Frame and Wheel arrives on the rolling hills of Newman Road. The field will have long sight lines and will likely be able to see Frame and Wheel. There is a tail wind which makes the work of staying away slightly less demanding. Frame and Wheel consumes some nutrition and then concentrates on keeping a steady pace. The chocolate nutrition hits the spot. Before the fast descent into Salem, Frame and Wheel looks back again and sees what appears to be the field. There is no moto advising about time gaps, and the wheel van is not lurking a few meters back, all suggesting that the field is not too far behind. The smell of manure heralds the imminent climb of Cemetery Road. It is hard work and the summit is deceptive, but at this point Frame and Wheel has stragglers from the previous race to target. This helps. Frame and Wheel has three bottles of hydration and passes through the feed zone without stopping. The spectators there offer some muted but needed encouragement.
Frame and Wheel attacks Joe Bean Hill. The logic is that the field is likely to attack here too. It is hard work and Frame and Wheel is feeling the effort. The final stages of Joe Bean seem to have increased in number since last year. Frame and Wheel is passing stragglers, but the speed is down. Frame and Wheel recovers and pushes on through dirt roads and rural scenes. The climb on Route 29 is rough and long and it seems new to the course. Somewhere at this point in the race, there is a navigational crisis: the pace car turns right at an intersection, but the arrows on the road, the riders from the previous race, the Battenkill signs and the police officer at the intersection are all pointing or going left. Frame and Wheel hesitates and feels a moment of dread, and then makes the left turn. Frame and Wheel can hear the pace car catching up with siren blaring and is expecting it to pull along side any moment and begin frantically issuing instructions to turn around. This does not happen. Frame and Wheel has thankfully delayed membership in an elite club of riders who have been led astray by their pace cars during big races.
Frame and Wheel passes the previous field and recognizes that this represents an advantage in addition to being out of sight and out of mind. Frame and Wheel is nevertheless feeling the effort and has consumed all nutrition and is getting down to the last bottle. Frame and Wheel concentrates on keeping a steady pace. Frame and Wheel passes through the feed zone area and is encouraged by the spectators. “Looking good”, “Keep it up, brother” and “Go Fred” penetrate the mask of concentration and caution. Meeting House Hill arrives. There is a long stream of riders on the road which provides motivation and additional camouflage. Frame and Wheel gets clear of Meeting House Hill in good shape and begins to think for the first time that the break might stick.
The flats in advance of Stage Road go on forever. Frame and Wheel is out of hydration and nutrition and is hoping that the various concoctions consumed are enough to hold off cramps and provide the necessary energy to get over Stage Rd quickly. The first section of Stage Road sucks ups all momentum and is a reminder of the struggle this section presented in previous years. The idea of a final surge up this road is quickly dismissed. Frame and Wheel settles down and concentrates on catching stragglers who are making their way up the climb. The descent off of Stage Road provides needed rest and exhilaration as it marks the beginning of the home stretch. The final kilometers go by so slowly. Frame and Wheel makes the final turn for the finish and pushes on until the “chute”. Frame and Wheel salutes the small crowd and crosses the line in 2:55:23 (+ 3:16). The race is over. Ron Bourgoin finishes in 10th place with the chase group andMike Claus finishes in the next group in 23rd place. Frame and Wheel is very pleased with the result and surprised that what started out as an effort to create a break away turned into a solo victory. Frame and Wheel joins Robert Lyons (Finkraft Cycling) and Roger Aspholm (Finkraft Cycling) in second and third place, respectively, on the podium, and relishes a moment of glory. Frame and Wheel is very thankful for the generosity, the camaraderie and the dedication of the OA / Cyclemania Masters Cycling Team and congratulates all of them on their great efforts during this race. Frame and Wheel is also grateful for the opportunity to compete in a great category that is characterized by such fine competitors.
|At the summit of Joe Bean|
|Go To Meeting House|
|Lyons Thomas Aspholm|
|The long road to Battenkill|