Richard Kim inspired me to pursue qualifying for the UCI World Masters to be held in South Africa in August, ironically coinciding with plans my wife and I had previously to take our kids on safari there before they all get married. The only US qualifier this year was held in the Berkshires (Lenox, MA) this weekend, and it also drew some from Panama, South Africa and Canada since they can qualify at any country venue. Weather was ideal in the mid 60s and the scenery beautifully pastoral.
Motorcycle escort. Roads a little rough but no worse than our canyons. Very tightly grouped lead group with frequent break attempts until about mile 65, when the pace quickened and I was fighting cramps (no one stopped for water in this group). I picked up a few of the abandoned and we worked together until the last long climb. I moved away and finished in 3:42 (22 mph). Finished on the podium in 2d in my age group (60-64 –thank you birthday!), with the top 3 in each age group automatically qualifying for the World Masters.
The guy who beat me was announced before the race as an international masters dude who had recently won Tour of Battenkill in his age group (a bit humbling I must say since the closest guy my age at L’Etape was one hour ! 19 minutes behind me). Zabel was at 3:36 ( old guy now at 41) with the winner at 3:33+. I was 27th overall. Not as difficult as L’Etape but more intense because of the tight strong lead group.