Monday, July 28, 2008

Tour of Hilltowns - W3/4

Tour of the Hilltowns
This is considered to be one of the hardest race courses on the New
England calendar, if not the hardest. The course is a 90 km (56
mile) loop, with the famous or infamous East Hawley Road climb (a
four mile steep climb) around mile 20 which continues with a rolling
course to finish after a long uphill (10 miles long) to Notchview
Julie and I participated in the women 3/4 race category and we were
aiming to have top placings in this event. Our strategy was to start
East Hawley on the second or third wheel, stick to a break (both of
us if possible) and work together up to the finish. In case one of
us would be in a break, the other one would cover attacks and block
any progress made in chasing down the break.
The first 20 miles of the race were uneventful - there were few
climbs and the course was mostly downhill. Julie and I stayed close
to each other. By mile 18, when Julie moved to the right of the pack
and close to the front, I quickly followed. Shortly after that and
just by the beginning of East Hawley Road, a rider from CRC NY
Velocity moved to the front. I was able to take her wheel and she
pulled me right to the front. Julie also followed. It was just what
we wanted.
The climb of East Hawley Road is unforgiving and quickly the pace set
by a Razorfish rider, followed by a CRC Radical Media rider began to
shed riders. By mile 2 or so up the climb there were only five of
us - the two above mentioned riders, the rider from CRC NYC
Velocity , Julie and myself. I was happy to see Julie and I were up
in that break together but unfortunately Julie could not hold on to
the pace of the break. Almost by the top of the climb, the break was
established - the CRC Razorfish rider, the CRC Radical Media rider
and myself.
We got organized on a paceline and started working together pretty
quickly. We worked hard to keep the pace steady and fast. For the
next ten miles, we kept the paceline going. When we got to the
feedzone in mile 35, still we had no riders chasing us in sight. We
continued working steadily. Unfortunately I had a mechanical around
mile 40, just before we entered Route 9 (the final highway climb). I
had to get off the bike, and once I got back on, I started chasing.
I knew it would be hard to catch back because I knew they would
continue to work together.
For the first 8 miles of the 16 I had left, I kept a steady pace. Not
only did I want to get back to the break, I also didn't want to get
caught. The last 8 miles were grueling, it was very windy and the
climbs felt very tough. I was feeling sick to my stomach and felt
that the end was far away. I was also fearing I would get caught by
a group behind…although, I also knew that Julie would be covering for
During the last 6 miles I tried to focus, until the last climb where
I saw my husband Roger and my daughter Clara encouraging me. At that
point I knew I could do it, I knew also that the end was close. Soon
enough I saw the 1 km mark, I still looked back and saw no sign of a
chase. Finally I took a right onto the Notchview reservation and
another right to the finish line. I was happy to have been able to
hold to the third place.
A little after that, I saw the CRC NYC Velocity rider through the
finish line and soon after there came Julie. As we congratulated
each other, Julie said she thought she finished 6th; however I was
happy to see when I picked up my medal and prize that she finished
5th. We did very well, we worked very hard for the result and we are
very proud and happy.


1 comment:

JB said...

nice job, congrats on toughing it out!