Tokeneke Race Report
By Christian Verry
Race was good, sort of. I expected to get my arse handed to me, and that didn’t completely happen. I definitely got the hard day in I was looking for, and felt better than at Catskills.
It rained from beginning to end. The course was 3 laps on a 22 miles circuit with lots of punchy hard climbs. It’s a great course and makes for a very hard day. The hardest climb is the finishing one- 2.5 miles long at 5%-only because they drill it up that thing the entire time and give you plenty of reasons to implode.
First lap was hard, and the lead group climbed that thing at a ridiculous pace, but I felt good and could stay with them the entire time. We dropped ~1/2 the field after the first lap, but then slowed significantly and most caught back on. The group climbed all climbs on the 2nd lap hard, and I could feel the fatigue in my legs. The 2nd time up the finishing climb I was doing OK, until a few guys attacked at ~1.5-2K from the top where the climb mellows for a brief second (~500-600 M), and I got dropped from the group there because I couldn’t match the acceleration. It was a brilliant move and it worked on me. I watched the group slowly ride away from me as I reached the top of the climb. I then regrouped with a few other riders and we started to work a paceline to chase back on. I took a hard pull at one point, then tried to drift back right at the base of a short but punchy climb on the 1st side of the loop, and the other 3-4 guys accelerated up that hill. I was too blown to go with them from the pull I took.
So there I was trying to chase back on in a headwind to those guys and the main field. Eventually I caught back on, but I had to kill myself for 2.5 miles. So now I’m back with the front group on the 3rd lap, about a 1/3 of the way through and know that if they really want to go hard I’m screwed, as my legs were giving out on me. There are two punchy hills on the backside of the loop before you get to a screaming descent that precedes the finishing 2.5 mile climb. The first one is short and punchy, the 2nd one longer (~1 – 1.5 miles) and punchy. Between those two was a short descent, that flattens briefly, turns right, then arrives at the 2nd climb I just described. At this right hand turn was a section of recently scarified pavement that you would hit full on, at an angle, and if you didn’t bunny hop it, could take your front wheel out.
I stayed in the group on the first of the two climbs. Going into the descent I slowed before we hit that bad pavement and bunny hopped, but slowed too much, found myself at the back of the group, and had to accelerate hard to catch back on, which took me right into the base of the 2nd longer climb. The group was already accelerating up that climb and I couldn’t stay in contact, too tired from trying to catch back on after the bad road section. I got popped there for good.I finished the last 7 miles with a group of 4-5 other guys, dropping them on the final climb.
All in all I felt pretty good, but just wasn’t able to continue with those repetitive hard surges every lap. They took their toll on me, but it was much much better than Catskills.