6.09.2010

Big circles: KSR 2010 in my mirrors

Out of the smoky mists of time: The Pro1/2 field rolls up Route 4 on Memorial Day.

I did not start racing a bicycle until after I had graduated college and was living on my own. I remember watching Greg Lemond and the first American successes in the Tour de France in the late 1980s...but that's another story.

As I hesitatingly and haltingly started racing I was too intimidated to participate in the Killington Stage Race (KSR), one of the biggest races in New England. So for a couple of years I volunteered as a pace car driver for the race, this was back in 1991 and 1992. Vehicles were provided -- brand new Saab convertibles -- I recall taking the plastic covering off of the leather seats and sliding the car through turns on descents.

The those heady early days, the KSR was five days long (time trial - three road races - and a criterium) and held on Labor Day Weekend -- an ambitious schedule and a considerable logistical and public relations challenge. Bike racers' penchant for relieving themselves in public, tendency to litter, and the extensive traffic tieups caused by the race, meant that the event was far from universally loved in the Rutland area.

Eventually putting on a five day event proved to be too much of a hassle and the KSR shrank to just three days and then disappeared altogether. In 2010 the same team that puts on the Green Mountain Stage Race launched a reconstituted KSR and over 500 riders participated -- a very good turnout.

I volunteered to drive a pace car in the 2010. This was a real trip into the past for me as the only association I have with the Killington area is from bike racing. I was assigned to drive for the Women's 3/4 race -- a small and not very aggressive field, and the last race on the course.

The women 3/4 field staging at the start.

The field all together on Route 100.

A cemetery all decked out for Memorial Day.

The small lead group approaching the mid race QOM point.

Another cemetery, more American flags.

The very tough finishing climb.

The last kilometer: I remember this view all too well from my days participating in the KSR.

video
A short video (55 seconds) showing a little of what it's like to drive a pace car. Most of the time I was driving at less than 20 mph... It takes patience.

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