice that we are almost in last place. Spike and I spend our time during this first salve, driving ourselves into the upper third of the 550 rider field. We’re flying and the climbing starts. As someone told us on Saturday, the SH100 is a race of 5-climbs. For every foot in elevation you gain, you get it back in an equal descent….nice….unless you can not descend.

 

Spike and I stayed together for the first 15-20 miles until Spike threw in the white flag. This course is my kind of course with loooonnnnngggg dirt road climbs. I was able to put time into others riders at the expense of Spike. After waiting for the third or forth time, Spike finally released me from our pact. I climbed off, never to see him again.

 

I was flying. Everything was clicking, and the newly purchased 29er HT was the perfect bike for this course. During the road sections we were pace lining and then the climbing was just awesome in its vistas and duration. The longest climb of the day was a sustained 18-mile ascent of a local mountain (~90 minutes of sustained climbing): pavement, dirt road, jeep road and single track. This is where I know that things were going my way, for every rider I saw on this climb I caught and passed: 15 or so in all.  Sadly, I could not keep all of these riders at bay on the protracted descents, mostly on hard-pack single track. (I have never descended for such long stretches). Making the descent even more fun was the large black snake, looking like he was very mad……..

 

I hit the last feed station, #6 at the 88 mile mark feeling okay. The body was sore and my arse was killing me. Earlier in the race, while waiting for Spike, I had taken air from my tires and from the front shock….big mistake, as I did not realize how quickly the pressure would drop. So, I essentially raced without a front shock, so the body did the work the shock did not….

 

I pulled into the last station to top off the bottles, get the shock pumped up and the chain lubed….yes they would lube your chain…and off I go. 12-miles to go. I hit the bottom of the climb with my new found friend, DOC, who races from Team Saddleblock. I drop Doc and head on out. Near the top, I am burning the legs badly, the back is locking up and DOC is catching me. We crest the climb and now there are several miles of descending to go. I crawl through the last few miles, always looking back over my right-shoulder for Spike. Thankfully I did not see him.

 

I enter the finishing shoot and head for the line. Not sure of my placing or my time, I gave it my all and crossed the line. Doc was there waiting for me and we celebrated our ‘victory’! I paused for a minute and then hooped on the bike to ride to our tent. I have never been so spent in my life. I washed up while talking to the Doc, waiting for Spike to finish. A few minutes later he arrives, looking refreshed and happy…What a day!

 

To finish the story we headed to bed around 21:30 while riders are still finishing, some 15+ hours after starting the day….ouch!

 

We both awoke at 02:30, unable to sleep due to injuries and restless legs. We decided that sleep was out of the question, so we hit the road at ~03:00 and headed home.

 

We both completed our goals: Sub 10-hours and top 100 finishers:

 

Me 9:24:00 (66th Men’s Open)

Spike: 9:37:00 (79th Men’s Open)

 

http://www.cyclingnews.com/races/11th-national-ultra-endurance-nue-series-7-shenandoah-mountain-100-cn/results

12 Hours of Stony Creak August 12, 2009

Posted by mgmavant in Chatter, Race Reports.
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Race #4 of the Michigan Endurance Cup Series

As luck would have it, I ended up in Michigan to visit my wife’s family from 27JUL to 09AUG this year. This is a trip we do every year, where we spend the first week in Sterling Heights (not too far outside of Detroit) and then the second week up north in Rapid City (just outside of Traverse City). It’s a time where we can kick back and relax a bit, catch up on family and enjoy the pleasures of summer. Since we drive out each year, I’ve been able to bring my bike to do some recovery rides to get ready for the impending mountain bike races stacked up in AUG and SEP.

This year would be a little different. Breaking the tradition of relaxed recovery rides, I opted to compete in a 12-hour mountain bike race. I found out about the race, oddly enough, from my Mother-in-law. She sent me an e-mail indicating that there was going to be a race not too far from their house in Sterling Heights.

Always up for a challenge, I decided that this year I was going to bring my road bike for some good recovery rides while we were up north, but I was also going to bring my mountain bike to race in Detroit (Ok, technically it wasn’t in Detroit, about 15 miles away, just kind of funny to say mountain biking in Detroit).

Because packing to go on a 2 week vacation can be a challenge all in itself, (a task my wife takes on about 99.8 % of the work) I decided that I wasn’t going to put too much energy in getting the bikes ready. In fact, I didn’t even touch the bikes prior to leaving, just put them on the rack on then we headed out.

I did think for a few moments that I should probably change my tires on the mountain bike, they were my big mud tires after all, but I decided to just keep them on to keep the miles off my racing tires. The reasoning was that this race was just going to be a training race only, and that I didn’t want to go too deep so close to the Hampshire 100k and the Shenandoah 100. It takes quite a bit of time for my body to recover from a really long ride, and this was going to be the longest I’ve ever been in the saddle.

So my intention for the race was to simply prepare myself for the Shenandoah 100 by experimenting with fueling and stopping at rest stations, and simply getting a lot of miles on the mountain bike. Hydration for me is always an issue, and I need to be very careful in what I do because if I don’t do it right, the consequences are mostly often in the form of hitting that huge wall of pain. This happened to me a couple years ago at the Bradbury Mountain Enduro Race – the last couple of miles were the worst I ever felt on a bike, and it took close to 2 weeks to recover from that. So for this race, it was going to be how best to stay hydrated and then work in some other foods to see how I would do. The race itself was just an opportunity to commit to such a long ride, something I would find impossible to do, especially in Michigan away from home, if it was just up to me to go out alone and ride. My goal was to finish the race and try to get in 120 miles on the bike.

Ok, now to the actual race report. Check-in starts at 0700, race meeting at 0730 and start time was at 0800. I get to the race right around 0700, maybe a tad bit later. I grab my stuff and set it up near the start/finish line. There were a bunch of teams there that had set up tents and had chairs and coolers, and I was kicking myself for not bringing at least a chair. But as luck would have it, soon after I put my stuff down Team Sandbag Bicycle Racing showed up looking to set up their tent. They offered a spot under their tent if I would agree to share my stake of land. So up went the tent and I was instantly set up with a nice spot in the shade. They seemed like a real nice group going out there and racing their bikes, playing a bit on words with their team name (http://www.teamsandbag.com). I was thankful they offered up a spot and it proved to be very useful throughout the race, providing a great spot to keep my stuff safe and out of the sun.

The teams categories were the first to go off, followed by the Solo riders. There was an option for a 6-hour race, a temptation that I had to fight to resist, and they went off at the same time as the 12-hour race. The laps were reported to be right around 10 miles, with a combination of double track and single track.

The course turned out to be real fast and not particularly technically challenging – something I was kind of expecting. There were a couple short hills, but most of the riding was quick up and down, almost groomed trails. There was hardly a root to be found, and there was only one artificial rock garden that did little to slow you down. There was never a place that required a lot of concentration nor did you ever have to unclip for any reason other then to stop at the pit.

That being said, the singletrack flowed very well, with lots of twist and turns that felt more like a BMX course then it did a traditional east coast mountain bike course (the only kind of mountain bike racing I’ve done). When you hit the double track (more like a jeep trail) it was mostly flat with a bit of a breeze to contend to. It was the driest race I have ever done, and was cursing at the mud tires stuck to my rims. As dry as the course was, I still managed to get just as dirty from the dust and sweat as any of the worst races around here.

The first lap was very fast for me – less then 45 minutes to complete lap one. There was no way I was going to be able to maintain that kind of pace, but visions of 140 miles started to dance in my head. You had to start your last lap prior to the 12 hour mark, so your last lap could start as last as 11:59 into the race. So after the first lap, I slowed it down a bit, pulling a 48 minute lap. My goal at this time was to keep my lap riding time below 1 hour, knowing that there were going to be a few laps over an hour because of stopped time, but I didn’t want my ride time to be less then an hour.

At lap three, I picked up my CamelBak that was filled up and loaded with everything I would need to a 100 mile race. My intention was to wear this for at least 4 hours, and then drop it off and go to just using bottles. This was my first stop, and it only took about a minute to pick up and get going again. I was feeling pretty good, and my head was clear. I still had visions of 140 miles, but I was focused on completing 120 miles as my main objective.

I settle into about a 52 minute ride-time lap routine, trying to minimize the amount of time stopped in the pit. At lap four, I decided that I shouldn’t fight to get 140 miles in, and that 120 miles would be just about perfect for a training day race.

Going into lap five, I start slipping a bit mentally. The course wasn’t very technically challenging, but staying focused for the full 12 hours was going to be much harder then I originally anticipated. I started to think about that 6-hour race, and that maybe that’s all I really should be doing. After all, I am on vacation, and I do have a couple really big races coming up. Not only that, but I started to think about all the time I was missing with my family, and all of a sudden my urge to race for 12 hours was weakening.

So lap six comes up, and about half way through, I run into another 12-hour racer. He was off his bike and walking. I stopped to see if he needed any help, and he indicated that he had a flat with no tube or way to inflate it. I offered my saddle bag in support, with everything he would need to change out his tire. He thanked my and I was off again. Not long after that, I realized that now I was going to have to wear the CamelBak for the remainder of the race – something I wasn’t very excited about doing. As I finished the sixth lap and going into the seventh, I really started considering asking if I could just do the 6-hour race. I just couldn’t imagine doing this same course for another six hours.

So my chance to finish at six hours came and went, and I went on – very reluctantly. I finish my seventh lap and started going into the eighth lap when I saw my wife! Wow, that was a surprise. Then I saw the kids cheering! That certainly boosted my moral a ton. I stopped and chatted with the family for a few minutes, they gave me some words of encouragement, and then I was back on the bike. From that point, things turned around for me. I remembered why I was there in the first place – to train for the other races. So I started experimenting with food and fluids. Came back after that lap and the family was still there – sweet! Chatted for a few more minutes (this was a training race, after all) and then was back riding again. The laps seemed to come easier now, not necessarily faster, just easier. My body was still feeling pretty good and now I was back on track for finishing this thing. My mind was back into the goal of 120 miles, and the end was in sight.

With 11 laps under my belt, I stopped for my last big pit stop. Time for one last fueling, filled up the bottles and did a quick stretch. My plan was to go ultra easy on lap 12 and then hit it as hard as I could for lap 13. Based on my time, I should have plenty of time to get to lap 13, so I really took my time at this rest stop. The last thing I wanted to do is crap up with just two laps to go.

So off I go again, nice and easy. I maintained that pace for the entire lap. I come up to the start/finish and they waved me down. Race over. What? It’s only 11:20 into the race; I still have time to do one more lap! They said that they were stopping an hour early because of potential weather that may be coming. At first I was a bit disappointed, but that quickly faded and I was a bit relieved that I didn’t have to do another lap. As it turned out, it was probably really good that they called it early because it forced a nice cool-down lap for me while I was fully loaded, something I would not have done given the option to after the race was over.

So 120 miles later (11 hours and 17 minutes) I was done. Perhaps the hardest race mentally I have ever done, but the body responded surprisingly well. I ended up taking 3rd place in my category, so I was pretty excited about that. More importantly, I have a lot of confidence going into the Hampshire 100k and Shenandoah 100.

Spike

Ironman Lake Placid July 29, 2009

Posted by SL in Race Reports.
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I felt that it was important to post (for the team’s benefit), that I have been training hard for cyclocross season by doing triathlons. Yep, I’m a tri-geek this year. After all in cross, you have to bike and run, and often in the mud (though hopefully no swimming required). Most recently, I finished Ironman Lake Placid (how about that Wayne?) which was an awesome event. I encourage all of you roadies to check out a triathlon in the future. You might like it. Full race report.

Union Vale, 35+ July 13, 2009

Posted by Wayne in Race Reports.
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Hello? Is anyone out there? Are we posting reports any more? 🙂

Just Paul and I at the race, along with 35 other hardy souls. Everyone must be on vacation, or everyone else was in New Britain?

I had a little bone to pick with this race…well, not the race specifically, but with me at the race. Long story short..great day, great race, can’t wait for next year…

The race can be summed up by Westwood vs. Targetraining (and Westwood won). Both had 5 riders in the field. After a couple go-nowhere attacks, David Freifelder (Westwood Velo) TT’ed to a 2+ minute lead staying away until the middle hill on the last lap, 2.5 laps solo. Nice riding! Eddy A., Badger, Max L. all did a lot of chasing to keep the gap down, then we scooped him up on the last lap.  Paul popped on the hills in the second lap, but got back on by the big descent, then popped for good in the feed zone on the last lap. I felt great, and had no problems save a little struggle on the middle hill the second lap when the “field” (25 riders) split a little. I even put in a little dig after the catch on the last lap but didn’t get far. There were about 20 riders left at the base of the finish climb and I just rode my own tempo and picked off a few by the top for 15th. Should have stuck with it mentally and tried to hang with the pack a bit longer but…I had won my personal battle for the day and pretty much rode it in at survival pace.

So…what happened at New Britain???