I grew up going to Killington Stage each fall once my brother started racing bikes in college. His first year at KSR was probably 1989. I was 7. Throughout the years I saw him race on the local club of Putney West Hill all the way up to Mecury-Viatel which is basically the equivalent of BMC now. By the time I started racing KSR had ended and GMSR started. I actually raced GMSR its first year which was my first year racing. Anyway, my cycling “career” came and went before KSR was a thing again. Now that I am a “Masters” racer I decided to give it a go this year in the Pro/1/2 because the only Masters division is 50+.
It is earlier in the year and has different stages but the overall feel of a New England high end stage race was there. But instead of staying in a hotel on site close to the racing allowing for maximum recovery with minimal responsibilities I spent my mornings getting Sam ready for daycare, driving 2 hours to the race, racing, packing up pronto and driving 2 hours home to get Sam, take care of him for the night and then getting him to bed. After all that I got 15 minutes of “recovering” before bed.
Saturday was a 76 mile circuit race with a small hill and it was fast. Race was over in 2:50 for a 26mph average. Nothing was able to stick and everything was basically covered within a mile. I sat tight in the back before sneaking up the side on the last KOM and tried to see if something would go. After 8 minutes at an average of 435 watts with several minutes of 500 watt drives all that happened was we got strung out. I slinked back to the back of the packed and rolled in safely after a field sprint. I never fully committed to a move and I regret that now.
Sunday had 4 significant climbs. One at the start, two in the middle and a finish climb. I had a feeling a break could go on the false flat of the second climb but I decided to hang low and conserve. Turned out the winning move happened right where I thought it could go. I realized this too late and tried to bridge over the top of the 3rd climb. All I did though was spend 20 minutes riding solo even with the break 4 minutes up the road burning matches I didn’t have. A group of the best guys that missed the move came up on me 10 miles before the final climb and I suffered to pull through with them, missing more pulls than I would like to admit. I did have a guy in the group say “dude, SPD’s” to which I said “yeah, it is a cross bike” and got a look of confusion till he saw the disc brakes and the wide tires and said “don’t pull on the downhills.” When we got to the final climb I was cracked and I suffered up the last climb losing time with every pedal stroke. In the end I pulled the pin on the rollers to the finish and lost almost 4 minutes on the best guys from my group I started the climb with and lost 7 minutes on the guy that won from the break. Thankfully only a handful of guys from the pack caught me. I was 27th on the day out of about a 100. So really not too bad.
Monday was a 10.6 mile TT which goes slightly uphill. I know from training and the PP TT what I probably could do fresh, but not knowing what I could do tired. Overall I thought if I had a perfect day and I was fresh I could get a top 10. TT’s are boring to report about so basically I wasn’t fresh but did better than I thought I could and ended up 5th.
Overall I moved up to 21st and I now look back at my sitting up at the end of Stage 2 and wish I hadn’t. It was for a minor placing but racing is racing and you don’t get a medal for quitting. There is no shame in racing to the line even if it isn’t for the win. Hopefully I remember that this weekend for WF 100k and the Hill Climb.