Biketoberfest 09 – 10,000 feet of fun?

Biketoberfest 09 – 10,000 feet of fun?

Biketoberfest is a ride we host every year from the crib. I lead a 100 mile ride and Kelly leads a 50 mile ride. We started this ride in 2004 after several of us wanted to do a late season century with a challenging course that would cover some of the most beautiful terrain in Western MA. The course was designed by Lombardo and Sandy G, but never ridden by either until today. Steve finally was able to ride the course that he designed in 2004. At that time I was handed a cue sheet and we rode the course with no clue of what was up the road. The inaugural year we had a small group and all feel in love with what would become one of the best rides of the year.

Fast forward to today. At 6:30AM I get a text “Matty is out”. No freakin way! He isn’t doing the ride he lives for. He has been doing training rides for this and now he’s not going. Something must be going on, because he wouldn’t miss this ride.

I will admit that I was slightly worried about doing the ride. I have been on a plan for the last 3 months and this plan is not geared towards Biketoberfest. I haven’t done a real hill ride since I started training with Cait. I guess I will have to see how it goes. The good news is that everyone rides at their own pace and we regroup after each series of climbs. The other good thing is that we have 29 riders and the big groups tend to spread out and you always have somebody to lock onto to keep your head in the game. The first real climb was after the Granville Gorge. It is a steep little F’er that warms your body like a fireplace. Artie tended to set the tempo on every climb and I was able to ride at his pace. This was a good sign that I could still climb. It was also cool to ride with Steve. Steve rode well and I never could seem to shake him. His constant push of the pace is the reason I was able to crush the bike course at Lake Placid in 2004.

Aside from a few flats, things were going well until we climbed into New Marlborough. I knew that the next stretch was fast (slightly downhill with some choppers). I told everyone to get into a pace line and be prepared for some speed. Mike took us out at a fast pace and then Doug got on the front and really ramped the pace up. Once he puled off the pace went back to a pace that was reasonable. This tempo continued on as Norton got in his aerobars and pulled like a locomotive. The unfortunate thing is that we took a left turn and we had a small split of 3 (Thierry. Chris and Sara W). As we regrouped, they blew by the turn and continued to Great Barrington (Sara decided to head back). We sent a few guys off to chase them down and the rest continued to the stop at Great Barrington. Thierry and Chris were slightly lost, but finally made contact via cell and we were back together. We hit the store and I didn’t make the mistake of eating a case of scary cakes. After the store you get about a mile to digest your food before hitting a steep little leg breaker. Now it was off toward Beartown State forest. The climb to Beartown is tough (long gradual climb). The climbs once you are in Beartown are steep and short, but the descend in Beartown is like a mountain bike course. 3-4 flats on the way down because of the lack of pavement. After getting out of Beartown we head onto another faster section. This one was a little more challenging because of the headwind. After about 5 miles of speed and pace lining, the road turns vertical. This split the group up and everyone cranked out the next few miles at there own pace. We regrouped at the the intersection of Rt.23. At this point you could tell that some were starting to run out of gas. The next section is a small climb and then a fast rolling section where you got to make sure that you get on the train (Fun, Fun, Fun stuff). We regrouped at Rt.8 from here we set a nice easy tempo to get us to our final fueling stop at the store in Otis. Everyone stocked up on fluids and Norton did his yearly tradition of breaking the bread (he ate a whole loaf of fresh cooked bread). He say’s that it’s like consuming 16 GU’s. It is fun to watch. I on the other hand pounded a Blueberry Muffin knowing  that I haven’t eaten enough today and it was way to late to try to make it up. Only 2 big climbs left and I figured that I could suck it up for that (I said that with my fingers crossed). We left the store and headed up 23 at a nice tempo to try to keep the group intact. Mark set the pace for most of it until we got to the fast section before the big climb into Blanford. Norton decided to get thing’s started and now it was a full all out Road Race to the base of the big climb. The climb went better than I expected. I have fortunaely done this climb so many times, I was able to close my eyes and before I knew it I was at the top. As I watched each person crest the summit, they all had a look. It was a look of I now know that there is only 1 more hill and we are done. A quick descend to Dickenson Hill Road. The group all made the corner and we continued on. Well, It appeared that the group made the corner. Chris wasn’t with the group and for the second time he was on a different course than we were on. Still not sure how we got separated on the downhill? Now it was off to Montgomery Road. This is the final climb and no matter how bad you feel, you know that you just have to get to the top and it is all downhill to the finish.

Montgomery starts off pretty steep and then just makes you bleed slowly for the last 2/3rd’s. I hit it hard early and could tell that the tank was going dry as I watched Artie, Steve and Mike Maloney walk away. All in all I can’t complain, I had a wicked good day. As I crested the summit I noticed that we caught Dave and Mary (they started about 45 minutes before us). They continued on as we waited for the group at the top. The next 5 miles were made up of 2 miles of downhills then several miles of fast pace lining (more fun times). Once we hit the city we kicked it down a notch and we just plotted along back to the crib. Great Group, Great Ride! Then it was off for a quick 5 mile run with Sara and Andy. Legs felt like they were bleeding as I ran, but I was pumped that I could still run after that beating on the bike.

The post food and beer tasted like heaven. I then slept like a rock.

Thanks to all who showed. Can’t wait for next year. Rumor has it that the 50 mile will be increased to a 100k (62 miles)………………Good Stuff