Race: Tokeneke Classic Road Race
Location: East Hartland, CT
Rider: Andy Maher
This was my fourth time racing Tokeneke and I have had very different experiences each time. This year would be no exception. Day four of a heat wave with temps in the mid nineties and the real feel over 100 degrees it was going to be a tough day, especially as my race did not start until 1pm.
The course was 3 laps of a 22 mile loop around the Barkhamstread reservoir with 2100 ft of climbing per lap. After a 30 min warm up I lined up with the other women ready to start. The first few miles of the course are mainly downhill with the exception of a few rollers. We made the a right on to the first climb and I made sure I was at the front of the group. The second climb came and by mid way up I started to feel light headed and experienced ringing in my ears, I knew I had to back off. As I eased off the pace the ringing dissipated and I was able to make it over the top but had now lost contact with the main field. Another rider had fallen off the back and I could see her not too far in front of me. I had her in my sights and kept pushing trying to bridge the gap. A mile or two later I heard the deep breathing of another rider behind me, happy I had been caught and now had someone to pace with. We stayed together for remainder of the first lap but eventually the heat was too much for her and she started to drop off, I was alone again and now had lost sight of the rider in front of me.
The heat was overwhelming but I pushed on and made sure I replenished my fluids at the feed zone. Pockets of riders from the mens fields passed me along the way and I would try and stay with them but could not match their pace.I rolled through the feed zone for a second time taking on more fluids. I was not feeling great but was determined I was going to finish this race. The finish line was just a kilometer or two up the road and as I passed by for the second time with one lap to go I was pulled from the race. Due to time and impending storms any riders who were not with the lead group were pulled. In hind sight it was probably a good thing I stopped when I did as I started to exhibit some of the tell tale signs of heat exhaustion. I finished in 8th place. Another tough day at the Tokeneke Road race!