Battenkill Boy and the Enchilada
Toc overall GC in Women’s 3/4 field: 1st
Toc 1st stage time trial: 1st
Toc Saturday stage: 2nd (four seconds behind winner Chris Hadgis)
Toc Sunday stage: 2nd (same time as winner Jessica Meany)
Time Trial: It was a sufferfest going up to exploit the climb followed by a sufferfest coming down to keep the watts up.
Stage 2, 48 miles: Our field got combined with Men’s Cat 5 45+. So there’s that. On the start line the announcer rolls through the palmares of the Men’s race leader, which includes third place in Battenkill and a sixth place in Syracuse. People from the sidelines yell at him to upgrade. And there’s that. Instead of calling him a sandbagger I will just refer to him as Battenkill boy. My plan was to do whatever Battenkill boy did. I didn’t contest the QOM or Sprint, though, because I wanted the GC enchilada. At the top of the first KOM/QOM Battenkill boy launches a major attack. He, along with four men, me, and my two main competitors Chris Hadgis from Kruis CX and Jessica Meany from Stan’s No Tubes go off with the attack. We started a pace line led out by Battenkill boy traveling at about 26 mph. I hate Battenkill boy. The chase group caught us about seven miles later. We accepted it and settled in. Second verse same as the first: at the top of the KOM/QOM Battenkill boy and I attack. It’s fewer men this time and it’s only me and Chris from the women’s field. We know we have to go even faster this time to make this stick so our pace line travels over 27 mph thanks to Battenkill boy taking the first pull. All of our pulls have to be smooth so my god I still hate Battenkill boy. I had hoped to work only where necessary in this race but that all blew up and I worked harder than ever. This insanity goes on for the remaining 18 miles. We get to the last 200 meters together. At the finish line Chris edges me out and gets four seconds on me. I remain solidly in the Yellow Jersey and am in great shape for Sunday except that I have to be in a bike race on Sunday and my legs are flipping me the bird. When the results are posted on Saturday night I notice my field finished seven minutes faster than the women’s 1/2/3 field and my legs are dropping the f bomb and flipping the bird.
Stage 3, 77.5 miles: Battenkill boy and I are on the line and I’m hating on him. So are my legs. Today Battenkill boy and I are both content to sit in and let other riders set the pace. When we get to the first KOM/QOM it all explodes with the profile pretty much the same as the day before but with a few men registered just for Sunday’s race. We climb and climb and climb and climb. Horses are in fields galloping and bucking. We want to stop and commune with the horses but instead we descend for about five miles at 48 mph. After that excitement we settle into a strange pace that had the feel I’ll characterize as little baby sloths moving from one end of a tree branch to another. Everyone is anticipating the dreaded Devil’s Kitchen. Like death and taxes Devil’s Kitchen was inevitable and at the time I preferred death. Everyone exploded except Battenkill boy, Jess and me. I stayed about 20-50 meters behind Jessica. We connected at the top and worked together for the last seven miles. Jess got the win but we were given the same time. With the five minutes I had on her this meant I had the GC win for the weekend. Our pace this day puts us 14 minutes slower than the Women’s 1/2/3 field. This was the race I considered to be the most important in my season and I wanted to be in that yellow jersey. I’m still goose-bumpy that it’s mine.