The Internet of Bikes: Tour of the Catskills 2012

The Tour of the Catskills is a three day stage race held in Hunter, Windham and Tannersville, New York. The race features a 12 mile individual time trial, a 65 mile “Epic” stage that includes the infamous Devil’s Kitchen climb, followed by another mountain stage that features the cryptically named and extremely steep Airport Road climb. Frame and Wheel has family in nearby Germantown, New York and is thus able to justify the long but easy drive to participate in this great event. Frame and Wheel is using the Austro-Daimler tt Carbon for the time trial. It has been running very well and Frame and Wheel is pleased with its performance. The bike is set up with Dura-Ace 7900 components, 3T Brezza bars, Zipp Disc and Zipp 404 front (running Vittoria Corsa EVO 23 mm tubulars) and a SRM power meter. For the road stages, Frame and Wheel is using the Austro-Daimler Superleicht Carbon Di2. The bike is light at 14.6 pounds  and the electronic shifting is easy and quick. The bike is set up with Dura-Ace 7900 components, 3T Rotundo bars, Zipp 202s (running Vittoria Corsa EVO 23 mm tubulars) and a compact crank set for the event. Frame and Wheel enters the Masters 40 plus category along with fifty other riders from around the region and Canada and tracks the rides using Strava for Android.

Frame and Wheel’s start time for the time trial is 11:59. Temperatures are in the low 80s. Frame and Wheel warms up just enough to break a sweat and activate the system, but once this is done, staying cool is the priority. Frame and Wheel sets off on time and in correct order and gets up to speed. The outbound route is mostly downhill, but it is a very mild grade and there is a head wind. Frame and Wheel concentrates on staying aero and on top of the right gear, which turns out to be a 53 x 11 in many sections. Frame and Wheel catches a few 30 second men and is not holding anything back. The turnaround is on a downhill. Frame and Wheel recklessly locks up the rear wheel (to the amusement of the marshals) and negotiates the cone. Inbound there is a tailwind, but it is all uphill. The climbs are gradual but long. Frame and Wheel is able to catch a few more riders, but towards the last mile, there are no more riders in sight and the drool is beginning to flow. Frame and Wheel is very conservative on the last corners and gives up many seconds. Frame and Wheel pushes to the line and finishes with a time of 25:57 which is slower than the previous year (2010: 25:29) but fast enough for fourth place. David Gazsi of Team IFG wins the day (25:10) followed by Ron amos of Ride with Randall (25:45) and Christoffel Prinsloo of CRCA/ FinKraft Cycling (25:56). Frame and Wheel heads for Germantown and a cool bath.

Stage 2 begins in Tannersville. Temperatures are moving into the 80s. The 40 Plus category sets off at 11:30 and right from the start there is a break that includes break away artist Carl Reglar and five other riders. This break soon has 2 minutes on the field and the wheel van has disappeared up the road. The peleton does not seem too concerned as there is a lot of climbing ahead as well as the Devil’s Kitchen. Frame and Wheel is aware that riders can get away and stay away on this course, if there is enough of a gap for the break to ease its way up the Devil’s Kitchen climb. Frame and Wheel’s experience with the Devil’s Kitchen to date has been one that results in complete detonation of body and mind and thus Frame and Wheel hunkers down with peanut butter sandwiches and Gatorade (straight up). 
The field arrives at the Devil’s Kitchen. The wheel van is back with the peleton and although the break is out of sight, it is not far up the road. Frame and Wheel matches the pace of the lead riders. Soon there are only three riders: Erin Korff (CRCA/Axis) and Roger Aspholm (Finkraft Cycling Team) and Frame and Wheel. Aspholm is moving relentlessly up the steep; Frame and Wheel clings to Kroff’s wheel. There are riders from an earlier category walking their bikes up the climb. It is warm. There are spectator shouting encouragement, but Frame and Wheel does not understand what they are saying. Frame and Wheel is pushing a 34 x 28 with maximum effort, which in some sections results in a spontaneous wheelie. Frame and Wheel recovers at the top and is able to chase Aspholm who has now caught Carl Reglar and Bill Shattuck. It takes a maximum effort and perhaps some willingness on the part of the chased for Frame and Wheel to finally close this gap. Kroff is unable to hang on and the break reforms with four tired riders pushing for the line over the last 6 miles. Frame and Wheel is at the front and in yellow as the four bear down on the last section to Main Street. Frame and Wheel opens the sprint and is well aware that there will be some one coming by at any minute. Bill Shattuck (Corner Cycle) comes through in a great show of strength and panache to take the stage win. Frame and Wheel has survived the time warping effects of the Devil’s Kitchen for the first time and is very pleased to be in the yellow jersey. Frame and Wheel heads for home and another cool bath and some real food.

Stage 3 begins at Windham Mountain Ski resort. Temperatures are warm, but there are clouds on the horizon and rain in the forecast. The field starts off at 11:00 am. FinKraft Cycling Team moves to the front and drives the pace up Route 23. There is some respite on the two mile descent. FinKraft puts the pressure on again on Route 145. The field is stretched out; the pace remains high on to the Potter Road climb. Frame and Wheel gets to the front where on this section where there is more room. The KOM contenders are at the front and in the final meters, there is a surge for the line. Soon after the KOM, it begins to rain very hard. It becomes very dark; water is flowing off the roads in sheets. It is very hard to see. The lead elements of the KOM have a gap and are riding fast down the descent through the pouring rain. Frame and Wheel struggles to get to the front of the chase group; everyone is surely struggling with visibility and confidence about the road surface. The rain eases and the two groups come back together, except for Roger Aspholm who is up the rain soaked road. The field eventually catches Aspholm and makes it way towards Prattsville.  
There are a series of attacks here from FinKraft Cycling and Verge Cycling. Frame and Wheel is nervous about hanging on to the yellow jersey  and does not like the idea of a break getting away and gaining minutes on the field. Frame and Wheel covers the attacks. The field passes through Plattesvillle and heads up Airport Road. John Van Funk (Verge Cycling) and Ralk Warmuth (FinKraft Cycling Team) are up the road.  Airport Road is very steep and wet too; some riders are spinning out on the climb. Frame and Wheel is pushing a 34 x 28 and gaining time; without a compact Frame and Wheel would be in trouble on this climb. The field fragments a bit but as the climb eases the field comes together again and catches Funk and Warmuth. The field navigates that last few descents and climbs and arrives at the base of Windham Mountain for the up hill finish. There is a strong cross wind and there is a fence flapping across the final 100 meters. This does not stop Monte Frank (Verge Sport) from surging for the line and winning the day, followed by a very strong Mark Miller (Favatas Trt Bicycle) and John van Funk. Frame and Wheel creeps over the line in sixth place which is good enough to stay in yellow in the general classification (6:17:19). Roger Aspholm wins the King of the Mountain competition and finishes second in the general classification (6:18:04) followed by Bill Shattuck in third place (6:18:18). Frame and Wheel is very pleased with the result and grateful to be able to compete in a category that is characterized by such great competitors. Frame and Wheel thanks the organizers for putting on a fine race. A very fine weekend of racing and the peak of the 2012 season for Frame and Wheel.

Austro-Daimler tt and road

Aspholm, Thomas, Shattuck on the podium

Sunday’s rain clouds


Back to Blog