Tour of the Battenkill (surviving my first race)

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Since I signed up for the Tour of the Battenkill months ago, people have been giving me strange looks. “Wow, that’s a tough first race,” one seasoned rider observed. “You’ve never raced before and you’re doing Battenkill?” questioned another. Sure it’s billed as the largest and toughest single-day race in North America, but since I did the preview ride two years ago (granted, it had 1,000 less feet of climbing) and watched my husband race it in 2011, the race has been on my mind. I found that the more people questioned me, the harder I trained. So when Saturday finally rolled around, I felt prepared and eager to enter as a recreational rider and emerge as a racer. Continue reading

The Heaven and Hell of Hunterdon

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I could write a typical ride report, stating how perfect the weather was for a spring classic and complaining about how brutal a course the Hell of Hunterdon is, especially in March, but that wasn’t what yesterday was about for me. Cycling has the power to break you down and build you up and yesterday’s ride was a little of the former and bucket loads of the latter. I arrived shaky and nervous about riding in a group, especially with 18 sections of dirt and gravel. I didn’t know how my shoulder would hold up or if my legs could go for 79 miles and hit 5,700 feet after resting all of last week. I assumed I would cut the course early and use it as the week’s long ride in my training plan. Continue reading

This is New Jersey?

New Jersey is nothing but sprawling malls, fake tans, tacky velour jumpsuits and drivers who use their middle finger instead of a turn signal, right?

Okay, some of these things are true. Growing up in Upstate NY, I loved to hate our trashy neighbor to the south. That is until the Garden State was the only way out of our stint of unemployment. This past weekend, we packed up the U-Haul and headed south.

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Scenes from the Battenkill

The Tour of the Battenkill has always been on my bucket list. While I haven’t summoned up the courage to race it yet, my husband Rob did. The weather was awesome, 65 degrees and sunny for much of the afternoon. I think this caught many by surprise, as my husband crossed the finish line low on electrolytes and scorched with sunburn.

Photos are mainly of the Cat 5 men and Pro/1/2 women’s fields. Overall, there were 2,700 riders representing 40 states and 15 countries. We snapped them as we raced between feed zones and savored the incredible countryside surrounding Cambridge, NY.

Additional photo credits: Jim McCormack

Read Rob’s report from Cat 5

Dirt, sweat and (one) gear

My husband finally moved off the waiting list for the Tour of the Battenkill on April 10. This, coupled with the fact that it finally hit 50 degrees in NY, was reason enough to hit the dirt. Northern Dutchess County, our stomping ground, has some amazing dirt roads with fantastic climbs.

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We hit a mix of dirt and paved roads. It was a windy day, but the miles ticked by.

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Although snow is still in the forecast, today was perfect for just arm and leg warmers. At this point, my shifter was beginning to feel sticky, like the goop of winter was stuck on its cables. Mental note: Pay the bike shop a visit. Continue reading