Race: Tour of the Battenkill, Women 3/4
Date: April 18, 2015
Location: Greenwich, NY
Rider: Evelyn Korbich
The Tour of the Battenkill, also known as America’s Queen of the Classics, happened to be held on one of the most beautiful days of the year thus far; warm with a lovely breeze, which unfortunately turned into a stiff wind by the end of my race. I had pre-ridden the course, fueled and prepped well, and I was ready to start one of my absolute favorite races on the beautiful roads, both dirt and paved, that surrounded Greenwich, New York. It was with 45 Category 3/4 women that we rolled out of the starting gate. I was on, or near, the front for most of the first nine miles so when we hit the first climb I was one of the first to see a lone rider take off from mid-pack with amazing speed and continue to accelerate away from us on the climb. A few people tried to get on her wheel but no one could keep up with her and all it accomplished was to pull the faster riders to the front of the pack. Thanks to the climb, six riders, including myself, pulled away from the main field and by the time we hit the first dirt section we were solidly away. However, the mystery rider was also well away and there she stayed for the rest of the race, finishing first with a 20 minute lead on my group.
After the first, and worst, dirt section was completed, my group formed into a quick rotating pace line in order to keep away from the pack. We stayed like this until the first feed zone at mile 28 where we had a contingent of seven or eight chasers catch us. With our now larger group, we headed towards the dreaded Juniper Swamp climb, where we knew the group would explode once more and only the strongest would be able to stay away. Luckily, I found myself to be one of the strongest and I pulled away from the stragglers with six other riders. The seven of us, including two juniors and a few fours, were well matched and we were able to keep a steady pace up until the second feed zone, at mile 50. Then we hit Joe Bean, or as I like to call it “The Hill That Just Keeps Giving”, which split the group and left a few stranded behind, trying to catch up on the descent. However, it was a long smooth descent and everyone was together by the bottom. Once back together, we settled back into a pace line, which was marred only by the gusts of wind that caused us to slow down. As we entered into the second-to-last stretch of dirt road I found myself climbing at the front and thought that since there were less than 15 miles to go I might be able to out-climb the others on the final climb, which was about 1.5 kilometers from the finish. I continued to feel good but everyone was climbing well and I didn’t have a chance to break away until the last 500 meters. I jumped from the back of the pack so I knew that no one would be on my wheel but we had to turn away from out tailwind into a strong crosswind and I was caught off-guard by it. While I was coming out of the corner three people managed to get around me, on the side away from the crosswind, but I still sprinted for all I was worth because I thought that I had 5th place in the bag. Unfortunately, I had someone on my wheel and in the last few meters she jumped around me and got 5th place by half a wheel-length. I was so disappointed that I had been jipped at the line but looking back I realize that 6th is still a pretty okay placing for a race of that length and toughness.