35+ Category 5 Winner – David Anthony
I started racing at the end of last season with NY Velocity. Alex Ostroy, Matt Richards and Francisco Liuzzi have all been instrumental in helping me to develop and begin to understand the fundamentals of racing. Battenkill was my first out of town race. Some of the team came up the night before and had a prep dinner. Along with my teammates Lindsey Paluska, Mitch Jacaruso, and Ben Fackler, we downed copious amounts of carbs as we got some last minute pointers on the “classic” aspects of the course from Matt, who had raced the course last year.
This would also be me first time racing on dirt roads. I realized I was both jacked and also more than a little freaked now that we were actually at the line of the famous Tour of the Battenkill. The race really started at the first climb at about 11 miles, on Juniper Swamp Road, which was the first of six gravel road sections. My teammate Harry Zernike went to the front and pretty much punched the gas pedal through the floorboards. This separated our group from the pack and established an 11-man break.
We quickly organized the group and with the help of our friend James Malloy, pushed the pace pretty hard. Over the next 45 miles the break raced through some of toughest terrain and the most beautiful countryside I’ve every ridden. As we hit and crested the many uphills the break group dwindled down to six, with Mitch and me hanging in. We knew that the last real uphill was on the last dirt section on Stage Road at about 56 miles.
When the hill came Mitch and I attacked. I managed to get away off the front, rummaged around for whatever was left in the tank and spent the next six miles praying to the Battenkill bike gnome not to dole me a puncture or mechanical as had been given so many others. Everything held together and after I crossed the line, I went up a ways and turned around just in time to see Mitch come flying across the line solo. We pull in to learn that Chris Leong, our teammate in the Cat 5 – Under 35 category had also soloed to 1st in his race. The team all got back together at the finish — where the race promoters in their infinite wisdom had thoughtfully put a beer tent. After the first of many trips to the tent, we were all beginning to recover quite well!