Killington Stage Race, Stage 1 – Circuit Race

There is nothing like stage racing. All the anticipation and nerves come together and cause you to react in a way just a bit more intensely than when compared to day-racing. KSR is no different even if many of get to race from the comforts of our own homes. Even with only a 1.5hr drive, and no need for bedding or clothing, the preparation is pretty crazy.

 

Nutrition and Embrocation…Check!

KSR started like so many others. I spent the week preparing the body with training and the bike with some love. Stage Racing is like a sponsor showcase so it is important to show up with a clean bike. Plus, as I have said before, committing to an expensive bike race for 3 days should not ever be ruined by poor bike maintenance. So, I cleaned the bike, gathered my gear and made sure everything was in tip top shape. I spent the evening cooking healthy food options ahead of time and made sure all my race food was in order.

 

On going pic series…team car!

I hit the road early saturday morning with Specialized Bikes on the roof, Metaballs in the trunk, and butterflies in the stomach. I had a good race last year but with grades and terrain like what KSR offers, one never knows how they are gonna do. I picked up 1K2GO-Onion RIver Sports team member Ben Coleman and his lovely wife Kim. The car was packed and we took to VT’s I-89 for a quick drive to the Circuit Race.

Our first complaints as cyclists usually revolve around weather and road conditions. Traveling through Stockbridge, Bethel and Pittsfield made us all realize that those complaints are not worth a damn. Remnants of Hurricane Irene made me realize that we are lucky to even be able to race our bikes. There are destroyed homes and displaced lives all along Route 104 and so many other VT communities and it was shocking to see even almost 9months after last years hurricane. As bike racers, we need to continue what we are doing and support the communities that we travel to.

On to racing. The Pro 1 Circuit Race started as predicted. Once it went live, the attacks started flying. Each one was seemingly half hearted and admittedly, I was part of this. I wanted to get away but really did not know why. The course is hard enough and windy enough that finding solace in the pack is the best way to save energy. But, I stuck to my usual tactics and tried to make some moves happen. It was apparent that some of the bigger teams like CCB, Bike Reg and Garneau was not going to let that happen. I became content with just staying towards the front of the field.

On lap 1, Charles McCarthy got away in a group of about 10. It looked pretty solid and stayed clear for 3/4’s of a 18 mile lap. But, once the field ramped it up on the flats, things came back together. The race dynamic was odd. Even when I found myself in a break with 3 riders from Garneau, Tim Johnson, 3 from CCB, and a few from Mt. Borah, no one wanted to drive it. Based on the sketch-potential of the finishing straight, I would have preferred that a small group stay away. But once again, back to all-together.

 

Can’t say enough about these guys. Bike Race Angels.Other than a neutralizing by the officials for a crash in a different field, the race was pretty standard. We rolled along at 30 on the flats and surged on the climbs. Nothing was too hard and I knew that I had to stay up front in the sprint. I decided that I would fight to stay up front but if I got boxed in, I would hit the brakes. Not quite literally but I was not willing to die for the same time in a sprint finish. The downhill sprint is a bit sketchy as you touch speeds above 40mph coming into it. Amos Brumble had a decent point and defended the downhill sprint saying that the speeds are not much different than a Pro Tour sprint. However, I added that in a flat sprint, those speeds are only possible by sprinters and their teams. In a downhill, every body can go that speed and it seems more people stick their nose in business where they don’t belong. Sounds snooty I know but some chances are better not taken. If you can’t sprint, get out the way. I got lucky and found myself able to stay up front on the wheel of Tim Mitchell and Dylan McNicholas. Dyaln ended up winning and I was able to keep my old legs spinning for 6th.

Not a bad day. Good clean racing, good friends and a great Team Massage Therapist. Jenn O’Connor got the legs flushed out and hopefully they will be good to go for the TT today! My SHIV actually made me breakfast in bed, so I know the bike is ready! Hopefully I can pilot it in a worthy manner and move on GC today.

 

Marketing Sponsors is a full time job, one I will gladly do!

– Bobby

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