Race Report: Weekend of March 24

From the first installment of the Augusta Training Series at the Sussex County State Fairgrounds in Augusta, NJ.  Joe Straub took the sprint in the Masters race with Keith Hala taking third. In the A race (Cat 1-3) Glenn Babikian sacrificed himself on the final lap to minimize a gap to the breakaway giving Joe a chance and ultimately 2nd in the field sprint which put him in 6th overall. Keith Hala, battling a stomach virus, finished in 10th. Glenn Babikian rounded out the scoring with a respectable 20th after his monster effort.

Next report comes from Cheryl Wolf, who along with Brian Wolf and Niel Suto represented Rockstar/Signature Cycles today at the memorial for Markus Bohler (the rider who passed away last weekend as a result of a crash in the Bethel race). People came from New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Maine.  Markus’s family was there from Germany. We started a lap led by Pawling Cycles. We stopped at the crash site and had several moments of silence and reflection.  Then we went up to the start line and Rob Kelly, the owner of Pawling Cycles, made a speech on Markus’s behalf.  Then we rode around the course again and everyone went into the parking lot where Aki Sato, the promoter, spoke about his thoughts on the tragedy.  I felt that the memorial brought closure to our tightly knit cycling/racing community. Brian and Cheryl did not race that day, not because of Markus, but dislike of the cold drizzle plus some fatigue from the week.

We had a number of riders head up to north to do a preview ride of the Battenkill course. This is Lucia D’s report:

Five of the ladies from the women’s squad drove up to scout the Battenkill course on the official ride preview this past Sunday.  I think we spotted at least 2 other R*s from the men’s team. Anyway, we started out in some foul weather as it had been raining the night before and there was a light rain when we rolled out.  The dirt sections before Juniper Swamp road were a muddy mess.  It felt like a cyclocross race.  A lot of people walked up Juniper Swamp road and a rider went down right in front of me, but otherwise, if you picked a good line, you were able to ride the whole thing.  The rain stopped about a third of the way through the course and the remaining dirt sections were not bad, potholes here and there to look out for but easy enough to pick a line.  The hills on Meeting House Rd were also a bit sketchy as there was sections of loose dirt and mud, but again, if you picked a good line, you can ride through it.  I did notice that there was not as much gravel on the pavement and on corners as last year and overall pavement conditions were not bad.  If it rains on the day of the race, I would highly suggest against using wheels with carbon rims and would recommend using wider tires to deal with the mud.

A look at her bike after the ride – a true thing of beauty!