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Last Update: 6-May-07

Race Results Archive, 1999-2005


******* 2005 Race Season *******
65) BRC/Slick Willy Cyclocross, Shedd Park, Lowell, MA

November 20, 2005.  First traditional style ‘cross race on a ‘cross bike.  Gorgeous day, course wet only in few spots.  No mud other than juicy cinder track section that could be hammered at 20+ mph.  Did no tapering for this race.  Did hardest 40k rollerski session on Friday and still feeling it big time Sunday before the race.  Did lukewarm warmup, never made it once around course before lining up at start.  All the 35+ and 45+ masters went off in one huge wave.  I started in back row not knowing how I’d do technically or aerobically.  Sold myself short again, but I didn’t mind.  Was caught behind a large plug of many slower riders for the first lap until things thinned out.  For the rest of the 45 minute race I was picking off riders, sometimes two or three at a time.  Nobody passed me and stayed past me best I can remember, but that’s what happens when you start at the back of the pack.  Course was non-technical, containing only one set of short barriers and a short staircase to hop up.  The steep hillclimb was ridden by most, and I found those that ran lost time.  I found the course non-intimidating for a first time CX-er.  No crashes, but I did hit another rider’s bike pretty hard who went down right in front of me.  Was wicked fun, HR goes redlined and stays there until crossing finish.  I would definitely do this race again.

7 laps, about 48 minutes
25th Masters 35+
64) Mt Greylock Hillclimb Time Trail, N. Adams, MA

October 2, 2005.  First race in a month.  Basically took the month of September off from training after the Green Mountain Stage Race at the beginning of the month.  No focused intensity rides or intervals.  Did get lots of volume in, particularly mountain biking in Colorado for 6 days.  I was wondering how this would impact hillclimb performance, particularly for a shorter climb like Greylock that is ridden above anaerobic threshold.  The answer is, in short, apparently none or maybe even helping performance.  I finished 3 seconds slower than my PR set last year in near identical conditions.  Today was a perfect hillclimb day in all regards: cool temps, clear skies, and minimal wind.  Over the past week, I noticed my HR was running a little higher than usual for a given effort.  Having backed off on intensity training, past experience suggests this could be due to a couple factors, a) losing base fitness, or b) reaching higher state of recovery.  I’m guessing maybe mostly the latter.  I didn’t have any expectations for this hillclimb, other than to enjoy a beautiful day.  I warmed up with 6 miles on the road, hitting a couple extended intervals at around 170bpm, a little more intensity before a start than I usually do.  HR was easy to get this high, legs and lungs felt good.  Beginning the race, I quickly hit a high HR but didn’t push it.  Despite my HR running a few bpm higher than I saw this summer, I felt well within my limits, like I wasn’t even pushing that hard.  When I got to the left-hand turn to the summit with less than a mile to go, I realized I had a shot at a new PR.  I really cranked it up then.  Despite holding a high HR all the way up, I was able to drive my HR up another 10bpm for the last half mile, pretty much standing and sprinting this section.  I had tons of reserve left.  I was a little bummed missing my PR by 3 seconds, as I had a goal for the year to PR at least one hillclimb.  I missed PRs on all the others, so Greylock was the closest I came.  Too often we competitors say “if only I had _________, I would have done _________ better.”  You know how to fill in the blanks…  Well, this is a case where there is no doubt in my mind I could have gone three seconds faster on the lower 8 miles of the climb.  Maybe even 30 seconds faster.  Doesn’t matter.  At nearly identical time to last year, the climb this year felt much easier and I felt much less spent at the top than last year.  Claimed a Hot Tubes jersey from the prize box for my efforts.  After the awards, I hooked up with Jason, “The Filly”, and “Rocky” for a southerly descent.  The Filly and Rocky took Rt 7 back, Jason and I climbed past Jiminy Peak and took Rt 43 back.  A gorgeous day with gorgeous views.  Just a hint of color in the trees.

Time: 0:45:10 (3:05 back overall)
1/37 Men 40+
4/133 Overall

63) Green Mountain Stage Race (GMSR), Vermont

September 2-5, 2005.  My first stage race.  First crit too.  Was on the fence deciding whether to sign up or not until my friend Jason signed up and convinced me it would be fun.  So with a couple weeks to go and the Cat 4/5 field quickly filling, I jumped on board.  I felt my prospects were good for placing well in the general classification (GC), but there was that pesky detail of the downtown Burlington criterium that is described as “very technical.”  Never done a real crit, just a few training races at Loudon.  So here’s the day by day report:

63a)  Egan’s Big World Prologue.  8.2 mile mass start hillclimb.  Not a time trial, not a race against clock, but a race for points.  First gets 50, second gets 49, and so on.  I felt I had a very good chance at winning this one.  First couple miles is neutral, then racing begins on gentle grade.  With about 2.5 miles to go, the grade becomes nasty steep.  One batch of riders disappears from the front, another moves in.  Slowly, riders fade away from the front until only one remains in front of me.  My plan was to hold second place until only a little bit of climb remained and then pop for a win.  However, with about a mile to go, I cracked instead.  Immediately, another rider comes around me to trail the leader.  There was nothing I could do.  I blew up so bad that a second rider passed me before the finish, and a third was nipping at my heels when I crossed the line.  Turns out the first guy to pass me (Fred Thomas) took the win by just a few seconds and was in yellow the next day.  This started me off in 4th place for the GC.

4/92 starters (91 finishers)

47 points out of 50 possible

58 seconds back from leader, 11 seconds from stage podium

63b)  Roxbury Circuit Race.  A long 72.5 mile race, nearly two full laps around a 37.5 mile course with an 800ft climb per lap.  A slightly warm day, and with no help in the feed zone, I was forced to carry three water bottles.  We start with a mile or so neutral, then racing begins.  The start is mostly flat punctuated with occasional downhills.  There were several narrow bridges to cross.  Three miles into the race, an oncoming idiot in a truck decides he’s going to cross a narrow bridge the same time my field does.  The results were disastrous.  Many riders piled into the steel guardrail and truck.  Three were transported away by ambulance.  On was critically injured with numerous factures.  I narrowly escaped this mess, and I was extremely tense for the remaining 69 miles of this race.  There were a couple loose cannon riders in our field too.  Really had to be ready at all times for something bad to happen.  Anyway, this was a sprinters stage, being mostly flat and sprint points up for grabs.  My goal was to finish with the lead pack to take maximum finishing points and not worry about bonus points for placing.  I didn’t want to get tangled up in finishing sprint crashes that I heard were common in this stage.  Coming into the last few miles, I felt the early signs of cramping setting in.  Not good I thought, as I might lose the lead train and be in rougher shape for the mountains stage the next day.  With a couple miles to go, I asked the race leader if he was interested in making a break for it to avoid the sprint melee.  He was not interested.  There was a strong headwind for the 10 miles or so leading to the finish, so I had no chance of going it alone.  So with 2k to go, I move to the front and put the hammer down.  Not a break attempt, just a stay out of trouble as long as I can attempt.  I held the lead until about 1k to go. All the sprinters were strung out in a long line behind me.  I’m sure they were thinking thank you very much.  By 1k, I was toast and sprinters started coming around.  I grabbed wheels as they did.  This worked better than I had planned.  Just as I reached the finish with 6 guys in front of me, I heard that horrible sound of metal on pavement again right behind me.  Any further back, I could have been caught in another wreck.  No serious injuries from that one I’m aware of.  This dropped me to 5th place in the GC.

7/91 starters (82 finishers)

104 points out of 125 possible

Same time as leader, approx 3:03:03 race duration

63c)  Sugarbush Resort Mad River Road Race.  A 64.7 mile mountains stage with several thousand feet of climbing, finishing on 20% App Gap.  Legs were nearly trashed when I got up.  I couldn’t figure out how I was going to survive this stage, let alone go for a win.  Jason and I head out to the other side of the resort where staging takes place.  This race begins with a neutral descent down the lower portion of App Gap, then racing begins on Rt 100 heading south.  The first minor obstacle is Granville Gulf, a modest 600 ft climb.  The descent is steeper, and you don’t really notice you’ve climbed until you give up the vertical.  After passing a sprint points line, the first major climb begins, Middlebury Gap.  Two riders were off the front at this point, and nobody seemed too concerned.  I was.  One was Giovanni, a strong climber.  They were out of sight.  Middlebury starts out very modest, and nobody wanted to work on this flattish lower part.  Eventually the grade picks up and the talking stops.  I get into a really good climbing groove with a few others, stringing the pack way out.  Eventually, the yellow and KOM jerseys take off for the KOM points and chase down the break.  Giovanni held them off and claimed the KOM points on this one.  A pack of 8+ riders crested together and began bombing the descent.  I hit speeds of 50+ mph.  We worked sporadically together to see if we could form a break, but the descent drops much more vertical than the climb (going to lowest point of course) and goes on forever.  We must have gotten back up to 50+ riders in lead group before beginning the last climb, Appalachian Gap.  The pace between gaps was extremely slow, recreational pace slow.  Everybody was talking and joking.  A few of us conspired to test the pack on the 3 mile dirt section to see if we could slip off the front.  The field would snap to attention each time Brad, Richard, others and I tried this.  It wasn’t going to work.  The gravel, while well packed, was pocked with washboard bumps and deep divots.  I thought for sure my dainty Velomax wheels were going to buckle under that kind of abuse.  They didn’t.  Baby Gap (the first portion of App Gap before the brief descent) was uneventful.  We pretty much stayed together.  Then the final assault of the day begins, the last 5km up App Gap.  This approaches 20% grade for the last kilometer.  With a few km to go, we overtook our pace car and feared we’d be penalized.  Apparently many pace cars were backed up on the gap since we caught up to other fields.  We pressed on, with me taking the lead.  At first, there were five riders that hung on.  I pressed on, reaching the 1km marker leading the race.  Now only three riders are on.  I press on, passing the 500m marker still at the front, now with only two other riders on, the yellow right on my wheel.  The third rider faded, so with only 100m to go and still climbing steeply, the yellow jersey came around me and went for it.  I had to stay within two seconds of him to claim lead pack finishing points.  I came in second, 1 second back.  This put the third rider to cross the line way down in points for falling away from the leaders.  Where the intensity came from to stay with Fred is beyond me.  It took a long time gasping for air at the top before I could talk.  This result bumped me up to a solid second position in the GC.

2/82 starters (76 finishers)

118 points out of 125 possible

1 second back, approx 3:13:13 race duration

63d)  Burlington Criterium.  A 24 laps, 14.4 mile downtown crit with six sharp turns and some climbing per lap.  Described as very technical with high speed descent into sharp, bumpy turn into gentle climb to finish.  Legs were totally trashed when I got up.  I couldn’t even straighten my right leg, as I pulled a hamstring ligament during the previous day’s climbing.  Had to stop for more Ibuprofen on the way to Burlington.  After watching the Citizens race, I was stricken with fear.  They weren’t that fast, and the course looked hairy.  Hay bails stacked at all the corners didn’t help matters.  I was either going to thrive or die on this course.  I got a good warmup in, trying desperately to loosen my sore leg up.  Mostly light spinning, but a few good intervals just before my start.  About 45 minutes in all.  The one thing that was going to save me in this crit was they call the leaders to the front of the line.  I picked a spot front and center when they announced my name.  The race begins, neutral through the first few turns, then the BMW pace car opens up.  Talk about hold on and pray.  The pace car squealed tires around the corners to stay ahead of the pack.  This was all out sprint for the first several laps, and Fred in the yellow jersey was doing all the punishing up front.  I stayed in the top few spots for the whole crit, getting out of the way only for the sprint series laps 15 and 5.  Lap 10 was a sprint for GC points, so to protect my #2 position, I had to go for it.  Two guys were close enough in points to knock me down to third or even off the GC podium.  Turns out I took 2nd in the GC sprint, edging out the two that could hurt me.  This was a real confidence booster.  Not only was I surviving a crit, I was able to participate.  With about a lap to go, the yellow jersey came up front again, and I latched on.  That is exactly where I wanted to be.  I now had enough points to clinch 2nd GC and just had to finish with the leaders, no matter how far back.  Fred maintained such a pace that only one sprinter came around the two of us for the win, leaving 2nd and 3rd to Fred and I respectively.  Giovanni took 4th, nearly passing me on the line.  Much of what took the edge off racing this crit was following Fred’s wheel.  He is super smooth with his lines and accelerations.  I took good notes and followed his lead.  I bet things were much hairier further back.  I stayed in the top 5 positions for 95% of the race, relinquishing the lead when I inadvertently took it.  Jason, who watched my field race, said it very quickly got pulled down to 25 riders or so.  This race was hardly a sprinters race.  It was more akin to a 35 minute time-trial spewing riders off the back on each lap.  The pace was so high much of the time, you could not afford to get out of the slip stream to advance on the pack.  There was the right mix of turns and hills to keep the heartrate exceedingly high.

3/71 starters (32 finishers not pulled)

116 points out of 130 possible

Same time as leader, approx 35:12 race duration

Recap:  In a nutshell, the prologue was the most disappointing, as I expected to win or at least podium.  The first stage outcome was pleasant, as I survived a sprinters race without losing much ground in the GC and avoided the crashes.  The second stage was most important, and one I knew going into this race would be my pivotal day.  Placing second here moved me up to the GC podium.  I also enjoyed the second stage the most.  No tension in this race, as the mountains really thinned things out and there weren’t 80 guys jockeying for that perfect position for sprint points.  Ironically, my most satisfying stage was the downtown crit.  This was my most feared race, and the stage that was holding me back from doing the GMSR to begin with.  Not only did I find the crit much less scary than I imagined, I seemed to thrive in it.  Finishing third here clinched a 2nd place in the GC.  I won $30 for 2nd in the road race, $20 for 3rd in the crit, and $170 for 2nd in the GC.  $220 for the weekend was about enough to cover gas for the ride home at $3.29/gal.  Total GC points were 409 for Fred, the GC winner, 386 for me, and 355 for Kevin in 3rd place.  The weekend was fabulously fun, and the whether could not have been better.  I now should have enough racing experience to upgrade to Cat 4 next year.  This will allow me to race in masters categories.  Jason also did well, avoiding a few crashes in his Cat 4/5 33-under field and experienced no mishaps.  He placed 31 in his GC, earning points in each stage.


62) Mt. Washington Hill Climb Road Race, 33rd Annual, NH

August 20, 2005.  The forecast called for chance of rain, chilly, and maybe windy.  We got two of the three.  The rain held off until nearly everybody finished the race.  After a so-so night’s sleep (maybe a couple hours worth), we got to the race early this time.  Checked in, chatted with a few people, then got in a good 30+ minute warmup with a two brief intervals.  I wanted to get to the line early, as I knew Ned Overend and Tyler Hamilton were going to be there.  Ned and Tyler slipped under the line just moments before the race start, with Tyler directly in front of me.  That wheel was going to be one I could hold for about a millisecond.  There were several other elite riders there.  This was going to be a tough climb to pace myself on, as trying to stay with any number of guys in the first two rows at the line would result in certain meltdown halfway into the climb.  Last minute I decided to wear my HRM after all.  The cannon goes off without the usual countdown (nobody was ready), and I quickly get swallowed up in the stampede.  Many riders came by in the first few hundred meters.  Then I settled into my climbing zone, a pace I thought I could hold for the race.  But about 2-3 miles into it, I struggled to keep my HR there, and it’s amazing how letting your HR drop 2-3bpm results in 2-3 guys passing you just like that.  For the next couple miles, my HR stayed lower than I had hoped, and I was regretting wearing the stupid thing.  Then overall female finisher last year, Aimee Vasse, rips past me.  I finished just ahead of her last year, so now I’m thinking I’m really doing bad compared to last year.  But then came the wind above 5000ft.  This was the toughest wind I have encountered to date on Mt Washington, having missed the 2003 race.  Aimee faltered on a particularly steep switchback (called The Hairpin) right into the wind, and I passed her.  On the stretch following The Hairpin, the diagonal crosswind picked up my rear wheel and dropped it 6+ inches over when I stood to combat the wind.  Both times I thought I was going to crash.  I kept my butt planted for the remainder of this tough spot, but then my front wheel got boosted over once by the wind too.  There were extended sections straight into the wind, which I estimated to be gusting well over 45 mph.  The observatory was reporting gusts only to 32mph at the summit building, but every rider that I spoke to said the wind in a couple sections was way, way higher than that.  Last year the reported wind gusts were over 50mph, yet the wind was far more severe this year.  32mph wind doesn’t lift your bike off the ground.  Many smaller riders got blown over.  At the awards, Aimee told the audience that when she was blown to a stop on The Hairpin, she couldn’t get started again until she went down to a less steep, less windy spot.  At least this year it was dry and the gravel was very well packed.  Had it not been for the wind, Aimee would likely have crushed her time from last year, and put a couple minutes on me as well.  As I approached the summit area, I started to get a one last gasp boost.  I passed three riders in the last couple minutes of the climb.  If there hadn’t been solid rows of spectators on the switch-backed 22% pitch to the top, I would not have known where to go.  The visibility was the lowest I’ve seen at the summit.  It was very moist.  Condensation was being ripped off everything by the wind.  The temperature at the summit was 48F with a 39F windchill.  I even felt bits of sleet hitting me.  This coupled with steady 30+ mph winds made it downright cold in wet spandex.  I finished better than last year’s mud slog, but slower than my PR I was hoping to beat.  25th overall is my second best.  Of course, Tyler won it by good margin, but he did not beat his previous PR.  Ned came in 4th, but in 55:21 at age 50 (it was his birthday even, and he raced plate 50!) he shattered all kinds of course records.  This was Ned’s first crack at Mt W.  I had planned to MTB in N. Conway after the awards banquet, but steady drizzle with intermittent heavy rain moved in as we drove down the Rock Pile.  As usual, this event went off as a first rate production.  Everything was well coordinated, the food was excellent, the race start, finish, and awards well MC’d.  This race is the pinnacle of the hillclimb season in the Northeast, and it has become a gathering of the devout.

Time: 1:09:32 (18:21 back overall)
4/140 40-44 Male
25/561 Finishers Overall

61) Mt Agamenticus Time-Trial, 2nd Annual, USCF, S. Berwick, ME

August 14, 2005.  Hard training week going into this race.  Wicked hard Wednesday night Exeter Cycles ride, then hard lunch MTB ride on Thursday.  Went easy Friday and Saturday, but still had sore glutes and hamstrings Sunday morning before the race.  Maybe yard work on Saturday did this.  With a late 10:42 starting time, I was able to get in a good warmup.  It was hot inland, but the wind seemed to be coming off the ocean so it was cooler in S. Berwick.  Riders went off every 30 seconds.  I go off into the stiff headwind for the first 3-4 miles.  Didn’t expect beating last year’s time in rain with tailwind.  I pass first rider on flat part.  Then a modest climb begins, maybe 200ft vert, before the course loses the vertical on a hill that turns to stony washboard gravel.  You hit this stuff wicked fast, 30+ mph, and think you are either going to vibrate right off the road or flat.  I did neither, and in fact kept the power down.  I passed another rider at a scary speed differential.  The gravel road was closed to oncoming traffic this time, so we could take the whole road to find the best bits.  The fast gravel gives way to steep climbing gravel.  The first 200ft of the 500ft finishing climb is on dirt.  The 23mm tires would slip if I stood, so this had to be handled the seated spinning way.  Passed another rider on this part.  When pavement is reached again, the left is taken to the summit.  Here another 300ft is gained, at times approaching 14% grade.  I used my granny for this.  Most others had standard road gearing.  I finished 15 seconds slower than the year before, which I didn’t think was bad considering the unfavorable wind this year.  Most of the Boston Scientific elite and masters teams were there as well as other very fast guys.  Race was extremely well organized with many volunteers at all the right places.  Won a $50 gift certificate for Wheel Power bike shop in Exeter.

Time: 23:10
2/35 35-44 Male (8 sec back)
11/89 Men Overall

60) Bow Road Race, USCF, Bow, NH

August 7, 2005.  My fifth real road race on a perfect day.  I decided a few days earlier to do this race the day after Equinox in preparation for the Green Mountain Stage Race in a month.  There, the prologue is a monster climb, then circuit race the next day.  For Bow, I signed up Cat 5, 35+.  After reviewing the course profile online, I thought this would be an easy win with fresh legs (a climber’s course).  But my legs weren’t going to be fresh, so I didn’t really know how it would go.  Course contained a big 500ft climb per lap, with 893 feet total climbing per lap.  Cat 5’s do three 10.6 mile laps, and my start time was 8:40am when it was still nice and cool out.  I did a very light 4 mile warm-up doing laps in the parking lot.  The first lap of the race was uneventful, very easy pace.  Then on the climb beginning the second lap, two guys from the same team attack on the steepest part of the hill and draw a gap.  I was feeling ok, but I had already picked out where I was going to go for it about 3 miles out from the finish on the last lap.  But these guys were strong, and I figured what he heck, I’m here to race, so let’s see what they got.  I came to the front of the pack of 50+ riders and chased these two down before the top.  I thought I was bringing the whole pack with me, but to my surprise, only two others came with me.  So now we’re 5 riders well off the front with miles of rolling downhill and almost two laps to go.  I asked the two that attacked if they were going for it, they said yep, so I went to the front to work.  We held the pack off on the rolling descent, sometimes only 20 seconds back as the motorcycle escort would inform us.  But one of the guys blew a sharp left turn (fortunately just mowed grass, no crash) and never got back on.  Now we had 4.  Then there are a couple more small climbs to the start/finish where I think we dropped another rider, so now there are just three of us with a whole lap to go.  Coming through the finish area and beginning the 500ft climb, the two riders I was working with had trouble staying with me.  I slowed a few times to let them get back on.  But I was worried that the advantage we had was quickly dwindling, and we lose time to the pack on the descent.  So I took a gamble and went for it alone.  I got as much time on the remainder of the climb as possible and tried not to blow up on the long descent with 8 miles to go.  Now I had my own personal motorcycle escort behind and a car in front.  Really cool I thought in my anaerobic daze.  Every couple miles, the escort would let me know my time split, but I was nervous and kept looking back anyway.  After the race, the escort kindly talked to me about this, said no need, and every time I look back I wavered in my line.  I’ll be more trusting next time.  But anyway, I never saw the pack again, and after the last two or three small climbs back to the finish area I had a sizeable lead on those chasing.  I do like finishes where you can just roll through for the win.  In sprint finishes I have to get out of everybody’s way.  This was my most fun road race.  Did some real racing and had to work hard a long time for this win, unlike the Monson win a few weeks earlier.  I did get called a “sandbagger” at least 20 times before and after this race though.  USCF rules require 10 races experience to upgrade to Cat 4.  I now have 5 and a few Loudon training races, so I’m close.  After Green Mountain, I’ll be set.  I could petition for upgrade now, but although I’m strong for a Cat 5, I’m still green as a road racer.  Still nervous as heck shoulder to shoulder in corners or on descents.  Don’t want to crash.  I have never crashed on a road bike.  Jumping from five Cat 5 races right into a Master’s race would be a shock I’m sure.  For today’s effort I won a pair of Verdestein Fortezza Super-lite tires valued at $50 each.  After the race, I had planned to ride out to summit of Mt Kearsarge and back with Jason, a 56+ mile round trip.  Jason was cooked having also done the Equinox climb with me the day before and decided not to go.  Dave Penney came with me instead, but due to my legs being cooked too and time constraints, we did a pleasant Warner out and back at conversation pace for 40 miles total.  Including the race and warm-up, we did 76 miles for the day in about 4 hours.

Time: 1:27
1/42 Cat 5, 35+ (won by 50sec)

59) Mt Equinox Hillclimb, 2nd Annual, Manchester, VT

August 6, 2005.  Two-day race weekend, so was extra careful tapering for Equinox this year.  Legs felt good warming up, temps were ideal, skies were clear.  Did a somewhat brief 6 mile, 20 minute warm-up.  New for the climb this year was a $500 cash prime for fastest first mile.  After seeing some of the fast names this drew in, I decided not to go for it and just enjoy the climb and go for good overall finish.  I went off with the first wave of 29 and under and Top Notch (<50 minutes last year) riders.  Many guys bolted at the gun, and I just watched.  I was still in view of the three or so riders duking it out for the first mile.  I passed several guys that gave up before the first mile marker, and a couple more after it.  Then I held my place for the remaining 3+ miles of the climb, with at least one rider never far behind or in front of me.  My heart rate ran low for much of the race, dropping as low as 166bpm.  Only towards the end did I get up much above 170bpm.  With a finish almost a minute slower than last year, I was a little disappointed.  I did not expect to do as well as last year, as I felt that was a stellar effort.  But a whole minute slower was a big lump to swallow.  I did eat a monstrous meal late the night before at The Old Tavern in Graffton, VT.  This was from last year’s winnings from this race, a gift certificate for two.  One of the fanciest places I’ve eaten at, and the food was incredible.  Perhaps the theobromine stimulant in the ultra rich chocolate lava cake kept me awake at night.  I tossed and turned all night in our warm room at Stratton, and doubt I got much more than 30 minutes of actual sleep.  How this impacts one’s performance is hard to say, but it can’t be good.  Overall I thoroughly enjoyed the weekend and camaraderie of hillclimbers.  Good food the night before the race, good barbeque after the race, and I took home some swag.  For placing in my category, I won a quality Ibex wool jersey valued at $115.  Don’t see too many riders wearing wool anymore.  I’ll have to give it a try.  Supposedly wool can actually help keep you cool in heat.

Time: 43:03 (4:20 back)
3/39 Men 40-49
9/150 Finishers Overall

58) Mt Ascutney Hillclimb, 6th Annual, Ascutney, VT

July 23, 2005.  Near perfect day.  Just a tad warm for an overheater like myself.  Just right for most.  I had hoped to break 30 minutes, as I failed to finish in less than 30 minutes in two previous training climbs.  PR set in 2004 is 29:16.  Did about a 6 mile warmup, moderate intensity with one good sustained burst.  Legs felt good, but continuing recent trend of low HR relative to effort.  All pre-registered 35-44 year olds went off in second wave.  I popped off front like usual, and this time I stayed there for the entire climb.  Couple riders clung to my wheel for first mile or so.  Felt pretty good during the climb, but ran much lower than usual HR.  Finished in 29:26, 10 seconds slower than my PR last year.  Very happy with the result.  Turns out another rider in my age class registered same day as race, so he was placed in a fifth wave.  He finished much quicker than I, so I ended up second for age class.  A 17 year old took the overall win - very impressive.  Kerry Litka set a new women’s record at 31:40, crushing her own record from the year before.  I used my Trek 5900 with 34:32 minimum gearing.  Bike now has custom chain minder to ward off those dreaded big ring to bottom bracket chain drops.  There is one stretch on Ascutney where big ring is needed.  Last year I didn’t dare use it and spun out in 34t granny ring.  After Ascutney race, Jason, Glen and I did a big Green Mountains ride, including 9% dirt Shrewsbury Rd climb, giving 88 miles and 7000+ feet climbing for the day.

Time: 29:26 (10sec slower than PR)
2/67 35-44
10/184  Overall

57) NH Cycling Club NHIS Training Series, Loudon, NH
June 30, 2005. Oval course.  First time on NASCAR 1-mile main oval.  Rode with B’s to provide lead-out support for Jason who struggled on oval week before.  Temps dropped to reasonable, stiff headwind on turns 1/2.  A’s and B’s did 30 laps, every third lap for points.  First couple points laps I lost Jason on leadout, others grabbing my wheel instead.  Being my first time teaming like this, I found it hard to be correctly positioned in time for the leadout, which made it almost impossible for Jason to stay on my wheel behind me.  After a few attempts, we did a couple laps where we got it right.  We’d stay to the outside where I was forced to take some wind, then with half lap (half mile) to go, we’d take off.  Being a strong time-trialer, the pack let us go that early thinking we’d have no chance.  But twice we drew huge gaps, getting Jason a first one time and a second another time when a third guy jumped on Jason’s wheel for the ride to the line.  Jason got 6 points for the night, bumping him back up to 2nd in the B’s points standings.  I got 6 points too, but points were not my objective for the night.  We lapped the C’s two or three times, but the A’s never caught us (they usually do catch the B’s).  Wicked fun, and I provided huge leadouts for 9 of the 10 sprint laps.  Each leadout was a VO2max effort, reaching 95-99% MHR on most of the sprints.

B-race: 6 Points

Time: 1:11:20, Avg Speed about 25.3mph

56) Cyclonauts Road Race, USCF, Monson, MA

June 18, 2005.  Did this race totally on a whim.  Forecast was for cool, potentially wet weather.  I decided to try it after getting up early and checking online that precip was moving out.  My goal was to get a good training ride in and gain race experience for upgrade to Cat 4.  Having done intervals on Wednesday, which went terrible due to a lingering head cold, I really didn’t plan on being a contender in this race.  I did not warm up before the race, anticipating a slow start.  Temp was cool, just above 60 to start.  Raced with the 30+ Cat 4/5 group, around 70-80 riders to start. I sat in first 48 miles of this race, at times heart rate falling below 100bpm on the descents.  The course heads out about 10 miles to a ~23 mile loop that is done twice.  The finish is not at the start, but out on this loop part way up a fairly steep climb.  It was nice to ride through the finish first to set up some strategy, even though I wasn’t planning on doing much.  During the last 8 miles of the race, things heated up.  Many times riders, usually not more than two, would go off the front.  It seemed one time a solo flyer got away with his team very effectively blocking.  I was boxed in further back, unable to get out.  Very frustrating.  I eventually got through this blockade, about the same time we overtook the under-30’s.  The lone flyer was reeled in.  I stayed with the front few guys for the rest of the race, often out in front for extended periods of time, but the pace was not hard.  I did not want to get boxed in again.  Despite hurting from intervals on Wednesday, sitting in much of the race left my legs feeling pretty decent.  Finally we reach the right-hand turn that commences the 305 foot climb to the finish.  The climb goes something like this (per Polar altimeter data):  About 200 feet are gained in the first half mile or so, and then the climb tapers off to almost being flat, but still gaining for half a mile.  Then with less than 400m to go, the climb gains another 100ft of vertical at a very steep pitch.  My plan was to not drop the pack up the first steep part, to relinquish the lead and draft on the flat if the pace was high enough to keep the sprinters at bay, then pop on the last steep part.  This was the advice racing sage Keith gave me prior to the race.  The plan worked marvelously.  I was able to draft two riders at very high pace on the flattish part.  I doubt I could have pulled at that pace (25mph slight uphill) AND then sprint the last 400m at a steep pitch for a win.  As we came out of the flat part into the final steep part, the lead guy was spent.  Gio in second got the same draft I did in third.  Gio takes off.   Now I’m totally redlined, thinking that second ain’t so bad when I came to this race with no expectations.  With about 100m to go in pure hillclimb mode, Gio faded ever so slightly.  I kept the power up, drawing a comfortable gap before crossing the line at 185bpm, my 100% max HR.  Being my fourth road race, I’m learning when it’s important to be at the front and when break attempts should be addressed.  At Sunapee a couple weeks earlier, I was chasing everything, as I was hoping to win, and I was dead by the finish.  Not much sticks, so it’s better to just sit tight and save it for the end if going for a win.  Almost felt guilty taking this win because it seemed like I did so little to earn it.

Time: 2:28:28
1/68 Men Cat 4/5 30+

55) Whiteface Mountain Hillclimb, 4rd Annual, Wilmington, NY
June 11, 2005.  It seems every season I have to have at least one bad race.  Well, I hope this was it for 2005.  24 hours before race start, I came down with a cold.  To make matters worse, it was predicted to be extremely hot race day, probably around 90F at race start, extremely humid, and chance for thunderstorms.  I fair far worse than most in the heat.  Given this double whammy, I debated not even driving 5 hours for this 1 hour sufferfest.  But I figured I paid for the race, paid for B&B, so I might as well head over and do it.  My expectations warming up for the event were very low.  I was more worried about the heat than being sick.  I did a very light warm up so as to not raise my core temp before the big climb.  I lined up mid-pack with the 40-49 year olds.  Our wave goes off 10 minutes back from first wave.  It took me 30 seconds or so to work my way to the front.  It was easy to pop off the front.  After a half mile or so of holding a big gap, I thought to myself that there weren’t any strong riders like last year that hung on to my wheel in the wind.  However, as I made my way up towards the toll house, first one rider comes around, then another.  My HR was continuing to climb, but I could tell my pace was slowing.  The heat was doing this.  In a lab environment TT study I did at UNH this winter, I learned I can reach dangerously high core body temp in as little as 20 minutes in 95F heat at low humidity.  The conditions today were worse than that.  After passing the toll house, one more rider in my age group passed me, but there were no more after him.  By now I was passing numerous 30+ age riders who started 5 minutes earlier.  I settled into a thermally limited pace for the rest of the climb and comfortably held onto 4th place in my age division.  Based on early season benchmarks, I anticipated beating last year’s PR of 50:26 on Whiteface by at least 30 seconds, with a slight chance this could give me an overall win.  50:26 was good for 2nd overall last year with that tough wind.  No wind tonight, but the heat was a far bigger factor than cold wind was last year.  As I approached the summit, thunder and lightning were getting scary close.  Many riders had to finish with spectacular lightning going on.  Never rained hard on the mountain, but spots near the bottom got wet.  I chose the safety of a metal shield around me, not one propped under me like a lightning rod, for the descent.  Driving down instead of riding down was a major disappointment.  A few brave souls did ride back down.

Time: 54:04
4/78 40-49
12/206 Overall (5:52 back)

54) Lake Sunapee Road Race, USCF, Newbury, NH

May 21, 2005.  Forecast was iffy with cold temps and rain, but the rain held off.  Starting temp was just above 50F.  The Cat 4/5 race ran two 23 mile hilly laps around Lake Sunapee.  There were likely over 90 riders starting in the field.  First lap was uneventful, other than a solo break was away most of the first and part of the second lap.  My legs were still tight from a hard 50 mile training ride on Tuesday, then hard singlespeed ride on Wednesday.  Things started to heat up a bit in the second lap.  The return trip around the lake and the final approach to the finish had tail wind.  Many attacks and counter attacks went on during the last several miles.  I made sure to stay near the front so I wouldn’t miss any good opportunities.  Being only my third road race, I was quite surprised to see how hard and well organized many of the guys up front were working.  No body got away.  Coming into the rotary before the final climb to the finish, I was leading the pack with one guy 10 seconds or so off the front.  However, I was cooked at this point by making sure I didn’t get left behind during any of the break attempts over the last 10 miles.  Going into this modest hill with a flat section part way up in a full field sprint is not my way to win a race.  The sprinter types very quickly blasted past me.  My plan going into the race was to take off well before this point, but seeing the futile attempts of many other strong riders discouraged me from trying the same.  Finished in lead bunch over the line, as pack really got strung out in last mile.  Not sure what I could have done differently.

Time: 1:52:58
22/77 Men Cat 4/5

53) Watershed Wahoo, EFTA New England Championship Series #1, Auburn, NH

May 15, 2005.  It was supposed to rain the night before and day of the race.  The rain never materialized until nearly everybody was off the course.  Course was even dusty during the mass starts.  Having properly tapered for this race, I felt good warming up 20 minutes before start time.  Temp was in low 50’s, a little humid, which was perfect for an over-heater like me.  The Senior-1s go off first, the Senior-2s a minute later, then the Vet-1s and Vet-2s in the next wave.  The recent creation of separate Vet 1/2 categories put me in Vet 2, being 42 years old.  As usual, I was timid on the messy 300ft descent and fell back to mid pack.  This results in a 15 second hit worse case.  Problem was, starting with Vet 1 and 2’s together made it hard to tell who I needed to stay ahead of.  Some of my competition was now in the younger Vet 1 category, but I generally go for overall place anyway.  Plus, we immediately began overtaking the slower Senoir-2s, making it impossible to tell who was who.  I rode with my Polar S725 HR monitor this time, so I let it be my pacing guide.  I kept the intensity constant and just kept picking riders off, having no idea if others in my category pulled away or not.  Half way around the last lap I still felt strong, so I picked up the pace a bit to use what I had left.  My legs immediately retaliated with some “you can’t do that” cramping warnings.  I kept the power where it was at up the 300ft grind to the finish.  I was somewhat surprised to find a couple of my toughest competitors not already up there.  It was just starting to sprinkle as I finished.  It then rained harder for 30 minutes or so, then back off for the awards.  Very strong expert field was present, including Ben Moody, Noah Taylor, and Jon Hamblen.  Also racing from BAE Systems was Steve, Mike, Randy, Emily, and Rob.  A good race day.

Time: 1:45:09 (new PR for this course)
1/12 Expert Vet2 (42-49) (won by 1:40)
9/64  Overall Expert Men

Ski-5) Rangeley Lakes Loppet, Rangeley, ME

March 5, 2005.  44.4km freestyle.  Very cold overnight left my skis a bit slow for the race start.  I started on the line this time, as I was in the second wave.  My double pole abilities were lacking, so I still fell back on the long uphill double pole start.  Once on the trail, I quickly settled into a groove.  However, by the time I hit the second large climb, my asthma was giving me serious trouble.  Felt like I had a gorilla sitting on my chest, things were so tight.  The combination of cold air and extremely low humidity was the root cause.  These conditions are the worst for those who suffer from exercise induced asthma.  I backed way down.  Had no choice.  I finished the first lap suffering this way and skied much of the second lap at reduced capacity.  Many skiers passed me during this period of time.  With about half a lap to go before finishing, my lungs started coming back around and I picked up the pace.  The snow temp was coming into my wax temp range too.  With a couple of crashes right in front of me, I picked up a couple spots in the last few kilometers.  I finished strong, putting good distance on the several guys that were right behind me.  Overall a disappointing result, but this course was not “killer” like Sugarloaf or Lake Placid.  I learned after the race a female competitor was forced to drop because of asthma.  The sunny but breezy day was perfect for the race.

Time: 2:54:59 (50:00 back overall)
12/20 Male 40-44

105/166 Overall

Ski-4) Weston Training Series, Weston, MA

February 22, 2005.  6km freestyle at night.  Some recent snow left the course fairly soft, and just a tad thin in a couple spots.  This time highest points skiers were seeded first, putting me at the back, having done only one race out of the series.  Also, due to recent starting difficulties, we were required to double pole over the starting hill.  Tough.  Was stuck behind a bulge of skiers for two full laps before I could work around them.  I then opened up, stringing out the pack of eight or so skiers, one staying right on my heels.  He stayed there for the remaining two laps, and I was redlined like never before.  Thought for sure I’d blow up before the end, but he didn’t have enough to come around me for the sprint finish.  Five skiers finished within eight seconds behind me.  Averaged 174bpm heartrate for the race, maxing at 182 crossing the finish.  Analyzing the Polar S725 data that evening, I noticed my heart rate plummeted 82 bpm in 45 seconds, 61 bpm in 10 seconds after stopping.  Did a total of 40km that evening with Arvid, which was many laps on the 1.5km course.

Time: 0:20:17 (3:15 back overall)
15/39 Overall

Ski-3) Sugarloaf Marathon, Sugarloaf Mtn, ME

February 12, 2005.  46km freestyle.  Snowed for 36 hours before this race, dumping 20” of new snow on the course.  The groomers worked all night to pack it down, but the new snow didn’t have enough time to firm up.  Brett and I hit the racer’s pasta dinner Friday night before the race.  Ate way too much, as the pasta and bread were very good.  Likewise race day morning, the Diamond Corner B&B breakfast was custom made for an endurance event: baked oatmeal with yogurt, plus a side dish of granola oats/cranberries.  Very good stuff.  Temperatures ranged 17-25 during the race, and I used Fast Wax Tan HF over Swix Violet.  Partly sunny skies, and a bit breezy.  Skis were slower than some, faster than some.  After a brief, low intensity warmup, we (all 25k/50k/men/women) line up on a lake.  One giant wave goes off, I starting in third row.  Big mistake.  There were several bottlenecks where the race literally became stop and go.  First one coming off lake onto narrow trail, then each steep pitch for the first few kilometers.  Eventually I pass numerous skiers and it thins out some.  I settle in with about 4 other guys moving at a pace I felt comfortable with.  Then we hit “the wall.”  500 feet of climbing, nearly monotonically, and steep.  Two of the guys dropped, one split off the front, and the last I stayed with on and off the rest of the race.  His skis were wicked fast on the descents, so he’d pass me, but then I’d take him on the next climb.  This went on for good part of the race.  Then on the wall second time around (two 23km laps), he drops me as I start having groin muscle spasms.  I backed down, drank a lot of Gatorade from my Camelbak, recovered some, then began picking the pace back up for the last 5-6km.  My goals for this marathon were to not finish last in age class, and to finish better than 3.5 hours.  I was pretty sure guys in my age class were well behind me, so I had that covered at this point, but the 3.5 hour goal was looking grim.  I picked the pace up as much as I could without cramping.  Within 2km to go, I saw the guy I was trading places with much of the race ahead of me.  I was gaining on him fast.  Nearly took him at the finish, where he came through 8 seconds ahead of me.  So I just squeaked in under 3.5 hours, and 4 guys my age finished behind me.  In fact, a whole pack of skiers came through only 4-6 minutes behind me.  Overall, this marathon went much better than Lake Placid a year earlier.  Felt good enough the next day to do a 1.5 hour tandem ride with my wife.  My finishing time relative to the overall winner was much better than last year too, taking almost 3/4 of an hour off the difference, and this was a slower race due to conditions.  Total climbing for 46km race was about 3,700 feet per GPS and new S725 heart rate monitor/altimeter.
Time: 3:26:38 (51:44 back overall)
10/14 Male 40-44
39/72 Overall

Ski-2) Weston Training Series, Weston, MA

February 1, 2005.  7.2km freestyle at night.  First time to Weston.  With abundant snow, everything was open and groomed, although Arvid and I stuck only to the 2.4km course.  Did a few laps with some intensity as a warmup.  Still feeling my legs from a brutal ski two days earlier at Northfield with Brett.  But heartrate was responsive to effort, so felt good to go for short race.  I lined up most of the way back, not knowing what to expect.  The CSU and other guys there looked pretty serious, so I didn’t want to get in anybody’s way.  Sold myself short, but I didn’t care.  Horn goes off, and we double pole about 100m.  Then guy in front of me completely loses it, skiing out of control, flailing poles all over the place.  Guys were screaming at him.  He did this two or three times as we crested and went over the hill.  Then on first corner, it narrows down a bit and I get a pole in front of ski and immediately go down.  Got up in about 1 second, and nobody passed me.  I begin to pass 2 or 3 people at a time on first lap, then slowly pick off stragglers on laps two and three.  Wicked fun.  Even though the course was a bit slow this night, the speeds were so high compared to what I usually do, and the HR stayed phenomenally high too.  Must have been the adrenaline.  Lining up a skier a hundred meters out, closing gap, drafting him for a hundred meters, then passing him on the next incline was real racing.  I was alone >75% of the time at my first ski race last year at Lake Placid.  Finally getting good enough to hang with a few people.  Did another 4 laps after the race at moderate pace.

Time: 0:24:35 (3:54 back overall)
22/49 Overall


******* 2004 Race Season *******
52) Mt Greylock Hillclimb Time Trail, USCF Sanctioned, N. Adams, MA

October 3, 2004.  The bad weather spell has been broken.  Heavy rain overnight cleared out of the area early enough for the roads to dry up before race start.  After three races in a row in rain or in mud following rain, I finally get a dry one.  It was a picture perfect autumn day, calm winds, a bit chilly, but brilliantly sunny.  In fact, I got sunburned (in October!).  Fall colors were just beginning to show.  After a respectable warm-up, I lined up for a 10:18am start time.  My goal was simple:  Beat last year’s time of 46:47 (in pouring rain on heavy bike) and win Cat 5.  My legs weren’t particularly fresh having trained too hard Wednesday and Thursday, and my weight was up a few pounds since slacking off after Mount Washington.  But given how tough the conditions were last year, my objective seemed quite reasonable. The first mile or so of this course is quite tough.  I quickly settled into my pace of around 168-172bpm heartrate and kept it there.  In the first couple miles I passed about 4 riders, which were staged one minute apart.  Midway up this 2800ft, 9.1 mile climb I pass another bunch of riders, including riders that started 7 or more minutes before I did.  Legs started to get tight and it became difficult to keep my heartrate up.  But after a mile or two of much flatter climbing at 20+ mph, I was ready to hammer the last half mile after railing the left turn to the summit.  I crossed the line in 45:07, taking a 1:40 off last year’s time.  I had hoped to break 45 minutes, but close enough.  Like last year, Peter Hult won it, breaking 40 minutes this time.  Also like last year, I was 6 minutes behind Peter.  Surprisingly I didn’t seize up after this climb and felt great for continuing down the south side of Greylock for a superb afternoon ride.  This loop climbs past the Jiminy Peak ski area and comes back into Mass over Petersburg Pass.  Total loop, including TT, runs 61 miles.  One of my most enjoyable road cycling days of the season.

Time: 0:45:07 (6:00 back overall)
1/42 Men’s Cat 5
8/121 Overall

51) Second Start MTB Race, EFTA New England Championship Series #8, Weare, NH

September 19, 2004.  Seems to be a pattern here – racing in remnants of hurricanes or the day after they move through.  Ivan dumped about 2.5” of rain on New England on Saturday, the day before the race.  But race day was sunny and cold, perfect for me.  The entire race course sits in flood plain with huge dam to control Merrimack River flooding.  There were two re-routes before the race started, one to eliminate the river crossing (too deep and fast to be safe), and one 30 minutes before the scheduled start as another part of the course was disappearing under rising water.  Race start was delayed 30 minutes.  The course was shortened from 26.5 miles to 20.3 miles for Sport and Expert riders, plus it contained more dirt road than past years.  But the sloppy dirt bike singletrack sections, accounting for two-thirds of the course, are what had me worried.  I don’t do well in these conditions.  The race starts on paved, then dirt road for 2.5 miles before hitting trail.  The entire Expert field went off in one wave.  Very tight pack initially, until I came up front and strung it out a bit.  Nobody else wanted to come up front and pull, so I stayed up there for much of the first couple miles.  In the woods, I quickly got passed by several riders on brutal baby head rocks.  Then things got slimy.  Lots of crashes and endo’s happening all around me.  Somehow I escaped this race unscathed.  I ran my tubeless tires very low in pressure, 32 lbs rear, 30 lbs front.  Amazingly I didn’t pinch-flat, but I sure was bottoming out the tires a lot.  Got good traction, even with the very low profile Continental Twister Pro semi-knobbies I had on.  There were giant black mud holes that you had no idea what lurked inside.  You either took a gamble and charged through or watched another rider clear it and carefully pick the same line.  The second lap was much more difficult as the Sport and Novice riders juicied things up nice.  By the end of the race, there was no exposed skin left on my legs, and you could not tell what kind of bike I was riding.  Very messy.  One story to tell.  Near the beginning of the race, I was in around 6th or 8th place when a couple dirt bikes came towards us.  Our race course was on their trails and going the wrong way on a marked dirt bike trail, but that is no excuse for what happened.  They know this race happens once a year on this state land.  This guy comes around the bend, screams “Get the f*** out of here!” at me, throttles up, and nails me.  I nearly crashed.  Later I learned that the idiot hit several people, including a female racer who went into a tree and was bloodied up from the incident.  I was not injured, just rattled nerves.  Despite this incident, I had a fun race.  I felt I could not have done much better given the conditions, so I was quite happy with my finish.

Time: 1:53:26 (3:00 back)
4/14 35-44 Expert Veteran Men
12/47 Overall Expert Men

50) Mt. Washington Hill Climb Road Race, NH

August 21, 2004.  The forecast for the Mt Washington summit for Saturday morning was dead on:  Cold, windy, and rainy.  I pretty much gave up any hope of setting an official PR today (I had set a PR of 1:07:46 in a practice climb in perfect weather a month earlier).  We got to the mountain late.  There was a long line of cars on Rt 16 waiting to get into the staging area.  I was running out of warm-up time, so I jumped out and rode bike to registration to grab number and RF tag.  Cathy continued driving up to the summit.  Warm-up consisted of about 6 miles at moderate pace with one brief interval on Rt 16, much less than I had wanted.  I shed all long layers at the starting line.  The Top Notch wave went off with the cannon about 5 minutes behind schedule, enough delay to start getting cold.  I head out with the front of the Top Notch pack, going to the right of the toll booth island.  I fell into about 12th place as the pitch ramped up.  Over the next mile or so, a few more riders came around me.  My goal was to finish in the top 20 this time around and forget about a PR with the crazy weather.  I was sitting at around 17th or 18th place for the next couple of miles when another rider passed me near the half-way point.  However, a rider ahead of me had a mechanical of some sort and was walking down.  From this point on, no others passed.  The battery in my HRM was dying, but when it worked, my HR was running extremely low, 160-168bpm, which also happened at the Mt “A” TT the week before.  But today I felt good, no asthma, and perceived effort was modest.  The first 4 miles were quite calm.  Being low on the mountain and below tree line kept the wind at bay.  Plus it’s all paved.  At 3.8 miles, I was well on my way to setting a PR with a best half-way time ever.  But near the area called “The Horn,” we ran into a vicious headwind.  Plus we had the gravel “5 Mile Grade” section to deal with simultaneously.  One climber likened the gravel surface to silly putty.  It wasn’t sloppy, but it sure had a lot of resistance as your 23mm tires made a nice track in it.  At times, the rain really stung in the face, plus my ears were freezing.  After enduring an eternity of this suffering, the surface finally turns back to pavement.  We get a couple little snippets of tailwind as the road meanders, but mostly head or cross wind.  The visibility at this point was so poor, maybe less than 40 feet.  But I could hear the crowd up top.  At one point, I almost turned into one of the parking lots when the spectators pointed out the correct direction up.  The final 22% pitch wasn’t that bad.  My strength was still good and I hammered it out of the saddle without taking the switchbacks fat.  I didn’t know just how close the next few riders were behind me for most of the second half since visibility was so poor, but I knew they were close because I could hear the spectators cheer right away again after I passed.  My HRM was too intermittent to pace myself, so I paced myself by how many seconds would go by before I’d hear cheering again.  This worked well as I stayed 43 seconds ahead of the next finisher behind me (first female finisher).  When I looked at current conditions in the visitor center, the winds were gusting 35-50mph, and the temp was about 50 degrees, not much colder than below, which is rare.  Before today, I had never finished better than 32nd overall on Washington, but today I finished 17th, a result I was very happy with despite being my second worst time.  This is also the least number of minutes back from the leader on this hill.

Time: 1:10:01 (11:11 back overall)
4/133 40-44 Male
17/538 Finishers Overall

49) Mt Agamenticus Time-Trial, USCF Inaugural Event, S. Berwick, ME

August 15, 2004.  The race organizers describe the 7.4 mile paved/gravel course this way: “Could be muddy, might be dusty, probably be bumpy...  Are you up for the challenge?  Leave your expensive trick equipment at home! No TT bars will be allowed and fragile wheels are discouraged on this scenic, quirky, and tough course.”  The remnants of hurricane Charley moved in overnight.  Not much wind, just rain.  The 1.4 mile gravel section was muddy.  I used my Dean road bike with a triple and 23mm tires.   I took the PowerTap wheel off the night before so I wouldn’t risk contaminating it with water (an earlier generation problem).  It was cool and drizzly for the TT.  During the warmup for my 8:28am start time, I noticed I couldn’t get my HR up.  Touch of asthma too.  Don’t know why, as I felt I tapered perfectly for this event.  As I started the TT, I found it extremely hard to get my HR above threshold (around 167bpm), or in other words, perceived exertion was very high relative to my heart rate.  I kept putting the power down though.  I found the first downhill section of yellowish gravel to be a bit squirrelly and backed off.  The grayish gravel beginning the 500ft climb to the summit was much more firm.  Towards the end I was able to get my HR up to 171, but I have averaged higher than this on the longer Ascutney TT.  I averaged 165bpm for the Agamenticus TT, the lowest of any TT I’ve done.  Still placed well however, but next year I’ll have a baseline to compare myself against.  This was a fun course that throws a bit of everything at you: flat pavement, rough muddy gravel, and sustained steep grades.  You could be a good flat time-trialer and get clobbered on the hill, or you could be a mountain goat and get whooped on the flat.  Mountain bike or cyclocross skills will give you confidence on the squirrelly dirt sections.  The TT was a good broad test of fitness and skill.  I saw full suspension mountain bikes, hardtails, ‘cross and road bikes on the course.  The event was very well organized, and the course was well marshalled.  Turn-out was good despite crappy weather and first-time event.  Looking forward to trying this one again next year.

Time: 22:55 (0:27 back)
1/22 40-49 Male
2/56 Finishers Overall

48) Mt Equinox Hillclimb, Inaugural Event, Manchester, VT

August 7, 2004.  After learning my lesson on Ascutney, I began my taper for Equinox a little earlier.  Legs felt fully fresh in the morning.  Temps were very chilly, probably in 40’s.  Fog enveloped the base of the mountain, clouds shrouded the summit.  Partly sunny in between.  After a somewhat brief 6 mile, moderate warm-up, I felt ready.  Lined up with the 49 and under’s.  The starting gun misfired, but we went anyway.  Like on Whiteface, I popped well of the front and I felt I wasn’t even going hard.  Maybe at mile one, Bill Emerson (overall winner) passes me.  Benoit Fradette was close behind me for much of the climb, but with a mile or so to go he came by slowly.  I was pretty near max’d out, and since 4th place guy was way back, I felt quite comfortable taking 3rd place.  The famed 28% grade section just wasn’t there, but the inside edges of the hairpin switchbacks were nasty steep.  Other than one brief downhill, the climb is a pretty steady 10-14% grind.  Just like Washington, except a little shorter, no wind, and no gravel.  The view from the ridgeline just down from the summit was spectacular.  I will definitely sign up for this one again next year.

Time: 42:09 (1:18 back)
2/23 40-49
3/74 Finishers Overall

47) Mt Ascutney Hillclimb, 5th Annual, Ascutney, VT

July 24, 2004.  Was raining when I left home at 6:30am, but was clear and drying when I got to Ascutney.  Perfect temp for hillclimb.  During warmup, I could feel my legs were not fresh.  Hard training rides on Tues/Wed were too close to Sat with only two days to taper/recover.  In first quarter mile of hillclimb, guys I thought I should’ve been able to stay with dropped me.  Couldn’t get HR up to where I wanted it for <30 minute effort.  I was not only worried about missing setting a PR today, but maybe not even finishing under 30 minutes.  The race organizers placed me in the 35-44 wave even though I requested the <30 minute first wave when I registered.  They fixed this for me before the race, and now I thought I would let everybody down.  I did manage to beat my PR by 14 seconds (and 38 sec faster than last year on same Trek 5900), but I placed much lower in both age and overall than in previous years.  This was mostly due to a number of Pro/1/2 riders showing up.  Some of the Luois Garneau guys were there, and so was Peter Hult, who set a new course record of 24:50.  Unbelievable.  This climb seemed to hurt more than I recall.  Glen and I did the post hillclimb loop out to Okemo Mtn for some more climbing action.  Set a PR here too, at 31:54.  Not that impressive unless you consider that the only times I climb Okemo are after time-trialing Ascutney.  In other words, my legs are toast by the time I ride out to Okemo.  I used my cross bike with disk brakes for this ride with 39x34 lowest ratio, but surprisingly it didn’t seem like too big a gear.  About 70 miles and 6500+ feet of vertical for the day.  My legs had nary a twitch left in them by the time we wrapped up the day’s cycling.

Time: 29:16 (PR, 29:30 in 2001)
4/48 35-44
12/167  Overall

46) Whiteface Mountain Hillclimb, 3rd Annual, Wilmington, NY
June 19, 2004.  Was rainy and warm leading up to this event.  As the rain cleared out late in the day, the temperature dropped and a nasty wind out of the west picked up.  The first 3 miles of the climb heads directly west, into the wind.  I do like cool temps, but the wind dashed any hopes of hitting a new PR.  It was rumored that it was 50 degrees with 50 mph gusts up top.  So at 5:30, the 29 and under’s go off, 5 minutes later, the 30-39’s go off, and my wave of 40-49’s 5 minutes after that.  Like last year, I bolted at the start and drew a huge gap from the pack.  Didn’t intend to, just didn’t think I was going that hard.  After about the first mile, I began to suffer driving into that nasty wind.  I looked back and freaked.  The pack of 91 other riders was on my wheel!  Thought I was doomed.  I picked the pace up a bit, taking two riders with me.  One asked if we could work together (at 9mph!), and I said ok.  But when I let him up front, the pace slowed too much.  At around the 4 to 5 mile mark, the road begins to head mostly south, so now there was a crosswind.  The climb became each rider vs. gravity.  There was no refuge in hugging another’s wheel.  So I stood up, and hammered for about 30 seconds, drawing a 200ft gap.  I now was able to grow the gap with the same effort before dropping the other two.  At this point I knew I would take first for the age category, but I would have to wait until the barbeque back at the bottom after the race to see how I did overall.  The summit was much colder than 50 degrees I think.  You could see your breath.  The wind was maybe a steady 25mph, with gusts to 40mph by my estimate.  It was so cold that race officials started letting riders ride back down before many climbers had even finished.  View from top was best yet, simply spectacular.  No speed records going down.  The wind was just too unpredictable.  Best hillclimb to date.

Time: 50:26 (PR, 51:03 in 2003)
1/92 40-49 (won by 1:39)
2/233  Overall (2:21 back)

45) The Pinnacle, EFTA New England Championship Series #4, Newport, NH
June 13, 2004. Absolutely perfect weather weekend, temps in 70’s, dry, sunny.  Rained a lot late in week though.  Decided Saturday to race Sunday morning even though I didn’t execute a proper recovery taper for fresh legs.  Thought a two-lap, 16 mile race couldn’t be that hard, it would be fun.  Took Dean Colonel with semi-knobby twister pro tubeless tires.  Lined up, feeling good about the race, not really worrying about outcome, other than I “just” wanted a podium finish.  Well, less than a mile into the race, I knew I was in trouble.  Already getting dropped by top guys in my field.  Then we hit the singletrack.  The course was about 80% rock and root infested singletrack.  Many areas had a thin film of black brownie mix thrown in for good measure.  I went over the bars once, into a tree another time.  Tore clothing, cracked helmet, and wore a hole through my newest pair of gloves.  Just brutal.  Averaged only 8 mph on this course.  After race, everybody generally concurred that the new, singletrack expanded course was wicked fun but wicked hard to race.  Nearly everybody had a story to tell.  My legs weren’t quite up to par, but even with completely fresh legs, I wouldn’t have done well.  Still a fun way to spend a perfect Sunday morning and get in an excellent workout (minus the cuts and bruises).  Took a couple days to recover from this one.

Time: 1:58:27
7/17 Expert Veteran Men (35-44)
24/62  Overall Expert Men

44) Watershed Wahoo, EFTA New England Championship Series #1, Auburn, NH
May 16, 2004. Rainy 60 degree day.  Was supposed to dry up.  Did a negligible warm-up.  Was really worried about the drive-train sucking up in mud like it did in SoCal in February.  Was worried about glasses fogging over.  After the Senior II’s took off in front of us and a bunch of them piled in right after the start, I knew this wasn’t going to be an easy race.  I never had a good race in rain.  That changed today.  The Veterans go off next.  I end up mid pack on a narrow two-track descent chock full of brownie mix covered embedded rocks.  Miraculously, nobody went down.  Slowly over the first lap I picked off the riders in my wave that got a jump.  Even passed a couple riders on the descent known as “the chute” at speeds which great bodily harm seemed eminent.  By the second lap, I had picked off many of the riders from the first two waves.  By the time I came to the chute the second time, I was by myself and no-braked the descent.  Was pure adrenaline delight.  Never mind I couldn’t see through the mud on my glasses by this point.  I let up some on laps three and four so I wouldn’t blow up before the end, but I was still having fun lapping the other riders on the course.  Maybe it was the racer being carried out on a stretcher that slowed me down.  Don’t know.  Had many close calls at very high speeds myself.  Anyway, I get to the 300+ foot climb to the finish after lap four, and I was worried I let up too much that my field would catch back up to me.  Didn’t happen this time.  Won by two minutes, setting a new PR for this course by over six minutes (in muddy conditions to boot!), and having my best overall finish in a MTB race to date.  New tubeless Continental Twister Pro’s worked very well.  The rain may have been a blessing in disguise in my case, as it knocked the pollen count and temperature down.  Asthma and heat exhaustion were factors in previous poor results.  Won a nice crystal-like award.  At the awards, Jack Chapman mentioned that three riders were transported by ambulance to the hospital. 

Time: 1:45:53 (PR for this course)
1/21 Expert Veteran Men (35-44)
4/70  Overall Expert Men

43) NH Cycling Club NHIS Training Series, Loudon, NH
May 6, 2004. Frontier course.  Small circuit, about 1 mile loop on side of hill with gradual climb to sprint line.  Couple of moderately tight downhill turns.  Did 21 laps.  First time riding in the A pack.  Very fast hold on for dear life pace.  Thought I took one of the sprints with 9 laps to go, but three guys had already snuck off the front.  Very hard to keep track of whose in front on such a small course with four simultaneous groups (A, B, C, and first-timer D groups) sprinting for points and getting strung out all over the place.

A-race: No Points

Time: 0:53:20, Avg Speed about 23.8mph

42) Rock and Road Classic Road Race, Cat 5, Raymond, NH
May 2, 2004.  Woke up, still very nice weather out, and decided to try this nearby race.  Thought maybe a no-stress race would be fun, and this time I would stick to my plan I had for Jiminy Peak the day before.  The Cat 5 Rock and Road race is 20.6 miles with about 872 feet of climbing per 10.3 mile lap.  2 miles of narrow pot-hole infested road made for some hold-on-and-pray racing.  A lively course with nice mix of rollers and turns.  Legs were trashed from racing Jiminy Peak day before, so sat in first lap.  Nothing happened.  Pace was very slow.  On second lap, one the stronger riders tested the ~40 riders in the pack on the first hill.  After he relinquished, I stepped up to the plate and led the pack at a brisk pace for most of the 2nd and final lap.  Only 12 riders stayed on, a manageable number to work on.  With less than 3 miles left to the finish and a net elevation loss, I began to worry how I was going to drop the 12 behind me for a win.  Going into a sprint with these mostly younger riders would have put me way back.  So I hammered on the next slight rise and drew a 100+ foot gap.  I maintained a 50-200 ft gap for the remaining 2+ miles to the finish, but barely.  A tailwind helped reduce the chaser’s drafting benefit.  The finish consisted of coming down a Rt 101 overpass, then making a hard left turn at 35 mph.  A little sand nearly sent me into the adjacent parking lot and did send next guy behind me off the road.  No crash, he just failed to place.  Anyway, I crossed the line first with just a second or two to spare.  $75 for this sub-hour effort was a nice reward.

Time: 0:54:50
1/38 Men Cat 5

41) Jiminy Peak Road Race, Cat 4/5, Hancock, MA
May 1, 2004.  My first real road race.  Jiminy Peak Road Race is considered a New England spring classic.  Upwards of 700 riders were pre-registered for this event.  The Cat 4/5 race ran three 18 mile laps with about 1386 feet of climbing per lap.  Nothing over 5%, and most of it is very gradual.  On this day, there was a very strong SW wind, so coming back up the Rt 7 stretch was brutal to be out alone on or out in front.  I had aspirations of winning this event.  My plan was a) sit in until beginning the climb on the final lap, b) since nobody knew me, don’t show any strength until the end, and c) then break on the climb to the finish.  When our group went off at the start, three riders immediately went on the attack.  They drew a huge, increasing gap.  I thought to myself, “if they pull this off, the best I can do is fourth.”  So I hammer off the front, mostly downhill, to bridge the gap.  I was out there forever, redlined.  I did catch them, and the four of us continued to grow the gap, but at an unbelievable expense.  I was burning matches faster than I could pick them out.  At one point, we couldn’t even see the peloton.  But I knew we were toast when we came around into that wind.  We were eaten up so quickly.  Being my first road race, I did not realize how slim the break of three’s chance was of staying away, and I underestimated the strength of 120 riders bearing down on you.  I should have let them go.  The break lasted about 9 miles, and I was cooked after that.  I overheard a couple guys talking about us in the pack, something like “those guys are done.”  I sat in for the rest of lap 1 through lap 3.  There was no way I was going to pop off the front of that group on the back 8 mile slight uphill stretch with that kind of wind.  Our speed often dropped to 16 mph!  So I waited until the final mile to the finish, the steepest part of the climb, to do my deed.  I had horrendous groin muscle spasms going on, something that has never happened before, and I didn’t think I would make it.  After passing the feed zone, I look back, and they are still there!  I freaked, thinking that the 50 or so riders still with us were just going to fly by me.  I tried to get somebody to come around, but they liked the lead-out I was giving up this modest grade.  I kept up the 180+ HR to the top, where 5 guys came around me for a sprint finish.  I had zero reserve.  Most of the other guys were quite a ways back.  Still though, leading the final charge up to the finish wasn’t a bad finish for my first road race, although if I had stuck to my original plan, the outcome might have been quite different.  Made out with $25 and a very nice mug.

Time: 2:22:57
6/80 Men Cat 4/5

Ski-1) Lake Placid Loppet, Lake Placid, NY
February 7, 2004.  50km freestyle.  My first ski race, and my most tortuous sufferfest to date.  As a newbie skate skier, I really didn’t know what I was getting into here.  There is some consensus that the Lake Placid course is the toughest 50k course on the continent.  Even the Russians protested the course in the 1980 Olympics, thus the biggest climb earning the name “Russian Hill.”  I figured, I bike 10,000 miles per year, how hard can a few hours on skis be, right?  Well, the 50k race makes two 25k passes over the course, and when I came back to the stadium area after completing the first lap, I very nearly dropped out.  I actually stopped and pondered the thought for a moment.  During the first lap, all of the waves staged many minutes behind me passed me.  Not just the fastest guys, but ALL of the skiers in each wave.  That’s how unprepared I was for this race.  I bonked horribly before completing the first lap and went into limp mode the rest of the race.  I stopped two or three times on Russian Hill.  I was so wiped out after finishing, that I hadn’t even enough energy to savor just finishing the race.  When I went into the lodge, I learned Brett had crashed bad on one of the numerous, treacherous descents, you know, where the traffic scrapes powder off down to ice, then only a nasty berm remains?  He fractured his ankle about half way through the race, but still managed to complete the race and beat me by 30 minutes!

Time: 3:48:04 (1:28:46 back overall)
10/10 Male 40-44 (3 DNFs)

62/65 Overall


******* 2003 Race Season *******
40) Iron Cross Cyclocross Race, Michaux State Forest, PA
October 19, 2003.  Touted as “the longest, toughest, baddest ‘cross race in the USA.”  55 miles through the mountainous terrain of south-central Pennsylvania.  Perfect fall day, partly sunny and high near 60.  About 80 men and women started race with two laps around classic ‘cross course with two sets of barriers, a sand trap, and some slippery, grassy, off-camber corners.  Course then went to the hills.  There were 10+ miles, mostly at beginning and end of race, of brutal ATV trail.  Many competitors on cross bikes were pinch flatting their skinny tires.  I decided last minute to bring hardtail MTB with semi-slick tires.  Turned out to be really good call.  Could never have placed as well as I did on my cross rig.  Almost certainly would have flatted and been completely beat up w/o front suspension.  The course designers touted the course would favor a cross rider on a cross bike, but one rider grumbled during a gnarly climb “and this is supposed to favor a cross bike?”  However, about 80% of the course was smooth gravel road, often delivering speeds in excess of 40mph on the descents.  Wicked fun, and just enough climbing to not give the cross bike riders too much of an advantage over an MTB rider.  Race ended with another lap and a half around the ‘cross course.  Really more of a mountain bike race than a cross race.  After very bad luck most of season, it was nice to have a race come together.  I didn’t get sick just before race, I did not flat, it didn’t pour out, and I didn’t suffer from heat exhaustion.  Took home clay “Iron Cross” award, an iron cross pint glass, T-shirt, and socks.  Trek pro rider Chris Eatough won with a time of 3:30:03.
Time: 3:49:34
5/69 Men Overall, 19 min, 31 sec back
39) Mt. Greylock Hill Climb Road Race, N. Adams, MA
September 28, 2003.  Finally get to do this grass-rootsy hillclimb.  About 32 brave souls showed up to hammer up Mt Greylock in pouring rain.  Times were a little slower than average, but I beat my practice time on a lighter bike by a few minutes.  I just couldn’t bring my Trek 5900 out there in that slop.  It was raining so hard that at one point near the top of the mountain water about 4” deep was rushing down the road.  Every time I stood to hammer, the rear wheel would slip.  I placed first in my age class out of unknown number.  Was much colder and windy up top, and had the AMC shelter not been open, I would have froze.  Had to get a ride down with some race volunteers.  Peter Hult was there, and of course, won by a large margin.
Time: 46:47
3/32? Overall, about 6 minutes back
38) Mt. Ascutney Hill Climb Road Race, Ascutney, VT
July 26, 2003.  5 seconds slower than last year on 4 lb lighter Trek 5900 bike.  Was shooting for sub 29 minute time, so a little disappointed.  Still managed 3rd for the 35-44 year old age class, and beat a competitor that beat me good on Whiteface where I had a good ride.  Nobody older than me beat me, so I shouldn’t whine too much.  5th overall is best placing to date on this hill.  Nice day for the race, nearly ideal.  Did 60 mile loop including climb up nearby Okemo Mtn after race with Joey B.  About 6500 feet of vertical for the day.
Time: 29:54
3/45 35-44 Men
5/139 Overall, 4 min, 11 sec back

37) Wachusett Mountain Hill Climb Series #1, USCF Sanctioned, Westminster, MA
July 23, 2003.  Approx. 1200 feet of climbing in 4.1 miles up Wachusett Mountain auto road.  New personal best, but by only 5 seconds with 4 lb lighter Trek 5900 bike.  Expected better.  Warm, slightly breezy, but otherwise good night for TT.  Did customary Longsjo lap after TT with second assault up Wachusett with Matt Twarog.
Time: 18:37
7/31 Overall, 2 min, 30 sec back

36) NH Cycling Club NHIS Training Series, USCF Sanctioned, Loudon, NH
July 3, 2003.  Second time to the track.  Raced on the “road” course at the NH International Speedway, the site of NASCAR races.  Stayed with the “B” category with full-blown head cold going on, a total of 15 laps for around 23 miles.  Won the points race.  Laps 3, 6, 9, 12, and 15 are points laps.  Laps 9 and 15 were double points, or 6-4-2 for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd over line.  I took lap 3 with huge solo lead, did not contest lap 6, broke away on lap 7 and took double points on lap 9 with even bigger lead, backed off a while to let pack catch up, but a chaser reached me first and said “let’s go.”  So we held a huge lead rest of race, he let me take 12th lap, I let him take final 15th lap.  Score board said I had 13 points, but they either didn’t count lap 12 due to bad crash at finish line or missed us way out front.  Will probably race with the A’s next time.  Average speed was about 24.0 mph.

B-race: Won with 13 points total

24.0mph avg, 36.5 mph max

35) Bear Brook Challenge, EFTA New England Championship Series #5, Allenstown, NH
June 29, 2003.  Finally get to race my favorite riding spot again.  Was very hot day and I didn’t know at the time I was coming down with a cold.  Was miserable race experience.  New Michelin tubeless tires did not hook up at all.  Probably ran way too much air (35F/40R).  Went down twice, bloodying up both legs.  Then heat took toll and I had to back way off.  I was in podium position before backing off, but many riders blasted past me in last half of last lap.  July 27 Postscript:  Actually was coming down with cold that degenerated into bronchitis.  Didn’t know I was getting sick during the race.  Was on antibiotics for 10 days, really putting a dent in the training plan to peak for Mt Washington Hillclimb in August.
Time: 1:57:59
6/15 Expert Men 35-44
23/49  Overall Expert

34) Whiteface Mountain Hill Climb, 2nd Annual, Wilmington, NY
June 21, 2003.  3502 feet of climbing in 8.0 miles up Whiteface Mountain toll road near Lake Placid, NY.  With an average grade of 8%, the climb is very similar to Mt. Washington, just not as steep.  Competition was tough.  Beat last year’s time of 52:10 by good margin, placing in class and moving from 12th to 7th overall.  One of the best parts of this climb is that riders are allowed to ride back down.  I hit new all-time max speed coming down the lower part of the mountain: 54.0 mph.
Time: 51:03
2/98 40-49 Men
7/253 Overall, 3 min, 53 sec back

33) Wachusett Mountain Hill Climb Series #1, USCF Sanctioned, Westminster, MA
May 28, 2003.  Approx. 1200 feet of climbing in 4.1 miles up Wachusett Mountain auto road.  9 seconds off my best time last year.  Cool, near ideal night for TT.  Did customary Longsjo lap after TT with second assault up Wachusett.
Time: 18:51
9/59 Overall, 2 min, 33 sec back

32) Watershed Wahoo, EFTA New England Championship Series #2, Auburn, NH
May 18, 2003.  Perfect 70 degree day for race.  Flatted bad first lap.  Lousy Hutchinson Python tires that screwed up my first MTB race last season bit me again.  They went in the trash.  Going to have to look into tubeless setup.  After losing 6-8 minutes figuring out whether tire was salvageable or not (1/2” gash) and then fixing it, I committed to remainder of the race, although at a less than enthusiastic pace.  Still finished mid-field at 8th out of 23.  Actual riding time was 1:46:50, which would have put me in 1st place Expert Veteran, 5th place overall.  The 2002 national cyclocross champion Jonathan Page from team Prime Alliance showed up for this race and set new course record.

Time: 1:53:27
8/23 Expert Men 35-44
19/59  Overall Expert

31) NH Cycling Club NHIS Training Series, USCF Sanctioned, Loudon, NH
May 15, 2003.  First criterium style road race.  Raced on the “road” course at the NH International Speedway, the site of NASCAR races.  Cool place to race bicycles.  Wide, smooth surfaces, and even hills on the road course which leaves the main oval.  Raced in the “B” category, a total of 15 laps for around 23 miles.  Took second in total points (every third lap is points sprint lap), won first sprint on third lap, and won the sprint to the finish with a huge gap.  Will probably race with the A’s next time.  Most of the race was quite slow, the A’s average around 25 mph.

B-race: 2nd place with 15 points total

22.6 mph avg, 34.0 mph max

******* 2002 Race Season *******
30) Mt. Washington Hill Climb Road Race, NH
August 24, 2002.  Third year on the “rock pile”.  Dubbed the “toughest hill climb in America:” 4727 ft of vertical in 7.6 miles, 12 % average grade, 22% maximum grade near top.  This year, near zero wind, resulting in both men’s and women’s records being shattered.  Title sponsor handed over two $5000 checks.  This year I geared the Dean El Diente down to a 28 front, 25 back.  I ran 30/25 last year.  Still seemed like a big gear to push, as most of my training for the past year has taken on a very high cadence.  Finished 23 seconds slower than last year.  Good climb, but just shy of the podium.
Time: 1:09:11
5/128 Men 40-44
33/537  Overall Finishers

29) Landmine Mountain, EFTA New England Championship Series #6, Hingham, MA
August 11, 2002.  Perhaps one my most unpleasant races to date.  Temps in the humid 90’s and no water on the course, again!  This was a long 28.3 mile race on a very technical course one respectable ~150ft climb and four or five lesser climbs per lap.  Experts did five laps.  I became overheated and dehydrated by the end of the third lap and nearly bagged it on the four lap when a female rider passed me.  I stuck it out though, still got a few points for 6th place.  I estimate there were 25 expert veterans at the start line, but only 15 results posted.  That’s a 40% attrition rate!  I talked to numerous riders that dropped out due to heat exhaustion.  My observation of the expert vets that beat me is that the smaller a guy you are, the less impact heat has on your performance.  If it weren’t for the heat, this would have been a very fun course to race.
Time: 2:47:35
6/15 Expert Veteran Men (35-44)
24/49 Overall Expert Class

28) Wachusett Mountain Hill Climb Series #3, USCF Sanctioned, Westminster, MA
July 31, 2002.  90 degrees and breezy.  Times were slower on average.  Mine was off 9 seconds from my best.  This was fast enough to take 3rd place though.  A couple of the faster Cat 1/2 riders didn’t show up, which always helps too.  Did customary Longsjo loop with second summit climb after the time-trial.
Time: 18:51
3/42 Overall, 34 seconds back

27) Mt. Ascutney Hill Climb Road Race, Ascutney, VT
July 27, 2002.  19 seconds slower than last year, but just squeezed out 2nd place this year over 3rd last year for the 35-44 year old age class.  Dropped one place overall to 7th place.  Nice day for the race, a little warm and muggy.  Did 60 mile loop including climb up nearby Okemo Mtn after race with another competitor.  Over 6300 feet of vertical for the day.
Time: 29:49
2/52 35-44 Men
7/151 Overall, 4 min, 20 sec back

26) All Out in Moody Park, EFTA New England Championship Series #5, Claremont, NH
July 14, 2002.  Near opposite conditions from last year’s mud.  This year: dust bowl with zero mud and no water station on course.  I became dehydrated 3/5 of the way into race and had to back off, settling for a 4th place finish.  The next morning I was still hacking up black stuff.  Other than the dust and lack of water, it was a super race, one of the most fun courses on the EFTA circuit.  No dabs for the entire race except for coming up the back side of the “gravity cavity.”  I so no one make it up that loose sand.
Time: 1:54:55
4/15 Expert Veteran Men (35-44)
15/52 Overall Expert Class

25) Whiteface Mountain Hill Climb, 1st Annual, Wilmington, NY
June 22, 2002.  3502 feet of climbing in 8.0 miles up Whiteface Mountain toll road near Lake Placid, NY.  With an average grade of 8%, the climb is very similar to Mt. Washington, just not as steep.  Competition was tough.  Lake Placid is an Olympic Training Center, and a few weeks from this race Lake Placid hosts the annual Ironman USA competition.  Several Ironman competitors, including the overall winner, competed in the hillclimb.  One of the best parts of this climb is that riders are allowed to ride back down.  Pacers supposedly controlled rate of descent, but I went 46 to 48 mph whole way down and never saw the pacers.
Time: 52:10
4/47 30-39 Men
12/169 Overall, 7 min, 8 sec back

24) Wachusett Mountain Hill Climb Series #2, USCF Sanctioned, Westminster, MA
June 19, 2002.  Took a huge 40 seconds off time from three weeks earlier.  Speculation suggests not making two mistakes (braking on only switchback, almost missing left turn to summit), slightly more favorable wind (as if that matters at 9 mph), and warming up with more intensity may have contributed to the improvement.  Seems everybody’s times were a little faster, I gained only 9 seconds on the winning time.
Time: 18:42
10/57 Overall, 2 min, 3 sec back

23) Bradbury Mountain Challenge, EFTA New England Championship Series #3, Pownal, ME
June 2, 2002.  Last year all over again.  While queuing up at the start, it thundered, hailed, and poured on us.  Rain promptly stopped, but not before turning the course into brownie mix.  Only difference from last year:  The race director had us experts do the full three-lap race.  Result was less than stellar, due in part to racing Hutchinson Pythons.  They are NOT a good mud tire.  Paramedics were busy at this race.  Lot of face plants on snotty downhill root sections.
Time: 2:46:52
5/21  Expert Veteran Men (35-44)
29/66 Overall Expert Class

22) Wachusett Mountain Hill Climb Series #1, USCF Sanctioned, Westminster, MA
May 29, 2002.  Approx. 1200 feet of climbing in 4.1 miles up Wachusett Mountain auto road.  Only 5.5% average grade, sustained sections of 8% grade.  19 minute effort makes for painful anaerobic experience.  Five minutes after it’s over, it’s time to go for a ride in hill country.
Time: 19:22
12/60 Overall, 2 min, 12 sec back

21) Watershed Wahoo, EFTA New England Championship Series #2, Auburn, NH
May 19, 2002.  Same four-lap, 27 mile race as last year.  Snowed day before, so course was very wet.  Broke away with two others from start, and dropped them after two laps.  Held first place spot for most of race.  Kept the Hutchinson Pythons that flatted in previous race (good gamble).  Tires feel like an inch of well damped suspension, great for fast gravely course.  Coming down with a cold earlier in week may have been a good thing, slowing me down just enough to fully recover from perpetual hard riding.  I won $60 for riding my bike.  Wahoo!!
Time: 1:51:54
1/17 Expert Veteran Men (35-44)
5/46  Overall Expert Class

20) Spring Boogie, EFTA New England Championship Series #1, Burrillville, RI
April 28, 2002.  Pouring rain, 40 degrees, brownie mix course.  Flatted at end of first lap.  Forgot to throw spare tube in Camelbak.  Joined two others who just flatted in same spot walking out of woods.  Appears to have been tiny puncture.  First race on Hutchinson Pythons made me suspicious though.  First mishap in 20 races.
Time: DNF

******* 2001 Race Season *******
19) 2nd Start Enduro, EFTA New England Championship Series, Weare, NH
October 14, 2001.  Very challenging dirt bike course.  Drizzly, many slippery rock gardens.  Foggy glasses and starting 90 riders back made for a tough race.  Raced Ellsworth full-suspension for first time.  Conclusion:  Not a good XC race bike.  Bottom bracket sits full 2” higher than my hardtails, making tight trail work cumbersome.  Inefficiencies in simple single-pivot design meant more work required too.  Best to reserve the Ellsworth for all-day epics, my main intent for the bike.
Time: 2:41:47
5/33 Expert Veteran Men (35-44)
12/88 Overall Expert Class

18) Vermont 50 Miler, EFTA New England Championship Series, Ascutney, VT
September 30, 2001.  50 miles with 8100 feet of steep climbing makes this the grand daddy of races in the EFTA series.  Had repeat perfect weather of last year – heavy frost on ground but warming to sunny 60 by mid-day.  Course was slower this year with more singletrack.  Took one nasty wrong turn that cost me at least five minutes.  Talked to some riders after the race that were lost for 45 minutes and dropped out of race.  Many poorly marked turns and intersections.
Time: 5:04:56
3/33 Expert Veteran Men (35-44)
10/107  Overall Expert Class
10/650 Riders Starting Race

17) Horror at Harding Hill, EFTA New England Championship Series, Sunapee, NH
September 23, 2001.  Picture perfect New England autumn day, too bad I was sick all week going into this race.  Course was in mint condition for the race, no slop like last year in drizzle. 
Time: 1:53:16
9/22 Expert Veteran Men (35-44)
24/55  Overall Expert Class

16) Big Bang, EFTA New England Championship Series, Freetown, MA
September 9, 2001.  Two wrong turns, one high-speed crash, broken rear spoke, and a broken pedal –- still took 2nd place Expert Vet (1st place finisher races pro on the NORBA circuit).  Experts did two laps for a total of about 22 miles.  Freetown State Forest is used by dirt bikes, and it’s been dry this summer.  Many miles of this course consisted of loose sand or rocks.  There were two lengthy sections of embedded baby skull rocks.  Giant daulie helped smooth it out.  There were some sections of sweet singletrack also.  Many injured riders at the finish area at this race. 
Time: 2:11:44
2/16 Expert Veteran Men (35-44)
13/55  Overall Expert Class

15) Mt. Washington Hill Climb Road Race, NH
August 25, 2001.  Second time on the “rock pile”, first time in “Top Notch” category, podium finish.  Dubbed as toughest hill climb in America: 4727 ft of vertical in 7.6 miles.  12 % average grade, 22% maximum grade near top.  Repeat perfect weather of last year. Actually a rare, clear day at summit.  Used my new Dean El Diente titanium road bike, triple ring crank with 30-tooth granny up front, and up to 25-tooth cog in back.  Six minutes better than last year’s time of 1:14:49.
Time: 1:08:48
3/92 Veteran Men (35-39)
32/528  Overall Finishers

14) The Pinnacle, EFTA Non-points Race, Newport, NH
August 12, 2001.  Four 4 mile laps.  Course consisted of 570 foot climb in 2 miles and steep descent in 1.6 miles.  Very fun course with technical climbing and descending.  No mud!
Time: 1:43:00
3/7 Expert Veteran (35-44)
10/23  Overall Expert Class

13) Mt. Ascutney Hill Climb Road Race, Ascutney, VT
July 28, 2001.  2250 feet vertical in 3.7 miles.  First 1.25 miles has sustained 19% grade sections, which were very demoralizing.  Did much better than last year’s time of 34:38.  Four pound lighter bike, four pound lighter body, no tools/Camelbak/water, and stronger legs makes the difference.  The Dean El Diente exceeded my expectations in climbing efficiency.
Time: 0:29:30
3/63  Male 35-44
6/168  Overall Finishers

12) All Out In Moody Park, EFTA New England Championship Series, Claremont, NH
July 15, 2001.  Five 4 mile laps.  Several hundred feet of climbing per lap.  Snotty, rooty, singletrack downhill.  Nice high speed jump near top of course.  The “gravity cavity” was a real hoot.  Go from 10 to 40 mph in two seconds.  Crashed into a female sport rider that stop in fear on a slippery bridge.  Finished 1 second behind 2nd place.
Time: 1:52:41
3/16 Expert Veteran (35-44)
19/56  Overall Expert Class

11) Bradbury Mountain Challenge, EFTA New England Championship Series, Pownal, ME
June 3, 2001.  Two 9 mile laps in 50 degree drizzle.  Mostly brownie mix as it rained 2”-3” in the 36 hours right up to the start of the race.  Many of the climbs on the small mountain were fights against torrents of water.  My Average speed was only 6.8 mph.  Not many people finished this race.  Many gave up after the first lap or broke stuff.  Approximately 50% of the second lap was a hike-a-bike effort.  It was just easier and faster to hike the knee deep goo in many places than try to ride it and be surprised by what lurks inside.
Time: 2:33:44
4/13 Expert Veteran (35-44)
25/47  Overall Expert Class

10) Watershed Wahoo, EFTA New England Championship Series, Auburn, NH
May 20, 2001.  Four 6.5 mile laps.  Mostly gravel two-track, 500 feet vertical per lap, FAST!  Advertised as a speedfest, I thought of it more as an anaerobic pukefest.  Finish consisted of a sprint between third place finisher and myself up steep 300 foot Tower Hill.
Time: 1:51:55
4/21 Expert Veteran (35-44)
14/58  Overall Expert Class

9) Spring Boogie, EFTA New England Championship Series, Burrillville, RI
April 29, 2001.  Four 6.5 mile laps.  Stone walls, bottomless mud pits, river crossing, and bumpy virgin singletrack made for a body pounding race.  Seemed fast, but average speed just under 10 mph.  Third ride ever on new Dean Colonel bike, first ride this season on it.  Got lucky, everything seemed to be pretty well dialed in.  Only complaint:  Ritchey Pro pedals don’t do so well in mud.
Time: 2:36:06
5/27 Expert Veteran (35-44)
22/85  Overall Expert Class

******* 2000 Race Season *******
8) Vermont 50 Miler, EFTA New England Championship Series
October 1, 2000.  Tough.  Started at 6:30 am, barely enough light, frost on ground.  7300 ft vertical, 51+ miles through mountainous central Vermont.  Either going 4 mph up or 40 mph down.  Not much in between in this race.  First race in expert class, rode my Trek 8900 hardtail with semi-slicks as most of the course is two track or gravel road.  Course designers had a sick sense of humor.  The last 3 miles of the race consisted of a 1000 ft climb up Mt. Ascutney in 2 miles with a 1000 ft descent to the finish in one mile.  I discovered levels of pain never before experienced.
Time: 5:02:24
9/35 Expert Veteran (35-44)
20/104  Overall Expert Class
21/600 Overall

7) Horror at Harding Hill, EFTA New England Championship Series
September 24, 2000.  Drizzle conditions.  Three laps for about 15 miles total.  Major mud.  Lost shoe in one of the mud bogs.  This was my third Eastern Fat Tire Association (EFTA) race and it gave me enough promotion points to bump me into expert class.  Used Trek hardtail since course was not too rough.
Time: 1:31:55
1/28  Sport Veteran (35-44)
2/95  Overall Sport Class

6) Mt. Washington Hill Climb
August 19, 2000.  Grand daddy of hill climbs in the East.  4727 ft of vertical in 7.6 miles.  12.5 % average grade, 22% maximum grade near top.  Finish in less than 1:20 puts me in the “Top Notch,” first rider wave class (with Olympians) for next year’s race.  Perfect day for race, around 60 at base, 39 at summit.  Used Specialized Allez road bike, triple ring crank with 26-tooth  granny up front, and up to 25-tooth cog in back.
Time: 1:14:49
13/100 Male 35-39
64/611 Overall

5) Hillsboro Classic, EFTA New England Championship Series
August 6, 2000.  Second EFTA race, long 32 miles with climbs from Hades.  3000+ feet vertical in mountainous southern NH.  Mix of single and two track, mud everywhere.  Organizers said it rained everyday in July except for one prior to the race.  Raced Giant dualie which served me well on the long, rocky descents.
Time: 2:43:22
1/63 Sport Veteran (35-44)
2/165 Overall Sport Class
32/441 Overall

4) Mt. Ascutney Hill Climb
July 29, 2000.  2250 feet vertical in 3.7 miles.  First 1.25 miles at 19% grade, which was very demoralizing.  Even though this race is half the vertical and distance, it is harder than the Mt. Washington climb.  This is a great practice climb for the Mt. Washington that comes a couple of weeks later.  Bonus: You can ride your bike back down the mountain here, you can’t at Mt. Washington.  Only problems I encountered occurred on the descents after a practice climb a week before the race and on race day: I blew out tires.  Rims got so hot that the cheap rim tape Specialized used melted and the tube blew out through spoke nipple holes inside rim.  This problem should now be fixed with cloth-based rim tape.
Time: 0:34:38
9/33  Male 35-44
21/90  Overall Finishers

3) Mount Snow, NORBA National Championship Series
June 23, 2000.  Second race of the 2000 season.  Sport class, two laps, 1260 feet vertical per lap.  The single track descent was brownie mix covered roots, rocks, and slosh pits.  Saw one rider take a header and nearly submersed himself and bike in a mud hole.  Never saw so many endo’s in one day before.  Raced Giant FS, which definitely smoothed out the rooty, rocky descent.
Time: 1:39:18
2/73 Sport Master (35-44)

2) Bear Brook Classic, EFTA New England Championship Series
June 11, 2000.  First EFTA sanctioned race.  24 miles of mostly single track at 10,000 acre Bear Brook State Park.  Very technical, lots of rocks, roots, water crossings, steep climbs, and fast white knuckle descents.
Time: 2:11:28
4/43 Sport Veteran (35-44)
12/132  Overall Sport Class

******* 1999 Race Season *******
1) Mount Snow, NORBA National Championship Series
August 21, 1999.  First race.  Beginner class, one lap, 1369 feet vertical per lap.  It rained all night the night before and during the race.  Mount snow is infamous for it’s slime covered roots in good conditions.  Didn’t do as well as I expected.  The result prompted me to buy a road bike and grow some legs and lungs.
Time: 0:57:02
7/45 Beginner Master (35-44)