velodrome track race - kissena queens new york

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Battenkill Roubaix

Battenkill, the purported 'enfer du nord'. From the beginning it was a very well organized start, in a small town overtaken by cyclists.

I rode the first 3 miles of the race at a high cadence to warm up. The country roads were hardpack clay with a light coating of mushy stuff on top, like a chocolate bar starting to melt. The middle of the road had lots of potholes at the beginning and it was harrowing to see 150lb guys bouncing high on their stiff aluminum bikes. Nobody went down. This was my first master's race (age 30+, cat1-4) and I noticed that most of the riders had good bike handling skills.

At the first steep climb 25 or so of the riders passed me on the way up, much my surprise and chagrin I dropped back from a comfortable position in the top 1/3 to the bottom 1/2. This little introduction made me realize what was in store for me had nothing to do with the great hill repeats I've done in central park. 'Where did these guys find so much power?' I thought to myself. As I'm usually relatively strong in the hills, I rationalized that the legs needed more warm up time. As it turns out that was just an excuse. The hills were brutal and I was dropped on the second or third steep climb. A guy named Craig and me rode together for a while. I think I was pulling. After a while, the leaders of the Cat3 race caught up to us. We rode with them for many miles - always hanging off the back on paved roads and clay. Then I was dropped again in on a very steep hill. I didn't even bother trying to catch up. This was about 1/2 way through the race (about 30/57 miles) when my front quads were starting to cramp up. At one point I pushed the bike up the remainder of a hill. I'm not sure what happened to Craig... I finished the race mostly on my own, a sort of extended time trial.

It was also my first racing wearing the Kissena club jersey. A few racers seemed happy to see it and shouted out comeon Kissena!

Personal health notes. Drank two full bottles of accelerade, then stopped to fill up a third bottle with water and drank it all. Ate a bag of raisins and a cliff bar when I started to feel weak at around the 40 mile mark. Need one full bottle of fluid every 20 miles to be safe. Leg cramps arrived with plenty of warning.

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