2011 Tour of the Battenkill

Today was the fourth time that I’ve ridden the Tour of the Battenkill. The Horst Engineering Cycling Team had a great turnout. Our squad consisted of Arlen Zane Wenzel, Spike McLaughlin, Mike Wonderly, Pat Cunningham, Gerry Clapper, Paul Nyberg, and me. We all raced the 64-mile (102km) Masters 30+ event. Battenkill had a ton of races as usual. The race started five years ago, but has exploded in popularity thanks to the unique and challenging course.

I don’t get the Battenkill bashers. Some folks refuse to race the event. Sure, the $95 entry fee is steep and you can ride those same roads at no cost, but there is still something special about going to a big race. I had my best Battenkill to date, which was surprising. Arlen was our strongest rider and we rode to support him. The truth is that the rest of us road to survive, but Arlen was riding in the front group up every climb.

Gerry succumbed to a puncture at mile 10. Pat stopped to help him. The two of them spent the next 54 miles riding in various groups. Spike also came off early and he road with a small group for much of the race. Paul, Mike, Arlen, and I stayed with the main field for most of the race. Paul, Mike, and I got popped off the back of the field after every significant climb, but we hung on long enough so that we could chase back on the descents. This happened at least five times. The nine dirt road sections were awesome. One new section caught me by surprise, but fortunately, I was well positioned going into the climb and was able to fade back and stay in touch with the group. I hung tough on the big asphalt road climbs as well.

However, bad luck struck again at mile 42. Arlen punctured and drifted back through the field. He called for a front wheel, so I stopped and gave him mine. He tossed his to the ground. I picked it up and planned to wait for the next neutral support vehicle. A car pulled up while he was struggling to get my wheel on to his bike. I noticed that his front tire was not flat after all. Then he realized it was his rear tire that punctured. He got a rear from the mechanic. I put his front wheel on my bike and we both started chasing, but the two-minute gap was my doom. Arlen took off like a shot in hot pursuit of the field and nearly connected. He passed a lot of riders who were spread out over the course after the last few climbs, but didn’t get to the front. He did pass Paul and got up to Mike’s group and they finished together.

I rode alone for a long time before finally hooking up with a small group of riders. We stayed together until the final climb and then we split up again. I was bummed that I didn’t get a chance to try to hang on with the main peloton, but I’m glad I was able to help Arlen out. That is what a domestique does for the team leader!

We all had a good time and several of us showed positive form, which bodes well for upcoming races. I was happy to survive a bike race. I haven’t raced on the road much in recent years due to my focus on triathlon and trail running. Battenkill is a race that I don’t plan to miss. The course intimidates some, but I thrive on it. The country side of eastern New York State is gorgeous. We had nice sunshine today, which made the cool temperature feel warmer. There was snow in spots, but not on the course. It has been a long winter and the roads (both dirt and asphalt) were in disrepair. Frost heaves and plowing weren’t kind to them. That just adds to the fun.

Race Results

1 Response to “2011 Tour of the Battenkill”

  1. 1 2014 Bimbler’s Bash | Life Adventures Trackback on 6 April 2014 at 7:09 pm

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@thecubscouts #pinewoodderby never gets old. Pack 157 Bolton, Connecticut #cubscouts So that little injury caused by my @renocxnats crash on Saturday afternoon wasn’t so little after all. It’s a broken leg (fibula). Prognosis is good, but it hurts like heck. My blog post report with blow by blow details is linked in my profile. #cxnats #teamhorstsports @horsteng #crossspikes #crossisboss - - -

This #lifedeathcyclocross stuff is true!!!! I crashed out of the Singlespeed Championship @renocxnats (on the dreaded off-camber) but not before having more fun. @artroti43 raced on the frosty course ❄️ at day break. 🚴🏽 We met a lot more @horsteng #crossspikes customers. I hung with little bunny hopper 🐰 Miles, the Junior 11-12 year old Silver Medalist.🥈I cheered for Nic, who represented @the_ccap in the Junior 15-16 age group. @sportstert and Iva came down from Tahoe to cheer LOUDLY for me. 🎺 I got my badly sprained ankle taped and iced. I had a beer. 🍺 I’m even looking forward to my red eye flight home ✈️ . Best of all, I’ll see @trailrunningmom and the kids on Sunday. I can’t explain the sensation, but despite the pain, I’m ready for next #Cyclocross season to begin... after some rest. #teamhorstsports #cxnats #horstengineering @parkavebikeshop #crossisboss #lifedeathcyclocross #crossiscoming You could say that at least for this week, I’m married to my #bicycle - - -

@renocxnats #cxnats @seven_cycles #sevencycles #teamhorstsports #horstengineering #crossspikes @horsteng #chapelofthebells #Cyclocross #lifedeathcyclocross Good day representing @horsteng at @renocxnats in the 45-49 age group. It’s a great course. The wind was blowing hard, but the sun finally came out. I’m happy with 37th place but should have made a move to get to 29th, which was 30 seconds ahead. That’s a long way when you are going flat out and cramping. 4,500 foot elevation was a factor. I’m disappointed that they cut one lap of my race when I wasn’t close to getting lapped by the leaders. You train this hard and come all this way; and you want to get the most racing for the $ and time invested. They only let 25 riders do the full six laps. The only positive to come out of that was that I watched fellow New Englander @adammyerson execute a perfect final sprint to win the Stars and Stripes again. Teammate @artroti43 had a good ride too. 
@seven_cycles #sevencycles #horstengineering #teamhorstsports @bicycleseastct #crossspikes #cxnats #renocxnats #Cyclocross #crossisboss @therichardsachs didn’t have the race he hoped for but it was still great to see him @renocxnats and “pit” for him. He said he officially started his second off season, but first of 2018. @artroti43 and I played soigneur/mechanic for 90 minutes, but minus the massage! atmo #renocxnats #richardsachs #teamhorstsports @horsteng #crossspikes #hauteframebuilding #Cyclocross #crossisboss #lifedeathcyclocross I previously hadn’t published this image, but it recently received an Honorable Mention in the 2017 @appalachianmountainclub Photo Contest for the People Outdoors category. Check out my blog (link in profile) for the interesting story of his photo (shot with this iPhone 6s), a trip report from this amazing Maine adventure, and past contest history. I love this image of two of my favorite women. I’m barred from submitting images to the 2018 contest, but I’ll be back in 2019. #appalachianmountainclub #baxterstatepark #katahdin Congratulations to Master Park, the Park Family, and the entire team at Park’s U.S. #Taekwondo at the Grand Opening of the new facility in the former VFW building. Our kids love it! So much better than being next door to the pawn shop and liquor store.😊#tkd 🇺🇸🇰🇷 This morning, the @trinitycollege Main Quad was bathed in beautiful sunshine ☀️but it was frigid and the wind was blowing! ❄️ The chapel was packed with an overflow crowd to celebrate the (shortened) life of a lovely friend. She will be missed. #circleoflife 🌏

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