As a crappy cyclocross and mountain bike racer, I decided it was finally time to try racing on the road for once and went to Battenkill. Salem told me that racing in the Cat 5 field may be frustrating because I'd have to do a lot of work. I wasn't totally sure what he meant by that, but I think I get it now.
Johanna came with me to Albany and we spent the night there with brother and sister-in-law. It's very pretty in Cambridge, NY and I'd say that the scenery comes close to rivaling D2R2. It's got dirt roads and I love those. It's got three 1/2 steep dirt climbs.
The race itself was ok. It started slow. Going against all advice I've ever been given, I rode off the front around mile three or so. My awesome solo break didn't last very long, as people caught back up to me right after the covered bridge and into the first dirt section. That was fine. A lead group kind of developed and sort of a chase group developed. But they didn't stay very well organized as far as I could tell. By a couple miles after the first feed zone, there weren't really any groups at all. People had ridden ahead of me and I caught a few. I rode with a nice guy from New York for awhile. Around mile 48, there are a bunch of dirt rollers with a climb preceding them. I rode ahead the guy from New York around there and rode the rollers by myself. It flattens out near the end, except for one mile long climb with 6 miles to go. There's a descent and the last three miles are totally flat. I noticed the guy from New York had reappeared about 500 yards behind me, so I rode quickly (for me) and finished ahead of him.
It would appear that the winning times for 3's, 4's and 5's are all about the same, but more people drop out in the 5's. My field started with 50 and only 38 finished. I finished 19th in my field, which is pretty poor. If I'd raced with the 4's, I would have finished like 70th or something. I think because of the frenzy to register for this race, people aren't totally racing in the category in which they normally find themselves.
But, anyway, that's my boring race report. I saw another guy racing on an old Waterford like mine. He did better than me. Happily, I wasn't the only person with unshaven legs. Also, while I like this new to me bike, I developed some crazy lower back pain for the last thirty miles.