The course is everything that the website details, a leg burning grind fest on less than stellar roads. This was exemplified by one of our clients. After cramping near the end of the ride an anonymous rider in our group took advantage of a head start on the last major climb. We came around the corner to find him squatting behind his bike in the middle of the road, as if trying to hide from the hill’s evil. He was unable to stand because his quads had gone into full tetanus! After 10 minutes of crouching they relaxed enough to climb back on the bike and he was able to make it over the rest of the climb (compact gearing next time Ryan, take it from Charlie… ;)
In dry conditions the dirt road sections were not all that bad minus a couple 30-60 yard swaths of “golf ball” sized gravel that layered the road way like sprinkles on frosting (except for Meeting House Road…a proper nasty dirt road just as you would imagine it). Hopefully these gravel sections will be
Sunday was a chance to experience the course all wet, and we rolled out just as it poured. It was not long before getting comfortable but in low 50 degree temps and steady rain it’s riding a fine edge teetering on “just bearable” and “lets go home”. The pace was spirited to keep the blood flowing and the only thing that could ruin it was stopping for a flat...Murphy’s law rules at the Battenkill. After 10 minutes of standing in the rain we got going again and this was the worst part of the ride. At least the Mad Alchemy embrocation kept the legs feeling toasty, if only a placebo, thanks Dave! But we soon got the blood flowing and the rain lessened. Even in the dry the roads seemed to suck your wheels into the earth but in the wet you created ruts and had to negotiate sections of quick sand that virtually slowed you to a stop. For anyone doing the Pro 1 or 2 race the initial “extra” loop may sort things out from the start if it is as wet as it was today. However, as was explained to me later this was a “dark” road and just thawed out from the winter so there has been little traffic this year. By race day the sand should be a little more packed. In the wet the traction was not so bad going up the hills but you had to push even harder because of the “road suck” and on this climb the road “sucked hard”.
Wet or dry the race will be hard, but pray for dry.
Thanks for the great company and riding Dave, Bruce, Bryce, David, Kristan, Ryan, Bryan, and Charlie. Many thanks to Christine Hoffer at the Rice Mansion Inn for helping with the weekend, it was an exceptional place to stay and I highly recommend it if you ever come to Cambridge!