Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Battenkill or Battered and Killed????

Epic.  Grueling.  Carnage. Survival.  These are just a few of the words I can use to describe this race.  I think it is just one of those things you need to experience to fully understand.

A 62 mile race on dirt roads with killer hills in April......What was I thinking?!?!?!  Apparently I completely forgot how hard it was last year.  I was a little more prepared than last year though since Coach Tim made me do hill repeats, but this didn't seem to make the race any easier!

It was a beautiful day, high of about 67 with partly cloudy skies.  It was a little warmer than most of us have been adjusted to riding in.  I had my two largest water bottles on my bike and knew it still wouldn't be enough.  The Cat 4 women had enough registered to make two fields and my field started at 2:30!  Even with two fields, I was sick to my stomach thinking about the start and wanted the race to break up as soon as possible.  To make it even better, the announcer warned us about sandy sections on the dirt roads and assured us we would be fine if we used our "cross skills."  Hmmmm, sand and smooth road tires.......no problem :/

The race started and all I could think about was getting near the safety of the front of the peloton by the time we reached the narrow, dark covered bridge.  We went out at a fast, but still fairly comfortable pace.  Girls were changing positions every where trying to move to the front.  Seemed everyone had the same plan I did.  By the time we got to the bridge, I was a little farther back than I would have preferred, but made it over the bridge safely and onto the first dirt stretch.  The pace was picking up as we continued to scramble for position before the next break up point - the 19% grade Juniper Swamp Hill.  Unfortunately, I am still not aggressive enough to hold my position and ended up at the back of the peloton by the time we got to Juniper.  It is a grueling climb on dirt, probably the steepest on the course.  I gained a couple positions, but not enough to stay with the leaders.  They took off down the hill and I was left with about 8 other girls.  The gap was small and we tried to get a paceline going to catch back on.  This proved difficult to do as some of the girls either didn't know how to paceline, some just didn't seem to want to work, and I'm guessing others had teammates in the lead group so they were forbidden to work.  It was so frustrating since I knew I couldn't catch them alone.  At least I had people to ride with and block some wind for me though.



We continued onto a flat road section  and wheels clattered in front of me.  A girl flew into a ditch.  Again I thought, "why am I doing this?"  This was the first crash I had ever witnessed in a road race.  I wondered what happened since it seemed to be a innocent area.  My goal for the race quickly turned to survival and we had not even reached the sandy sections yet.



Somewhere between the two feed zones it sneaked up on us.....the dreaded sand resulting in complete carnage.  Racers unable to handle the sand were going down every where.  Forget about going in a straight line.  Also, at this point, we were starting to pick up stragglers from other races which made for more bodies on the road.  Somehow through each section, I managed to make it through the sand with the rubber side down.  Although, I had a few close calls with other riders coming at me.  I guess I have more skills from cross than I thought!   

At mile 48, we reached the second feed zone and I was still with some of my group minus a few who dropped off.  I only had about 4 oz of Gu Brew left.  Thank goodness for one of my cross buds, Dave Beals, for agreeing to be in the feed zone and re-supplying me with more Brew. It was just at the right time since my calves were starting to cramp.
 
More sand and hills came after the feed zone and my group shattered apart.  My last 10 miles were spent alone and again I thought about just surviving this race.  I was exhausted and could no longer get out of the saddle to climb.  Spinning in my easiest gear I climbed the last of multi-mile long hills.  Finally, the home stretch.....I looked at my Garmin and it said 3:30 just before crossing the finish line.  20 minutes faster than last year and no incident.  Then I remembered why I race.  This race is epic.     
 
I was most definitely "battered," but thankfully not "killed."  See you again next year Battenkill! 
 
P.S.  As I got ready to leave for the day and I bumped into Marsha and heard about Kathleen's accident.  My heart sank, but luckily was told in time she would be fine.  Heal fast Kathleen!

Monday, April 16, 2012

News from Battenkill

Wow!  My first road race and my first bike crash all in one—talk about getting schooled!

It was such a beautiful day—perfect.  I was with Kathleen and Barb in the last group to go at 2:40 and we had just gotten out of the 1k neutral mode when somebody crashed right in front of us.  I thought I was going down too—it was a lot of scary braking and swerving around girls on the ground—and I didn’t crash by sheer luck.  When I finally stopped I saw Kathleen over on the side of the rode, up on the hill, flat on her back (one medic said she won the prize for longest hang time!).  She was conscious and talking but not moving, with bad pain in her head and neck.  Her husband had just finished his race and was parked right next to my husband in the main parking lot so I was able to get him on the phone and he got over to Kathleen before the ambulance got there.

There were about seven other women down in the road and there was lots of blood, moaning and crying.  (One of the medics told me that my cortisol levels would be as high as if I had actually raced.)  Three of the riders were taken away by ambulance (including Kathleen) and the rest went to the field hospital.  Kathleen was a total trooper.  She talked and was in good spirits the whole time as they put her in the ambulance.  She even joked about what the emergency room staff would think the smushed Snickers bites were in the pockets of her jersey!  Anyway, she got out of the hospital later that evening with only a sprained neck and no concussion, so that’s great news.  And she was already talking about being at the BCR.

I’m really disappointed we didn’t get to race (I  had 3.8miles on my odometerL) and, I have to say, I’m feeling a little gun shy about getting in a group again.  But I’m already thinking about next year’s Battenkill…it was so beautiful and the set-up was so friendly and professional.  Also, the responding medics were dynamite.  Hope not to need them again.
On a positive note, Barb was able to miss the crash completely and finish the race triumphantly for all of us!

As an aside, the future of Upstate NY racing had a chance to "Ride with the Pros" on Friday night.

My seven year old got the experience of leading out the peleton.

 My five year old didn't realize that he is any smaller than this guy (and thinks there is really a chance to beat a pro!).

That's all the news from me from Battenkill!
Jennifer Corby

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Long Ride Weekend

Now, I know all of you MIM ladies who went to Battenkill will have big stories to tell (and I'm eager to hear them!), but I just wanted to share the story of my little training weekend as well.  I have been excited for this weekend of no commitments for a while, and we really made the most of it I think!

On Saturday morning, I got up at 7:30 and successfully did some school work while drinking my cup of coffee.  By 9:30 we were at the Conklin Weis parking lot, ready to go out on our long ride.  At the start, there was only lonely MIM gal (me!) and 6 RUUD guys.  If I made it through the ride without a bonk, I told myself, I would be successful.

We started out at an easy conversation pace and made out way to PA.  Just over the border we made our way down what would eventually be a long stretch of dirt road.  We lost a few guys at this point -- I guess they didn't want to spend their entire Saturday on the bike! -- but we were lucky to have some great sunshine during those few miles of dirt road.
Railroad bridge in the PA borough of Susquehanna Depot



Skoloff Valley Farmland!
Onward we went, enjoying the sunshine and relatively flat terrain.  Our ultimate destination was the Skoloff Vally Farm in Susquehanna, PA.  We did indeed make it, with only a 10 mile trip out of the way beforehand.  Chris and I will have a share from the farm this year, so we were eager to check it out!

After we passed the farm we hit the largest climb of our day, but we all made it up the dirt hill in one piece.   We later found on Strava that the Buchanan Rd. climb is a Category 3 climb!
Making my way up the sheet Buchanan Rd. climb
Our ride finished at 71 miles (5 hours from start to finish), making it our longest ride of the season to date.  Now we're getting psyched for racing season to really start... 

On Sunday morning we started our day with some Primal Waffles, eggs, and bacon.  We may have even had a crisp glass of bubbly to go with them!  Yum! Below is a photo of the first batch of Primal Waffles we had a few weeks ago - super tasty.  Add some local maple syrup and you have quite a breakfast!
Primal waffles!



And finally, this afternoon we headed to Chenango Valley State Park for a long run.  We explored some new trails and enjoyed a mild, rain free afternoon in the woods.  Chris sported his Vibram Five Finger shoes for the entire run with no foot pain.  We ended our run after one hour and thirty minutes, making that our longest run of the season so far as well.  Phew. We enjoyed our first ice cream of the season after our run.  I ordered my favorite, a twist with rainbow sprinkles. Some things never change!
Tasty post-run treat!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Route 38, 10 mile time trial results

The wind....Brutal,  The temperature....Cold,  And it's not Rt 38 unless a rider flats.  11 riders came out to ride, Mark Rando happened to be the victim of the Rt 38 flat tire tonight ending his ride during the warm up, so he stayed to assist Norm & Angela with timing.

1.     26:07     Chris Jones
2.     26:38     Kevin Rocktashel
3.     26:41     John Hover
4.     26:50     Brad Helmetsie
5.     29:23     Delana Spaulding  (W)
tie    29:23     Marsha Kapinus    (W)
6.     30:53     Keith Maynard
7.     33:37     Jeff Cebula
8.     37:39     Karen Holm         (W)
9.     63:00     Jim McDonough

Thank you Angela, Norm and Mark for taking care of sign in, start order, and results!

Next Week is Rt 26 at Dorchester Park.  Please come prepared to time yourselves as a backup, as I will already be at Battenkill preparing for everyone's arrival :)

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

April 1st Training Clinic a success!



On Sunday, April 1st, the Mission in Motion team hosted a beginners road racing training clinic open to any new riders!  Although the cold weather and threat of rain kept many riders away, we can 14 excited new people come to learn from 6 riding instructors which worked out well as we instructors were able to ride along with 2 riders and give them some good attention while showing them the basic skills for riding in groups, how to properly draft and not overlap wheels, keeping control of your bike while reaching for your water bottle or looking around, taking corners.....it was a great day and we look forward to seeing these riders come out to try racing with their local clubs!  Thanks to Mike Grygus, Mike Jones, Vanessa McCaffery, Pat & Marsha Kapinus, Charlsie Donnelly and Jackie Hendrickson for taking the time to come out and share their experience with the group!  Thank you to NYSBRA for covering the USAC fees and refreshments!

April 3rd- Singer Training Race

First official training race of the season at Kirkwood Industrial Park!  We had 10 women ( Jackie, Marsha, Jennifer, Angela, Elizabeth, Tami, Holly, Karen, Heather & Tiffany)   We had a nice little training clinic prior to the race to help the newer racers become adjusted to riding in a group and how to paceline (thanks to Andrew for taking the time to explain the skills as Jackie and I demonstrated).  After we were all warmed up, and received the intro race talk, the women started with the B men's group and stayed together for the first several laps to give everyone a nice feel of what it's like to ride and paceline with a good size group.  Midway through the race, Jackie and Marsha decided to test their legs (and the B men) and had a fun time racing to the finish where Jackie took the win for the women (and 3rd place among the men!)   Many thanks to Tami Lewis who stayed with the newer riders to give them some more racing tips!  Hope to see you all at the Thursday night Time trials as well!