Jonathan Doller - Tour of the Battenkill, Cat 4A Race</u></i></b>

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Having raced Battenkill in 2010 and 2011 in the Cat 5s and gotten dropped on the first big climb each time, my goal for this year as a Cat 4 was pretty simple: hang on and hope for the best.  Race day dawned cool and damp, but since that’s pretty much how the entire Spring has been around here, it felt like any other day.  The only question was going to be what the conditions of the dirt sections were going to be with a dusting of snow hitting the area </span>on Friday</span>.  They can be tough on a good day, but throw in some mud and puddles and anything can happen.

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As we queued up for the 10:20 start, it was a bit foreboding as a pair of ambulances sped past and up the road.  One of the marshals looks over to our group and says, “Welcome to Battenkill.”  Thanks, buddy..!

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The first 7 miles went as expected—riders jockeying for position along the stretch down Rt. 313 to try and be in good position for the acceleration through the covered bridge.  I was in good shape at about 15th</sup> </span>wheel and made it through without incident.  Soon after, the first climbs started with a steep paved ramp up Perry Hill Rd followed almost immediately by the ridiculously steep dirt ascent up Juniper Swamp Hill.  I was able to get up these climbs with the lead pack thus accomplishing my goal for the day!  Anything else was going to be icing on the cake.

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The good feelings were short-lived, however, as all hell broke loose on the screaming descent down Rt. 64 into Salem.  Hitting the tough S-turn at the bottom, I saw trouble ahead as a rider at about 5th</sup> </span>wheel overcooked the turn, locked up his rear wheel and laid it down going about 40mph.  Chaos ensued as at least 10 riders plowed into the wreck.  At one point I saw someone’s Cervelo launched end-over-end about 15 feet in the air.  I had to steer into the dirt section on the left and put a foot down, but managed to squeeze through unscathed.  (Side note, there was an eerie silence in the peloton when, about 10 minutes later, another pair of ambulances—lights/sirens going—passed us from behind.  I hope those guys are OK.)

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The group of 83 starters was whittled down to a pretty large lead group of about 30 or so riders over the climbs, descents, and sticky dirt sections of the next 40 miles.  I was still feeling strong both on the climbs and on the flats and started to have thoughts of a high finish for the first time.

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We hit the final climb of Stage Rd and the lead group shattered.   1.4-miles long at about 5.5% and topping out only 5 miles from the finish, it’s where the race was going to be decided.  The lead group got pretty strung out on this climb, but reformed into two groups over the top.  I made the second group and saw the first group only about 500 meters up the road.  The chase was on!  My group started out working pretty well together and we started to claw back the leaders as the final kilometers ticked by.  But, with a combination of guys’ legs hurting and some riders with teammates up the road, we never made the final catch.  We made the final turn onto the finishing straight as a group of 10 riders as the second group on the road.  I did manage to take the sprint from the second group for a 12th</sup> </span>place overall finish at 36 seconds behind the winner.  Needless to say, I’m pretty happy!

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Ted Myles - Cat 5H - </span>Saturday, 12:50 pm</span></span></u></i></b>

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My first Battenkill, and aside from a couple of laps at Wompi, my first race!  Yikes, what a way to start!  I went into this thing not knowing what to expect. Was I going to win, or get dropped 300 meters into the race?  Anyone care to hazard a guess?  It wasn't quite 300 meters, I did hang with the group for about an hour.  I hammered up those insane climbs and felt strong enough to hang with the bulk of the peloton.  Ultimately however, it was lack of testicular fortitude, not lack of VOMax that did me in, although the latter probably would have caught up with me eventually!   I was absolutely amazed at how fast those guys took the descents!!!  I crested the first couple of hills with the lead group and then got blown away as they flew down dirt/mud/bumpy trails without a care in the world.  Eventually being a giant wuss and actually using my brakes on the descents and trying to catch up on the flats and the next hill sort of blew me up.  Once the bulk of the peloton disappeared I was oddly relieved to just enjoy hammering as much as I could, and to survive along the way!  With about 5k to go, got passed by someone from a group that started 10 minutes after me.  This pissed me off and I made it my mission to reel him in.  The last 500 meters I hammered away and beat him in a sprint finish by half a wheel.  It felt pretty awesome and gave me enough of a taste for racing to be pumped for Quabbin.  After crossing the line I congratulated the guy that passed me for beating me by 10 minutes, less half a wheel.  He laughed and we wished each other a great rest of the season.  Then I got some of that awesome Battenkill chocolate milk and watched some of the other finishes.  

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Overall, it was an incredible day and I am really glad I did it.  I am looking forward to the fully paved roads of Quabbin and more racing and riding with BHCC!

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Bart Lipinski – Tour of the Battenkill,  </span>Masters 40+</u></i></b>

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The weather was a little bit different on Sunday than Saturday. Unexpected rain Saturday night and a constant 15 mph wind from the west made for a pretty chilly start.

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The race stayed as a group up until about mile 17. 3 guys got off the front and since it was early and a long way to go, no one seemed concerned. The lead group stayed together right up to the final sprint (down to 29 guys at that point). I screwed up my positioning with about 1K to go. I wanted to stay on the outside to carry as much speed as possible through the last turn for the sprint, but was sucked up and stuck in the middle with little room to move forward until enough room opened up. I did make up about 5 or 6 spots in the last 200m, but not enough track left to get the other 11 guys. Missed 5th</sup> place by less than 1 second, ended up 15th</sup> overall.

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My strategy did not work at all throughout the race. I am somewhat convinced that I am now a marked man. No one in the group wanted to work. More than a few times one or two guys would get out to a 20 or 30 second lead over the group, but no one did anything. Only when I went to cross over, did the group follow. So, I ended up doing way too much work throughout the day. Probably bridged the gap about 5 to 6 times only to turn around and see the whole group right there with me.

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As for the rest, I felt great, especially climbing (I did fall back about 50 yards from the group on the last climb, but knew if I didn't get back on for the last decent, that I would be on my own for the ride into town. So I caught them). I didn't crash and nothing was broken. Off to the next one in the prep for Killington.</span></span>

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Doug Shepard - Battenkill 50+</u></i></b>

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Stayed with the main group until about 38 minutes into the race, then slipped off the back, worked hard to get back on and rejoined right before one of the significant climbs. Turned out to be unfortunate timing, had burnt a match, then had to burn more.  Stayed with the pack over the top then was dropped for good.  The familiar getting dropped confusion, they were here a minute ago, where did they all go?  Kept a steady pace hoping to join some other stragglers, then the wheel truck passed, I hate it when that happens! Oh, well, I thought lets see what I can salvage.  Caught some stragglers, but they were cooked, they couldn't stay on my wheel, that was good moral boost but bad as I would not have any help.  Saw 2 riders several minutes ahead and worked for what seemed like 20 minutes to reel them in. One of them turned out to be my brother, I was really glad to catch up with him!, we traded pulls for the rest of the race, caught more stragglers and dropped them, got passed by the juniors who started 10 minutes behind us with about 25k to go, not bad holding the kids off for that long.  No one else from the 50+ group passed us.  Ended up in 50th</sup> place, out of 78 starters.

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Steven Fish – Battenkill Cat 5D

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I'll own up to having raced Battenkill last week as well.  Raced is a bit of misnomer, since I haven't raced in over 25 years, and this was a helluva way to relive my former "glory."  I rode it, cat 5D, and finished.  Not really much more to say about it other than the countryside was beautiful, my legs were heavy and dead from the get-go, and I spent a lot of time alone...just me, my bike, and my thoughts.  Maybe not the best choice to re-launch my racing career, but it gave me something to train for...and I beat a few guys 20 years my junior, for what that's worth.  Maybe next time I'll sign up more age appropriately (rode with friends in the 35+ category, big mistake).  Kudos to you, Myles, and Dorr for making a real race of it!

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Ari Shocket – Myles Standish Road Race, Masters 35+</u></i></b>

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While the true strongmen of BHCC were off competing in Battenkill last weekend, a number of us lesser humans were racing locally at the Myles Standish Road Race, sponsored by International Cycling.  Myles Standish is a neat little course that twists and turns through the Myles Standish State Park in Plymouth. I was racing in the masters 35+ field, which was stocked with many of the usual ex pros of the area.  Sam Morse from Corner Cycle got things started with an attack directly out of the parking lot and that set the tone for the next 2 or 3 laps.  Eventually, Mark McCormack got free with Bill Shattuck and Bill Yabroudy and a few others.  These breakaway specialists were never to be seen again and left the rest of us on a Sunday spin for 7th place at best.  I managed to get a small gap with 4 others on the final lap and rolled in at 10th.  Not bad for my first race of the season... Plus, it's always a success to finish that race without taking a swim in a pond!

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I believe there were also some good results from Michael Roman, Jeff Lydon and Andrew Rothstein.  

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Andy Rothstein – Myles Standish Road Race, Cat. 4</u></i></b>

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I successfully navigated through the parts of the course with rough road and paid attention to positioning. At one time a rider got a 10 or 15 second lead on the group and since I had been sitting in I decided to catch up to him and see if we could get away. I made it up to him and we were alone, but the group did not like that so we were soon caught. At that time a counter attack happened and 2 or 3 others got off the front. I did not see that happen until it was too late and I did not try to catch them on my own thinking that the group would catch them.  That did not happen.  So I then focused on positioning myself for the finish. A big guy attacked and I went with him. He faded as a group caught us.  I stayed with them until the finish and ended up taking 8th place.  There is obviously a delicate balance of when to attack (or go with an attack) versus when to wait for an opportunity to counter attack (or go with a counter attack). </span></div>

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Thomas Curtin - Myles Standish Road Race,  Cat 5 35+</u></i></b>

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The first lap was pretty tame and I just sat in the back.  About two miles into the course was a rough section that I will refer to as the pave' (lots of potholes and bumps in the road).   The second lap saw an attempt at a break over the pave'.  They were reeled in pretty quickly,  Everyone took the third lap at a pretty leisurely pace in anticipation of the final lap.  I got to the front for the final lap prior to the pave'.  A group got away and I managed to jump on.  I got dropped over the next section, but managed to catch back on.  The lead group was about 12 - 15 strong.  I was on the rivet at this point.  There was another surge prior to the downhill left turn leading to the sprint finish.  I lost contact at this point and finished solo about 5-10 seconds down but was well ahead of the peloton.  Overall, I was pretty happy with how things went.  This was the first time racing this year- haven't been able to get any training races in.  A little more training/racing fitness would have put me in position for the sprint finish.

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