Saturday, April 10, 2010

2010 Battenkill Race Report

After a relatively peaceful night at the "Duck Hotel" in Albany, we were up at 6:30, which frankly came as a relief, as I had been lying in bed, drifting in and out of sleep since 3 am. I was a bit startled when we got out to the car and it was 35 degrees and windy as shit--great day for a bike ride.

We made it over to the race venue by 8:15, which for once left me enough time to warm up and attend to all of my pre-race rituals. I was feeling pretty good after a meager 20 minute warm-up--I was sweating and the now 41 degrees and even windier than shit was starting to feel somewhat manageable. As the forecast was for sunny, warmer weather by early afternoon, I wasn't entirely sure of what to wear. I went with the knickers, fleece jersey and a vest, which worked out perfectly, as the wind really never let it warm up.

My start time was at 9:55am--our group of fifty was off and we spent the first ten miles or so at a pretty chill pace.

I had the race profile taped to the handlebars--I was told that our race would be decided early, on Juniper Swamp Road, which is the second tan little blip on the chart. The climb on Juniper Swamp Road is relatively short, but steep. Someone with 20 years of racing experience told me that this is the only place they've ever seen pros get off and walk. Not sure if that's true or not, but nonetheless, you get the point. I knew that when we got to the hill, I had to be out front, which I was, and I managed to get over the top in third or fourth place.

My crew froze their asses off waiting on top of Juniper Swamp.

At least she froze in style. . .

Working hard over the top as the field started to fall apart behind me. I managed to get into a five-man breakaway--working together, we quickly put a nice gap on the field.

The five of us rode together until about the 52-mile mark, when we lost one off the back and the eventual winner managed to get out about 30 seconds in front of us.

Taking my turn up front--I tried to pull at about 330 watts, which seemed to work well, but it was awfully tough in the strong headwind, which were gusting at about 25 mph.

Heading up the last climb, we were still 30 seconds behind the leader. We seemed to slow down quite a bit on the climb. I felt like I had 2 choices--to attack and try to close the gap by myself or to stay together and take my chances in a sprint.

I'm not sure what the right decision was--I'm still kind of kicking myself for not attacking. I guess I felt I had a better chance in the sprint and was worried about overcooking it on the climb, getting dropped and placing fourth. So the three of us rode the last five miles together, taking very short pulls. We were all racing for second now--we made the last right-hand turn with 300 meters to go. I started the turn on second wheel, went really wide to the left and couldn't see the finish line. I waited for a sprint that never really came.

I finished second in my group--a great start to the season.

I almost missed the awards ceremony when I went to the car to change. Cora borrowed a stranger's phone and called me to tell me to hurry the hell up. I rolled up just in time to hear "In second place, from Jackrabbit Racing, Matthew Jones."

To the victor go the spoils. This Battenkill Creamery chocolate milk is phenomenal and I'm sure you'll find it hard to believe that I had a ton of help finishing it off. The jug is going to make a fine trophy--hopefully the first of many that will line the walls of the CBC.

A quick rest before loading up the car.

Got a little help from Don Bull who reportedly told Cora that it was all because of him that I got second because he's been teaching me to go fast.

In case you forgot, a spot on the box earns a burger and fries. We made it back to Cooperstown in time to take my mom out for a birthday dinner. A good time was had by all.


bill said...

Hey Matthew, nice race. Knowing that your wife was out there photographing I was wondering if you could send me a image files (I'm in the yellow jacket.) Google gave me your blog!

Just a few points though...

- I thought I came out of the last corner well placed on in second wheel!

- What sprint! apparently the finish banner blew over. I'd never been in a sprint finish before and kept waiting for you guys to come around me so I could get a couple second respite but it wasn't meant to be.

- Thanks for not attacking on the last hill. It would've totally stuffed me.

Lastly I'm just kicking myself for not following when the winner attacked. Cause he didn't really attack, more like he just rolled off the front and no-one reacted. He had the tailwind and earlier that morning I was thinking that if I had the fitness I would try to do just what he did.

A friend of mine racing CAT 4 just told me that we managed to beat this guy

Good luck to you this season.

suemagill said...

Congratulations Matt nice job despite the wind!! I'd love to see you race someday.
Good start!

Jules & Lisa said...

Hey Matt,
You going to be back in 2011?