Here is a view of the Battenkill race, through Maurice's eyes. The week before the race, Maurice had been a bit sick and like many of us, wondered if going up to the race was a good idea at all. Of course he did, and here is his story. This picks up the morning of the race, a few hours before his start...
Ate some pasta and caramel pork (very salty) and we headed for the start. We got there at 8 (1/2 before the start...), just enough time to get ready and head to the line. The thermometer in the car still hadn't gone above 40, but I decided to go bare legged and medium embro as I knew it would warm up. Worked out well enough.
My goal as I lined up was to finish, and hopefully not get dropped by the pack. After 'cross season I was seriously burned out and had a hard time getting back into training. There was not much time to prepare for this race so Ben let me do it my way: rode as much as I could, with lots of hills. I also worked on dropping weight: when training time is limited it is a great way to make up for lack of fitness when it's hilly. Should work well for MTB also.
About 2 miles after the start Bobby Lea goes off the front. I thought that would be it. The first time up Juniper Swamp I felt ok and went from back to mid-pack. The second time I decided to move further up and actually stayed there despite Justin Lindine drilling it hard.
Up until mid-point the pace remained rather mild. There would be accelerations but nothing serious. I made sure to hide in the pack, happy enough to still be there. A couple times it really itched to go, but sure enough we reeled in every move.
Can't remember the name of the roads or sections (I didn't study the map...) but at some point there was a left-right on a bridge, and a steep hill fairly loose. I knew that would hurt and would be followed by more hills so I made sure to stay near the front. It worked well enough that I crested the last hill driving the pace.
Another hill came up and I knew this is where things would take shape. One guy attacked and every one followed. I countered towards the top and made a gap. The eventual winner bridged up and we went. Another guy came up and the three of us opened about a minute. For the longest time the gap stayed there. I was feeling ok, still a long way to go but this was the move. Eventually we saw glimpses of Bobby Lea. Then we caught him (surprised to ride behind the opening car). Then we dropped him. Still not sure if he had planned that or what since he was racing the next day...
Shortly before feed #2 in a slightly uphill dirt section the eventual winner upped the pace and we couldn't keep up. He just powered away, nice... Took a bottle and then the two of us worked on staying where we were. Eventually I blew up and couldn't follow my break companion. On Meeting House road I could still see the two ahead, but I was spent. What a deceiving section, a straight dirt road with 2 hills in a row where you can see for miles. The last 15 miles I rode by myself, trying to stay where I was.
This was taken more or less in the timeline here.
Eventually I got to Stage Road and started the climb. 5 chasers went by me at the steepest point and I couldn't latch on to their wheels. Crested that, and my legs were screaming... The last 5 km were the longest, slightly uphill and windy. I did not want to turn back but did so inside the last km to see no one was in sight. Good enough for 8th and 80 miles in 3h30.
I ate 2 gels and drank 2 bottles. The second bottle on the bike I never even touched... This is bad and I need to work on that, especially as the weather warms up and with having lost weight. I had ice cream after the race.
Sunday I went for a ride with the home crew (wife and daughter) and my legs felt like concrete.