While some of our riders spent the Memorial Day weekend prepping for and driving down to the #B2C2TSE, another group make the annual trek up to Vermont for the always-awesome Killington Stage Race. While there was distinctly less "brap" and "gnar" and "schralping," there was plenty of "OMG we're going 50mph" and "wut? you want me to go up that?!?!" There was also a modest amount of "success" in the results department. Details on all that below:
B2C2 again had a great showing this year with seven riders - Lydia, Emma, Jen, Mike M., Greg, Preston, and Kenny. We were also joined by Carlo, a BU youngster who lacked accommodation until the leaders of B2C2 took him under our wing(s).
Before we delve into the all the sweet race-deets, first and foremost we must thank Kenny and his family, who hooked us up with lodging for the weekend. We had our own ski chalet, complete with dinner thrones, a washing machine (CLUTCH), and a very short drive to all of the events and awards ceremonies (that last part turned out to be important this year).
Day 1 - Sprints for Glory
If there's a course that our women's 3/4 squad seem to have dialed, it's Stage 1 of KSR. Building on previous years' successes, the 3/4 women again organized a well-executed lead out train (much to the chagrin of the always-orderly GLV 3/4 women's squad). After keeping the field in check on lap 1 (and winning the intermediate sprint), Emma hopped on the front during the rollers on the back of the course, with Jen on her wheel in second, and Lydia bumping bars to hold third. After doing serious work to hold position, Emma popped off leaving Jen to open up the sprint. The timing turned out to be just about perfect and Lydia was able to come around Jen, flying off the front of the field, crushing Caitlin Dowd (CRCA/Velo Classic p/b Stan's NoTubes) for first place, locking up the leader's jersey. Jen managed to hang on for third, with Emma looking on from the pack. Given that Jen was able to surf wheels and pip Kayla Brannen (FullSquich Industries) for the aforementioned intermediate sprint, this left Jen and Lydia tied for the sprinter's jersey as well. 3 racers, 2 podiums, 2 jerseys. Not too shabby.
A little later in the day, the men battled some pretty intense epic afternoon heat on the same course. In the men's 3 field, Mike road safely and avoided the enormous crash at the end of the race. In the same race, Greg ended up "playing adult" instead of "playing bikes" to help a severely-dehydrated junior who rode himself dizzy from the heat. In the men's 1/2 field, Preston and Kenny managed some personal success, if not real race results. Kenny took a few opportunities to go off the front, at one point opening up 45 seconds on the field with three other riders on the last lap. The break was ultimately brought back (and another one went up the road), but Kenny was able to recover and lead out Preston for 3rd in the field sprint. Not quite up-to-snuff with the women's squad, but not terrible. More importantly, THEY HAD LOTS OF FUN RACING THEIR BIKES. What a novel concept. Also, all 4 men would like extend a very heart-felt "THANK YOU!!!" to the women's 3/4 squad, who stood out in the sunny feed-zone. Seriously. Things would have been GRIM if it weren't for the constant fresh bottles.
Day 1 ended with a family dinner at Kenny's parent's house. There was much pasta, rejoicing, beer, a doggie (for Emma), great company, and a really warm family welcome from Paul and Paula. This was also the time during which we learned Kenny's secrets of building an apartment empire (I think patent pending, so I won't disclose here).
Day 2 - Hills for (slightly less) Glory
Day 2 brought the Champion System road race, which was mostly a group ride with a big hill climb at the end. The women's 3/4 field did break up on the first climb but the majority of the pack was able to regroup afterward, leaving a few riders off the front. Lydia and a few other women lead the effort to chase and eventually caught 4 of the 6 riders up the road. Of course, once it got to East Mountain Road, it was every woman for herself, chasing the last 2 riders up to the top. At the conclusion of the stage Lydia and Jen remained tied for the sprint leader's jersey, slightly unsure of who was actually wearing the jersey due to different tie-breaker rules. After much debate, they decided Jen would wear the jersey for the evening's ceremony.
In the men's 3 race, Greg's legs and the much more mild heat let him actually "play bikes", and he and Mike finished looking strong. In the 1/2 field, Preston and Kenny spent a lot of time hanging out and hoping not to get dropped on the climbs. Which didn't entirely work. Both were gapped on the second time up North Road (while setting power records, at least for Preston. Guess it's time to go on a diet?). Mercifully they found company in six other equally-sad dudes and were able to chase back on before having to spend 15 very sad, very windy miles alone on Rt 4.
(Less content to just "hang out" in the race was Jeremy Powers, who literally whistled his way through the pack and off the front several times. Preston was suitably impressed by both Jeremy's musical talents and his relentlessly powerful calves.)
That night we celebrated Greg's advancement into wisdom with birthday cake ice cream and blackberry frozen yogurt. Team Mom and Dad (i.e. P&L) presided over the meal from their regal, throne-like, dinner chairs.
Day 3 - Whatever-You-Have-Left for Glory
Monday was the time trial, which is always a sad affair. Both because it's a time-trial (OUCH), and because it's the last day of racing. Not owning any real TT-equipment, everyone donned a skinsuit and proclaimed themselves as aero as their bike-racing budgets allowed. While there were certainly no podiums on the day, Lydia did manage a particularly unfortunate and impressive ride. Shortly after passing the SRAM tent at the half-way point, she flatted her rear tire. After a moment of indecision, she pushed on for the remaining 8km AND DIDN'T GET PASSED BY ANYONE. ON A COMPLETELY FLAT TIRE. That's some Tim Mitchell-level stuff right there. More notably, Emma proved her ability to push through like true champion for a spot in the top ten on the stage in the time trial! The grit is real.
The day ended with one last appearance at the awards ceremony, where Lydia took the purse for the sprinter's jersey. (Turns out the tie-breaker goes to the person with the most stage wins). Afterwards, the group of very, very hangry cyclists piled into the cars and headed to the White Cottage for yet another generous offering of food from Kenny's family. This time his uncle provided us with much needed deep-fried calories. There was much rejoicing.
And to top off the weekend, Kenny went behind the counter to serve up some ice cream for the team (OHSA? FDA? Psh. Who cares) (Again, Kenny and his family were SO good to us. Thank you!)
In the end, we lucked out on the weather, and the accommodations. We had a lot of great team bonding time. We avoided crashes and, since Nick Smith wasn't there, we had only minor mechanicals. And our women were on the podium EVERY DAY. Pretty good for a three-day stage race.
See you next year, KSR. <3