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Nice weather, tough hills at Battenkill

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Brian Nystrom
Joined: 26 Jan 2004
Posts: 4498
Location: Nashua, NH

5/14/19 6:49 AM

Nice weather, tough hills at Battenkill

Ten of us from C4 (Cape Cod Cycling Club) traveled out to Schuylerville, NY for the Tour of the Battenkill. Linda had ridden the Gran Fondo in 2010 & 2011, but I hadn't ridden anything other than the first few miles of the old route. It's a huge event that offers three lengths of courses. Three of our group opted for the 26 mile Piccolo Fondo, Linda and I did the 42 mile Medio Fondo and the "big guns" in our band did the full 76 mile Gran Fondo. Although it rained on Friday, we had dry roads for the ride, with temps in the 50s. Intermittent sun turned to full overcast for most of the ride, but the weather cleared afterward and warmed up to near 70.

The course was pretty much what I expected based on the profile and reports from riders. After a controlled rollout from the fairgrounds, it began with a few miles of reasonable warmup before the climbing started in earnest. Then the sawtooth-like progression upward began, consisting of numerous long, steep climbs and descents for the next 25 miles. A few dirt sections were interspersed to provide some additional character to the course. Then suddenly, you're dumped onto pan-flat roads in the valley with only 12 miles remaining. Blessed relief! Just as you get into a good rhythm, you hit the "Feed Zone", with only 10 miles remaining - a rather odd place for it in a 42 mile ride - and you're faced with a dilemma. Do you stop and take a breather or soldier on to the end? Either way, there's one last "kick in the teeth" left, in the form of a final dirt climb, before dropping back onto the flats for the run to the finish. However, there's still an odd wrinkle remaining. At one point, you cross the road that the fairgrounds is on and it's only a couple hundred yards away, but instead of heading in, you continue on in a large loop around the backside, adding a few more miles. Depending on whether you're actually racing or not, this either begins the jockeying for position for the finish, or it's just a blissful cool-down, knowing that you've made it to the end. Did I mention that this IS actually a race, at least for some people?


    The Tour of the Battenkill is a lot like riding in Vermont, except New York can apparently afford more paving equipment. ;-)
    It's a huge event, on the order of D2R2, and it's very well run. Considering that you get a T-shirt, socks and a water bottle with your entry - on top of a really fun ride - it's a good value, too. Frugal Yankee Approved!
    Ignore the maximum gradient listed in the course info, in our case, 7.6% for the Medio Fondo. There are plenty of steeper grades and the actual maximum is around double that. We were glad that we used our gravel bikes with their lower gearing.
    When we watched the Gran Fondo riders come blasting in, often still looking quite fresh after 76 miles of punishment, it really put our lowly place in the cycling pantheon in perspective. Linda was the only one in her age group (70+), but beat a few of the younger women in the 60-69 group. I was 37th out of 50 in the 60-69 men's group.
    Don't forget to grab a quart of chocolate milk in the commemorative bottle, after your ride. It's both a great recovery drink and a nice participation trophy!

Last edited by Brian Nystrom on 5/14/19 8:02 AM; edited 2 times in total

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Joined: 08 Dec 2003
Posts: 17465
Location: Portland, OR

5/14/19 7:41 AM


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