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Tour of the Battenkill Preparation and advise

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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Tour of the Battenkill Preparation and advise

Old 02-18-20, 08:07 PM
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oik01
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Tour of the Battenkill Preparation and advise

So I am posting a bit early to get some advise to make sure I am on the right track and also because the deadline for early registration is Saturday and need help figuring out which race to enter:

Current fitness:
Relatively new to the sport. as an example went out this weekend on a hilly road near me called route 9W incase anyone is familiar. All in all I had done 33 miles with 1700 feet of elevation but was exhausted on the climbs coming back and had to stop on teh steepest one for a break ( prior to that I did make very brief stops for a pic here and there or to fix a chain that came off the bike ect). So summary is that 33 miles with 1700 feet of elevation at my current fitness brand new to the sport with a few months before the event was doable but considered challenging. Finished with teh feeling that if I absolutely had to I couldve gone on for the last 10 miles that I wouldve needed to finish if I was doing the medio. Also my pace would probably be way slower than most of the other riders? 75 miles though .... no way ... at least not now.

In any case, given the above, my few questions in order of importance:


What exactly do those feeding stations? Are they spots were you stop racing and your itme is paused or is it just handing out stuff while you are riding??

Do I register for the 42 or 72 mile version?
Goal is to finish and not necessarily be competetive: My feeling is 42 miles might be a challenge but not as much as I initially thought especially since I expect some training will make me fitter, and I will have a triple cranksette on the front by then. The 75 is way too much of a challenge unless feeding stations are a good break and the effort is much less if you are riding behind a peleton or group of riders??


Training schedule/ program suggestions?

- Current plan has been a few light indoor sessions ( 30 mins or so ) on weekdays because I work long hours and that would also help me recover. Then all out long rides outside on weekends whenever possible ... aiming to make sure its on hilly terrain to prepare for teh elevation. Is that reasonable? Any other suggestions?


Gear Questions:

- I am set on using a triple for the event because I feel like it is just a marginal weight increase but the comfort of the granny gear on the front might be a life saver when Im tired and needing to climb. The question is do I train with the triple now or stick to the standard crank during training and then add the triple as a margin of safety 1-2 weeks pre event?


Tires:

- Theres mud and quite a bit of gravel on the track. Gatorskins with tubes or do I transition to tubeless? I have been thinking of tubeless but any feedback from others who have done this race would be welcome!

Last edited by oik01; 02-18-20 at 08:13 PM.
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Old 02-19-20, 06:57 AM
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phrantic09
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Battenkill

The course is going to be rough regardless of which length you do. All of the big climbs are on dirt which makes them a little tougher and if you do decide to do the 75, you will see lots of people off of their bikes walking up the Juniper Swamp climb.

the feed areas are places you can stop and eat/fill up on water etc, it’s a Fondo, so I wouldn’t be too concerned with your time “stopping”

with tires, nothing all that special needed. The “gravel” segments are more like hard packed dirt and in May they should be pretty firm unless there’s a ton of rain beforehand. I last ran it with 25 GP4000 and never had an issue.

There are people of all abilities doing it. You may get a little sting out at times but there are always folks you can hook up with at the feed areas.

its a beautiful ride, I stopped a ton and took pics of the surroundings
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Old 02-19-20, 07:43 AM
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firebird854
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Fondo's are technically races, but the people racing it are the type of people who will do 100mi+ rides and 20mph+ for fun, and train consistently 12+hrs a week. At your current level of fitness, simply completing it should be the main goal.

*Tip* Try to stay with the main peloton until the first hill, at that point you'll probably be dropped, but will definitely not be the only one. Climb at your own pace, see who sticks next to you, and work with them for the coming distance, it is quite nice to be in a group and draft, although not entirely necessary (especially if your speed is closer to 15mph than 20mph).

Take breaks whenever you see fit, at the feed stations, between them, whenever.

Personally, I'd recommend doing the 75mi distance, you'll probably have the fitness, and if not, it's perfectly acceptable to drop down the distance partway through.

As for training, whenever you can, however you can. At your level and the goal you're trying to achieve your main objective should be distance, set a goal like 100 or 150mi a week and try to get at least one 50mi+ ride each week. Hills should be part of your training, but if I was in your shoes I would do as many long, steady, rides as I could and choose one or two days a week to dedicate specifically to hills, normally to the effect if finding a large climb (the larger, steeper, and meaner, the better) and just repeat it for the whole activity.

As for your bike, if you have a triple on it I kinda see that as a red flag, if it came with one, that tells me it's either a pretty old bike or a heavy touring bike. I'm not advocating getting a new bike, but personally, as I love hills (like really REALLY love hills) I've found that there's nothing I haven't been able to combat with a compact cankset+an 11/32 cassette.

Tires do make quite a difference, especially since gator skins are literally some of the heaviest. You'd probably be fine if you got GP5000 tubless or GP4000s tubed, or some other fast tire prior to the event, that'll be some free speed.
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Old 02-19-20, 09:25 AM
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CAT7RDR
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Are you in the area of the fondo? If yes, I would at least ride segments of it to know what to expect and build confidence. Also, you will know if your fit and equipment is fine tuned for max comfort and the terrain. You might find out a compact crank and a climbing cassette like an 11-34 is all you need.

If you are not in the area of the fondo can you plan a course that mimics the fondo's distance, elevation gain and surfaces?
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Old 02-19-20, 12:41 PM
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phrantic09
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Originally Posted by CAT7RDR View Post
Are you in the area of the fondo? If yes, I would at least ride segments of it to know what to expect and build confidence. Also, you will know if your fit and equipment is fine tuned for max comfort and the terrain. You might find out a compact crank and a climbing cassette like an 11-34 is all you need.

If you are not in the area of the fondo can you plan a course that mimics the fondo's distance, elevation gain and surfaces?
This for sure. You said you ride 9W so I assume you’re south of Albany and it’s not that far? There’s a lot of good climbing you can do right off of 9W for practice/ training.

You definitely want to ride it beforehand, but wait until the ground is firm enough where the roads won’t be too muddy. There’s a good place to park in Schuylerville where you can ride up a hill on 29 and essentially be at the start of the Fondo.

agree with the above on a compact crank and 34 tooth rear- that should be plenty for the climbs.

Do the 75, you’ll be happy you did.
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Old 02-19-20, 12:54 PM
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oik01
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Originally Posted by phrantic09 View Post
This for sure. You said you ride 9W so I assume you’re south of Albany and it’s not that far? There’s a lot of good climbing you can do right off of 9W for practice/ training.

You definitely want to ride it beforehand, but wait until the ground is firm enough where the roads won’t be too muddy. There’s a good place to park in Schuylerville where you can ride up a hill on 29 and essentially be at the start of the Fondo.

agree with the above on a compact crank and 34 tooth rear- that should be plenty for the climbs.

Do the 75, you’ll be happy you did.
Re- gearing:

I'm currently on a standard 53-39 with the 12-27 9 speed cassette at the rear ... Bike is a trek 5000 mid 2000s. I don't think it's too heavy because it's a carbon frame, mostly ultegra. Not the lightest though ( thinking about upgrading fork and wheelset to make it pretty light but not sure if I need it at my level?)
I chose to buy the triple ( still not on bike) instead of a compact because I realized the weight difference is marginal and that I would get a bigger range and wouldn't need to widen my gearing as would happen if I moved to a 9 speed 12- 32 at the rear .... In fact i think the 34x32 comes out at slightly easier than what will be my easiest gear ( 30x 27). The difference is my gears will remain tight throughout was my thinking. Also, the 27 tooth cassettes are slightly lighter and I will try to keep the short cage RD so the weight difference will end up being minimal between the two setups ( my understanding is you def need a medium or long cage for a 32 sprocket. I will try to keep the short cage on mine and just not cross gears so that I am able to keep using the smaller capacity RD)
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Old 02-19-20, 12:56 PM
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Originally Posted by firebird854 View Post
Fondo's are technically races, but the people racing it are the type of people who will do 100mi+ rides and 20mph+ for fun, and train consistently 12+hrs a week. At your current level of fitness, simply completing it should be the main goal.

*Tip* Try to stay with the main peloton until the first hill, at that point you'll probably be dropped, but will definitely not be the only one. Climb at your own pace, see who sticks next to you, and work with them for the coming distance, it is quite nice to be in a group and draft, although not entirely necessary (especially if your speed is closer to 15mph than 20mph).

Take breaks whenever you see fit, at the feed stations, between them, whenever.

Personally, I'd recommend doing the 75mi distance, you'll probably have the fitness, and if not, it's perfectly acceptable to drop down the distance partway through.

As for training, whenever you can, however you can. At your level and the goal you're trying to achieve your main objective should be distance, set a goal like 100 or 150mi a week and try to get at least one 50mi+ ride each week. Hills should be part of your training, but if I was in your shoes I would do as many long, steady, rides as I could and choose one or two days a week to dedicate specifically to hills, normally to the effect if finding a large climb (the larger, steeper, and meaner, the better) and just repeat it for the whole activity.

As for your bike, if you have a triple on it I kinda see that as a red flag, if it came with one, that tells me it's either a pretty old bike or a heavy touring bike. I'm not advocating getting a new bike, but personally, as I love hills (like really REALLY love hills) I've found that there's nothing I haven't been able to combat with a compact cankset+an 11/32 cassette.

Tires do make quite a difference, especially since gator skins are literally some of the heaviest. You'd probably be fine if you got GP5000 tubless or GP4000s tubed, or some other fast tire prior to the event, that'll be some free speed.
I think you guys are convincing me... I was worried about it being too hard but I internally really do want to go for the 75. I know I won't keep pace but like you said goal is to finish only. I guess if I rest whenever needed ect it should be fun. I'm registering for the 75 now woohoo!!!
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