Quabbin Resevoir Road Race
A few weeks back the squad headed North to the Quabbin Reservoir Road Race with a load of Health Warrior bars in tow. It was a tough day at the races but the team walked away with several strong results at the end of the day. Richard Scudney and Mathew Street recap their respective races:
Richard Scudney - 10th place
The morning was brisk, devoid of all warmth and windy. This always brings up my inner soul debate of what to wear: should I go for the fleece lined skin suit or my usual early spring bibs/jersey arm warmer combo? I decided to go with the latter. I kept a jacket on at the start until just before the gun went off. Somehow seeing my teammates colder than me made me a little warmer.
I was very glad to be moving even though the neutral descent was cold. I was shivering so bad my front wheel was shaking side to side. We hit the first climb hard. You could feel the eagerness of the group. Whether it was to warm up or just to push the pace to find a position the field.
There was a break early on with about 10 riders. My teammate Patrick Torpey easily caught up and tucked in. The break stayed out in front of the field for a bit until we hit the next hill. There was a fast attack that brought back and initiated another break that stayed just ahead of the field. That break was soon caught by another explosive attack. Then there was Thomas Hendry. Already in the front of the field ready for the attacks that come. I am always impressed and I admire his skill at negotiating in the front. Until there was a crash on a very fast descent were I couldn’t find him. I think that might of been my highest heart rate ever recorded on my Garmin. I moved to the back and caught up with both my teammates and shared a silent moment.
Somewhere at mile 30 there was a huge attack that split the field. My legs at this point were already hurting from covering all the breaks. I gritted my teeth and forced my legs to stay with this break. After about 5 minutes we had a sizable gap on the field with about 15 riders. We started rotating pulls and the pace was brutal. Even in the break the attacks never stopped. We finally arrived at the climb before the finish. When ever the road kicked up the pace surged and when the road let up the pace lulled. Which let me recover a bit for the next surge. With 200 meters to go the field got tense and someone initiated the attack. I managed to keep up but I wasn’t snappy enough in response and managed to snag 10th.
It was a painful and beautiful race fraught with thrills and chills. There were many times during the race I wish the pace had slowed so we could take in the gorgeous Quabbin Reservoir views. Breathtaking!
Mathew Street - 15th place
I hate snakes and I hate climbing. So of course Quabbin was the perfect race for me… Alright everyone know’s it’s a hilly race but what’s with the snakes? The state had reintroduced a species of rattlesnake there to increase their numbers away from extinction. As a child I was petrified of snakes, convinced they were going to eat me in my sleep. Reading this article months ago I completely forgot this fact however during the race there was definitely chatter amongst the racers about ‘did you see that snake bro?!’. Fortunately road racing seemed to be a good cure for my childhood fear.
I hadn’t raced out of town for a while so it was exciting to take part in a mini road trip to a new part of Western Mass and hit up the Quabbin Reservoir Classic Road Race. A single loop race with about 3500 or 4500 feet of climbing (depending on who’s Garmin you asked, the latter sounds cooler if you ask me) over 64 miles, I was certain my body would know about it at the end. Managing to get some decent training during the prior two weeks I was keen to see how I would fair. Giving our co-racers an unfair advantage we plastered the sign on table with Health Warriors latest Chia bars which everyone seemed to enjoy.
With only Chip and I in the 3’s (T2, Scuds and Torpey in P12’s) we were largely outnumbered by most teams including the local squad Minuteman Road Club who showed up with at least 8 guys in our field. I made sure to give some of their guys some friendly banter during the race saying they better get the win (spoiler - they did).
The race was pretty chill for the first 40 or miles. Paul Yeates from Rockstar had clearly been watching too many of the Classics and thought he could repeatedly take a flier in the first 10 miles, only to be reeled back in. I too got inspired and we probably lasted about a minute. But it was definitely the coolest minute of the first 40 miles. Chip and I played it safe, hanging on the climbs nicely. The group didn’t get whittled down too much and was still gunning at around 50 riders or so until the final 15 miles to go.
With most of the climbing done and a bit of cramp setting in (WHY DID I DROP MY LAST GEL, WHHHHHYYYY) the attacks started coming and two guys got away and held a pretty decent gap. Attempting to bridge up with another dude we got a nice gap but eventually with others attacking and our legs failing the gap was closed. Chip hitting up the counter attack perfectly looked solid but eventually getting reeled in via the same manner.
We were probably within 10 miles to go and things were really hotting up, some super twisty and short sharp undulations coming into a small village provided some thrill and hit me with a good chunk of adrenaline, I powered over a rough patch and felt like Cancellara for 20 seconds, keeping my momentum I catapulted round a corner and edged off the front again with two others. The break was dangling right in front of us by now which made the pack hungry for the catch.
3 miles to go with it all back together we turned off the main road and hit the final (3 mile) climb back into the main reservoir. Still dealing with a little bit of cramp but hanging in there I was able to follow all the attacks which seemed to go on and on. Thankfully the gradient eased slightly in places and I was able to spin my legs out a couple of times to ease the pain. Still hanging on with saliva all over my face I saw the 200m to go mark. I felt like I was in the Mur de Huy from the previous weekend! Imagining I was Valverde sadly didn’t quite do the trick but I was able to put in one final dig in to beat the Hot Tubes guy who’d looked good all race. Finishing in the pack about 20ft from the leader I was pretty happy to snag 15th. Not bad considering I hate climbing and I hate snakes.