Texas Canine Ambush   
 Ride Stats
Distance: 34.31 miles Altitude Gain: 4,202 ft Avg Speed: 16.17 mph
Route: Liberty Blockhouse Avg Grade: 0 % Max Grade: 0 %
Max HR: 169 bpm Avg HR: 149 bpm Terrain: Road: Hills
Bike: Litespeed Vortex Road Club: Schuyler County Cycling Club
Weather Conditions: Sunny 72 F N wind @ 10 mph
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 Liberty or Death Bike Race
Down to Liberty, PA today for the 6th running of the Liberty Blockhouse Festival Bike Race. Weather today was mercifully cooler than it was earlier in the week. The course is hard enough without having to deal with the heat. The course is a seventeen mile loop with six climbs and less then one hundred feet of level road. It climbs out of Liberty over three hills, has a big decent back into the valley, then has three other climbs out of the other side of the valley before another big descent back to the start. Not sure what the actual elevation change is as get different results from different instruments but it is well over 3500 ft. The course was changed this year thankfully due to a bridge replacement. This happily caused the Ten Point descent to be replaced with a road that has actual smooth pavement. The old descent had character with its many twists and turns, but the road surface was similar to the surface of the moon. I was never able to race the downhill as was more concerned about not crashing or damaging my bike. Didn't have much hope for a winning day as this is pretty much a pure climbers race, and my mediocre climbing skills would be thoroughly taxed. My goal was to try to stay with the front group over the first quarter of the course, as there was no way I would be able to keep up with a wall climb at the start of the second half of the course. There was a very small turnout this year with probably between thirty and forty riders between the one and two lap race. Both races start together and Doug, Joe and me were all entered in the two lap edition. The race starts immediately with the first climb, and it started fast with a one hundred and ten pound teenager blazing his way up the hill. I came out of the saddle and made it about a third of the way up the hill before being slightly gapped. The last third of the climb flattens out a little near the top, and I was able to spin my back to the group of eight or so leaders. Unfortunately it appeared the only reason I had caught them was they were taking a breather after the initial surge. While I was chasing they were resting and they accelerated over the top, and I was unable to hold on as was riding over my limit already. I was able to keep up with the teenager that had been passed and dropped and struggled down the first decline. We were caught on the descent by a group that included Mighty Young Joe, and I found shelter in his draft to the start of the second climb. Pulled away from the group on the second climb with a Twisted Spoke rider and caught up with a Nut Butter rider that had fallen off the front group. Wasn't able to stay with the two over the top of the second climb but wasn't too far off. Got caught by the race organizer, Adam, on the next shallow descent and drafted him until he reeled in the pair ahead of us. We went over the top of the third climb more or less together, but I got gapped again on the first unfamiliar fast descent. Spun up the next climb that was a wall. I could see the first group of five, then Iron Doug slightly gapped, then my group all climbing the hill. Adam got dropped on the climb and I joined him over the top. We pursued the other pair and caught them on the fifth climb. On the sixth climb I started to feel a little better and pushed up the pace on the step climb. Gapped the Twisted Spoke and Nut Butter riders over the top. Adam and I made the second big descent back to the start together. Adam was only doing one lap. He wished me luck, and I started climbing the second lap alone. The other two riders weren't able to close on me on second time up the first climb, and I was able to extend the gap on the second climb. I got over the third climb and out of sight and was able to relax. Didn't see anyone else ahead or behind me for the remainder of the race. Had a brief scare when my tire started to blow sealant from a puncture but it sealed quickly without a loss of too much pressure. Ended up finishing in the fourth spot for the two lappers and second in the sixty plus division. Iron Doug got dropped the first lap but caught up on the second and won the race, Mighty Young Joe suffered spectacularly and finished eighth. Turned out to be a good day. Spent and hour and a half of the two hour race in the red. The poor turnout is not encouraging for the continuation of road cycling in the region. Alas what is a poor boy to do.

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Home: Montour Falls, NY 
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