Report Regarding Bicycle Racing: The Bennington Tour Of Hidden Dragons

I’m still not clear where the dragons are, as none were seen, and we didn’t really tour anything.  ASIDE FROM THE PAIN CAVE (LOL PAIN CAVE JOKE).


A stage race is not a stage race without a TT, right?  That is what promoters think.  ACTUALLY, a stage race would be even better if there were two crits and a road race – or a circuit race, crit and a road race.  Difficult to do with the two races in one day format, but I am being an armchair promoter here.

So there was a TT, and Tim Mitchell was there, so we all know how that went.  I sold my TT bike and helmet this year, as all the thing did was sit in my bike room and hit me in the head when I tried to do something productive. I did it on my road bike, and I was faster than I was last year.  Granted, I didn’t have disco legs, so that probably helped (or DID IT?!?).  I gave it a bit of effort and it was done.

My teammates on the MetLife – NorEast Watt Factory gave it efforts ranging from honest to straight-chillin, shaking-out-the-car-dust.

I had $10 in my jersey, so on the way back to the car from the TT I grabbed some chocolate milk.  I also saw Owen Pope, and he was wearing a kilt, as he’s Owen Pope.

We had a bit of time between the TT and the crit, so we went to the coffee shop on the fourth corner to consume some tasty snacks and stimulants.  I had a colossal dinner the night before, and similarly large breakfast that morning, so all I needed was a delicious piece of fruit bread (or something of the sort) with my two cups of coffee to get me ready for business time.  Owen Pope was also at the coffee shop.

Teammate Austin Roach was wearing Crocs in public, so naturally I gave him shit about this.  I need to find him shoes that meet his needs (easy to put on) that aren’t so offensive to humanity.

I did not have two red-eyes before the crit (like I did before the UNH crit), as I did not have moving-out-of-my-apartment legs.  I also didn’t like the whole “my heart may explode” feeling that I got from that experience.

As the TT is an individual event, I didn’t fully realize the huge numbers that BikeReg/Cannondale had at the race until the start of the crit, when I was surrounded by blue, while and green grim reapers.  CCB also had about ten guys.

We got to the line, were informed that the race was shortened ten laps (YOU ARE RUINING MY RACING TO DOLLAR RATIO) because SOMEHOW the only two things that happen in Bennington per year were happening on the same day.

Last year at the crit, I had a bad startion postion, which ended up ruining my race – well, that and the two crashes that split the field and my inability to bridge across to the front third of the race because we were going 30 mph the entire time – so I made sure to line up as close to the front as I could.

Of course I botched the start and got pushed back about 30 or so guys in the first corner, and spent the next ten laps killing myself to get up to to the front-ish of the race.  Which was not easy, as, once again, we were going about 30 the entire time.  Hopefully I was away from people opening stupid gaps that I would have to close, burning PRECIOUS ENERGY (note: foreshadowing).

The race had primes every five laps – alternating sprint points/money and GC bonuses – so my brain thought that I could obviously get off the front of a crit controlled by BikeReg and CCB that was going 30 miles an hour and win a prime.

SOMEHOW my brain and my legs are poor at communicating.

So after some business came back, I punched it up the side with Peter Hurst and was going very hard for about 25 seconds, gassing myself, before looking back and seeing the ENTIRE FIELD SITTING ON MY WHEEL.

Okay, enough of that.

Later Justin Lindine got off the front, on his cross bike, and things became slightly less insane as BikeReg turned the speed down to 27 as Lindine gobbled up prime action like they were snakes in the bush of Iraq, not giving a shit.

This was nice.

He eventually came back, things returned to being really fast, and I found Ryan Fleming and Peter Bell and wanted to say “hey guys!” but we were going too fast and all of my energy was going to my legs and respiratory system instead of the speech centers of my brain.  I did not see my other teammates in the field, but instead saw them on the sidelines, looking marginally annoyed (note: this was foreshadowed earlier, as they had to close 10+ gaps in a strung-out crit…which is challenging and usually results in bike racer explosions).

blahblah, I stayed out of trouble, faded back a tad, and realized with 8 to go I should probably see if Peter Bell would like me to do anything in the final (aside from “surviving”), so I rode up to him, said “hi peter” and immediately realized I was starting to die, and if I tried to do anything for him, I’d just give him a leadout at 13 mph.

I returned to my plan of “surviving” and let the grown-ups do the work.

Fleming got all sneaky and whatnot, finishing 8th.  Things got real in the last lap, and there were some gaps, and I finished seven seconds down.

The very interesting thing is that lots of riders got pulled and placed, with prorated times.  Which is good and correct.  However, the math for the time they got seems…not correct…as a lot of people who got pulled with 20 laps to go only finished 1:30 down.  So I’m not sure how that works.

Jeremy Durrin won.  Yay for him!

I put the race on Strava, too!

We went back to Ben’s house, and we ate a bunch of food, because the next day was the road race, and it was going to be really hard.  Hard races are great because there is NOWHERE TO HIDE.

Tim Mitchell was leading the overall by a minute, so it was CCB’s race to control.  To that point, there were two incredibly impressive things that happened in the road race:

  1. Dylan McNicholas spent close to 70 miles at the front, riding tempo.
  2. Justin Lindine got off the front, solo, for about 40 miles.  Could have been more.

I, meanwhile, just tried to make it over the climbs with the front group.

I also made a point of waving at everyone who was spectating on the side of the road, and took the time to notice cool things – like a penis spray painted on a road sign!  There was also some singing of “Sex Robot“.  And I ate.  A very large amount – two Clif bars, four gels, two bananas, and seven bottles (drank fluid from the bottles, didn’t eat them, as there aren’t any calories in plastic).

Obviously I did these things until I started getting tired and things started getting ugly.  This once again happened on the second to last climb, where I got popped but was able to chase back on with Max Korus, Pat Goguen and a few other dudes.

There was one more climb left – it was shorter, but really steep, and I was a TAD TIRED at this point.  Into the base of it, Dylan finally blew up, and I did what I could to stay with the front of the group.  When that became an impossible task, I did what I could to stay with some decent dropped people…and then I just tried to keep them in sight.

I came over the top of the climb with two dudes I didn’t know (not a great sign), and started drilling.  Pat Goguen was once again in the same boat as me, and was a few seconds back with another dude, so I waited up while screaming at him to come hang out.

And he did, and now the five of us started rotating to chase – but the non-me and non-Pat guys were riding like they just got dropped 85 miles into a 98 mile road race.  So Pat and I dropped them, and we rode and rode until we got really tired, and then kept a lively tempo for the last 5 k to the finish.

At some point during this, I thought to myself “Huh, Pat is climbing about as good as me and he has a MEAN SPRINT.  This should be interesting this year”.  So, yeah, Pat Goguen is going to start destroying people shortly.

Despite getting dropped, we only finished 3:33 down, and were the first riders to come in outside of the main group – me in 16th, Pat 17th.  Austin Roach was 15th, and Landen rolled in at 28th.

The race on Strava so you can stare in wonder at how great I am at making it over 6 of 7 climbs in the main group.

It wasn’t until I was halfway home in Dylan’s car that I checked the GC results and saw that I finished 16th overall, earning me 10% of my entry fee – AKA $20.

So if Dieter Drake would mail me a check, that’d be super!  LOL.

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