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Tour of the Battenkill
The Tour of the Battenkill is an extremely challenging bike race held North East of Albany New York. The 62 mile course has 15 miles of unpaved roads and 5,000 feet of elevation gain. Doing well with these hill climbs is especially hard for Long Island FLAT-LANDERS in the start of the race season. The race is very well organized and travels through beautiful country side.
All cyclists pay pretty close attention to weather reports and especially for a hard race. The 2008 Battenkill race was held in 83 degree temperature which added to the pain. This year we were lucky to just miss out on potential rain or early snow flurry's. Temp's were perfect at 52 degrees but the wind of up to 20 mph resulted in much of the race being in to a head wind.
(click "read more" for pictures and race video...)
The GAB team had awesome accommodations and support help both at the Inn at Beattie Hollow, the start line and the feed zone. The Inn itself is a jewel we found 3 years ago. A private home converted to an Inn is taken over by just us. It is very well equipped, clean and a friendly place with their own horses, cows and pigs.
This is not the norm for cyclists that typically endure staying in closet sized rooms with no bathroom. Home made meals were made by Kristin Schwenker and Chris Schwenker took on the role of chef, camera man and feed zone support. The man is very organized and flung out omelets for 9 guys like he was the head chef of an aircraft carrier. Just ask guys who got in his way by loafing in the kitchen area.
Chris gets to name which race we take massive pulls for him!
Back to the race itself - Long Island and the East End Cycling team had 15 racers in the field and the GAB had 5 members racing and our GAB co-founder Chris Grady.
He is now a billy goat living in the mountains of Massachusetts.
Craig and Karl raced in the CAT 3 field and Kris, Percy, Chris Grady and I raced the CAT 4 Blue. Also racing from EECT were George, Howard, Gary, Paul Lasurdo and Craig Banger.
Percy was again nuts enough to wear his helmet cam and filmed the first 1 hour and 10 minutes of the CAT 4 Blue race. The dirt sections were fast this year since the huge amounts of recent rains packed down the dirt the full width of the road. The one more difficult side affect of all that rain was some race ending pot holes especially in the first few dirt sections. In both the CAT 3 Green and CAt 4 women fields a rider was unfortunately forced to go over what may have been the same crater around mile 5. In the CAT 3 race Brain Wolff watched a racers wheel crumple from it and in the CAT 4 women's field Jenn Solomon was thrown off of her her bike.
In CAT 4 Blue Chris Grady placed an impressive fourth. I am very happy for the guy who focused a lot on this one event for 4 years and was the catalyst to get many Long Island racers hooked on racing Battenkill. Percy was very well positioned with the front group most of the race until dropping his chain on the last climb with 5 miles to go. He also had the fun of untangling his musette that got stuck on his
helmet cam. I want to see a picture of that. My form was not there but I love a good fight and had a blast convincing 4 other riders to work together and successfully closing a half mile gap back to the main group after Juniper Swamp.
The most dangerous part of the race day occurred for Brain and I returning from the race on route 87 about 8 PM. This 3 lane packed highway was cruising with everyone holding 70+ mph. I looked ahead and yelled STOP AHEAD to Brian. In the middle lane, 3 cars ahead of us we watched a road rage situation result in a guy parking his car, getting out and challenging the other BLEEP to a fight. We had to brake hard to not rear end the car in front and then wait and pray a few seconds to see if we would get slammed from behind since we were boxed in. Crisis averted!
That's it for now.
Percy's on board camera view, editied:
Remix: Race start/intro and full length clip of Juniper Swamp Rd with computer data overlay:
A slow motion study and experiment of some scenes:
greetings from the GAB Team!