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Bart Lipinski - Masters 40+</b></span>

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Awesome weather, first time I wore shorts without leg or knee warmers all season. Last year it was freezing and the year before….snow.</span>

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First off, the race started off kind of hectic. 3.5 mile neutral start out of the park (all downhill), but when it did start, guys were going off the front like mad. Plus there was a good amount of climbing in the first hour as well. I wanted to stay with a few guys who I knew typically get in breaks, so I tried to stay with them or as close to the as possible.</span>

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Here and there a guy or two would get up the road, but no one seemed concerned and we’d end up catching them. For the first hour it seemed like it was going to be a group ride to the end.</span>

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At around 22 miles in, I knew there was a pretty good decent, so as we were cresting the top, I moved right out into the front (more because I wanted a clear view of the road for the descent). Worked hard to get some speed and took a peek back, and opened a gap of about 50 yards or so. At this point I was saying “oh shit….now what? It way too far out to try this alone, should I ease up?“ But then I heard someone say “Come on! Let’s keep this going!” Two guys crossed over and I was saying to myself “holy shit…..I just rode off the front!...and now have two others to work with!”</span>

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For the next 10 miles we worked together really well, but I can still see the group, and they were not too far off. After the race I heard that we were left out to dangle for a bit. </span> And it felt like it. Every time I took a peek over my shoulder I could still see the group.</span>

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At around mile 35ish we had 3 more riders bridge over and that was a relief for me. I can honestly say that the 6 of us shared all the work; we all wanted to make this stick. At that point we were no longer seen by the field.</span>

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Other than the miles not ticking away fast enough, I was feeling really good. I was working less in the break that I was the first hour trying to stay in contact with my marks. I was starting to feel it with about 7 miles to go. There were two climbs just outside the park that I felt like I could lose the group or my legs were ready to go (kinda like at Battenkill, felt like my thighs were going to cramp just over my knees). But managed to hang in there with them as we entered the park for the final 3.5 mile climb to the finish.</span>

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We were still working great together although paranoid at this point that we were going to get caught. The last kick came at 200m, the pace picked up, I can see the finish line tent, but at this point didn’t have much of a sprint as the 4 in front of me pulled away. I was more than happy to finish 5th</sup>, to initiate the break that stuck for 43 miles, but wish I saved something somewhere in the race to have one last spurt. But hey, these are still practice races for Killington.</span>

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Jonathan Doller - Cat 4/5 40+</b></span>

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Like all April races in the northeast, the weather for Quabbin can be as unpredictable as any out there.  As recently as 2011, race day saw about an inch of the slushy white stuff on the ground just to remind you that, regardless of what the calendar says, anything’s possible.  On a 65-mile route with just under 5,000 feet of climbing, the last thing you want to be fighting is the weather.  But, thankfully, Saturday dawned clear and cool with temps expected to rise into the mid-60s with just a hint of wind…in other words, perfect cycling weather.</span>

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In the Cat 4/5 40+ field, one thing became clear very quickly: the experience/skill-level varied widely.  That gave me a bit of concern because one rider who gets a little twitchy on a descent can do a lot of damage to the field.  In fact, the carnage from some of the fields starting before us was apparent as we rode by either ambulances stopped on the side of the road or riders sitting in the grass waiting for assistance.  (On a side note, Quabbin’s also one of those races where you see a ton of guys early on riding in the opposite direction and you’re never sure if they’re just out for a weekend spin or if they’ve abandoned and decided to turn around and head back to the parking lot.)</span>

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 The course profile is one of those that looks like an EKG monitor readout (appropriate analogy considering the elevated heart rates pedaling up some of those climbs).  There are literally no flat sections.  Having raced Quabbin twice before and gotten popped off the back early each time, my goal was to just stay with the leaders over as many climbs as I could and, hopefully, onto the finishing ramp.  On the neutral start down the road from the parking lot to the park entrance, everyone was pretty much keeping to themselves with the occasional smell of hot brake pads wafting through the peloton.  Once out onto Route 9, a couple of guys tried to take some early fliers off the front, but only managed to get about a 30 second gap.  I did find myself at the front of the peloton a few times setting the pace, but no one was really pedaling in anger at this point and I didn’t feel like I was wasting any energy.</span>

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Once the climbs started in earnest, the field was quickly slashed by about half.  I did well to stay close to the front on all the early climbs and descents.  The legs really started to burn around the 50-mile mark, but I did retain contact to what was still a pretty large lead group.  Passing the ball fields in Ware and back onto Route 9, I knew there were only 3 more climbs to get over, including the finishing climb.  I held on for the first 2 and most of the finishing climb back inside the park, but couldn’t match the accelerations at the final kick at 200m to go.  I managed to spin over the line shortly after the winner at 35th</sup>/78 place.  Finished in 3:00:40 (awarded same time as winner, but there were definitely some small gaps) at an average of 21.2 mph…considering my last Quabbin was a 3 hour, 44 minute “off-the-back” effort, I felt pretty good with the result.</span>

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Andy Rothstein - Cat 4/5 40+</b></span>

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It was a beautiful day and I felt great. I stayed out of trouble for 63 some odd miles, ate right, and just rode with the group (there were no breakaways).  Near the end of the race we turned into the park for the climb to the finish and I was ready.  At one point I shifted into my inner ring because I wanted to spin more.  That's when my chain came off, notwithstanding my chain catcher.  I could not shift the chain back on and I had to stop and put it back on with my hand.  I watched the race ahead of me as I tried to not be left too far behind.  It was very disappointing (and my hand was a greasy mess)!  The silver lining is that I collected the best 5 minute power number I've ever recorded...and that came at the end of the race.  Looking forward to the Blue Hills Classic and another chance for success.</span>

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