What a race! My new teammate Lindsay and I went up North this weekend to race Battenkill…Cat 3 Women….64mi….60 starters…weather: sunny, 65+ degrees.
Lindsay is a super strong rider, professional mountain biker; and Battenkill was her second Cat 3 race. Racing with her would be interesting I knew that right from the gun. We talked a little bit about strategy but looking back that was not necessary at all.
Race started…Mile 17 or so was the first climb and that already divided the field, maybe in half. There was always a group of six of us who were rotating in the front. We took every hill pretty hard and at one time, we got in a break of six people but got chased down by the peloton.
Since I had no speedometer, I asked Lindsay at some point which mile we were at – 30miles. I thought we had ridden farther but the climbs definitely slowed down the pace. I was riding a 11-25 cassette and the easiest gear was definitely pushing my limits up those climbs. 18% grade on unpaved roads does not allow a lot room for error. Having tried to get away from the pack the past 30mi, the following two climbs set in a rigorous pace finally sealed the deal to get away. We were a group of eight and worked well together. We dropped four girls on the following climbs…Lindsay, Bryna, Jessie, I and 20mi left.
We kept working together until mile marker 51 when a two step climb on dirt road followed by a dirt descent that led through sand challenged not only physical strength but also handling skills. With her background skills, Lindsay was flying down the hill into the sand pit, which she navigated smoothly. We remaining three were more cautious and took it with slower speed. I got through second but was caught by Bryna. Jessie seemed to have trouble with the climb just before that and couldn’t catch on.
Lindsay got some distance on us and we never saw her again. I left Bryna on the next climb and timetrialed the last 10miles. I knew Jessie from the Green Mountain Stage Race and she is a super strong timetrialist. She couldn’t be far behind me. Since there was one more climb, I hoped that would create a gap big enough so she couldnt chase me down on the last flat 6 miles.
With my head literally on the handle bars, I gave everything to stay away from the two girls behind me. The last 5k to go seemed forever but once I passed 1k and looked back and didn’t see anyone, I was finally sure of my second place.
Lindsay was three minutes ahead of me, Bryna and Jessie a minute behind me sprinting for third…oh my god, I was so happy I didn’t have to do that!
Upgrade is approved and I will be racing Chantilly as a Cat 2.