Prepping for Battenkill

OK 2 days to the Tour of the Battenkill. Lets recap this race. Its a road race that is modeled after the European Classic Day races. Battenkill is 64 miles long and about 25% of the mileage is on dirt roads. That’s about 15 miles of dirt road if you do the math. Part of what makes this exciting is the weather. Its spring time here in Upstate NY and so the weather can be anything from sunny to rainy to snowy (We are going to get all three in the next 36 hours). The temps can be anything from 75 to 35. You don’t know what you are going to get. (Do you think cobblestones turn to mud when it rains? Dirt does.)

Looking at the weather its going to rain/snow tonight and tomorrow. So the dirt? Well it could end up being, ummm… “soft”. The weather on Saturday is looking to be about 55 degrees with a chance of more rain in the afternoon. My take on the weather right now…not great, but could be worse.

My bike is prepped. I changed my tires from my usual 21 mm road tires to 25 mm road tires. Reading up on what people typically use that’s pretty much it. The pressure is going to be as high as it can be to keep the tires from deflating if possible. I also changed my peddles tonight. I put my mountain bike peddles on the Frank. Why? Well I usually ride with Speedplay’s on my road bike. I really like those peddles except for their one weakness. If you get any dirt into the cleats, well it is virtually impossible to get clipped into the peddles. Given there is 15 miles of dirt to ride on, I figure that there are decent odds my foot may touch dirt at some point. I have Crank Brother peddles on Worm. They are fantastic when dirty. So on they went. Let the roadies laugh at me if they must.

This is my first road race. I read the race instructions (I figured it would be helpful). It was…well…sorta. There is stuff in there like…you can give your spare tires to the neutral support car. Spare tires? You mean people have extra sets of tires? I have a couple of tubes.

I’m not sure what the people racing in the Cat 5 race will be like, but hopefully they will be kind of like me. Out to have fun…whats a spare tire…kind of people. I guess we will see.

I am a little nervous about this race. I’m not sure how fast it will be. I’m not sure how racing in a pack, on a road bike, over dirt will go.  My goals: 1. Have some fun. 2. Get some experience in a race day setting 3. Finish with minimal damage. 4. Have some fun. Given those goals, I’m not sure how aggressive I will be. Not sure how hard I am going to try to stick with the people in the front. We will see. The directions from my coach for Saturday are: “Race Smart” (There are a lot of ways to interpret that, so I guess I can take it anyway I want to.) I expect there will be a story on Monday. Stay tuned!

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