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Tim Unkert

Killington Stage Race Stage 2 Finish and Training

I drove up to Killington to get a scenery change and to do a little riding. It was nice that they had the Killington Stage Race going too. First things first I knew I needed to train as well.


The training went well for the morning. I knew I needed to ride as it relieves stress and makes me feel better. Cycling is a special type of physical meditation allow you to contemplate events of the past, hopes for the future, and how to handle the present. It really is a way to Doctor Phil it out without the male pattern baldness and 70s mustache.
Three times up the access road allowed me to enter the “zone.” Lately, I’ve been feeling lost, saddened, and confused but near the third time up the hill, I started to think positively about the future. I realized that unfortunately, even though one door is closing in my life, another door will eventually open. Unless your name is Bette, one of my freelance writers, who got stuck in the bathroom last week when the door jammed. She got out eventually.
Anyways as I started to feel slightly better my legs let me know they were feeling quite a bit worse and this was the last time up the hill. As I passed Ramshead for the last time up, I asked a race marshall when the race was coming through. He relayed to me that it would only be 10 or 15 minutes until the first field finished. Perfect timing as it would take me some time to tackle the final 3/4 of a mile uphill and find a place to watch the finish.

Killington Stage Race – Category 4/5 Finish

I rode up the final hill and found a place to watch. Just a few minutes later the first category 4/5 Killington Stage Race rider came flying up the hill. For those unfamiliar with categories in cycling, category 5 is the entry level with 4 being the level above that. The top amateur level is 1. I was a category 1 for 15 years but the speeds of the 4/5 top finishers were impressive. I have some work to do to get back to racing shape. It is easy to forget how fast guys can go up the hill when you haven’t raced in a while (see below.)

The crowds were low for the entry level race but they picked up quite a bit later on from what I heard. Unfortunately, I couldn’t stay as I have to work in CT tomorrow and had to head back. While riding down the hill I saw some of the Killington Stage Race riders crossing up from East Mountain Road. This reminded me just how impressive many bicycle racers are. For those who don’t know East Mountain Road starts with 2.2 miles averaging above 8 percent gradient. Then it continues to roll up and down prior to the uphill finish along Vale Rd.


Seeing the riders crush it up the final climb after 60 miles racing on rolling roads really inspired me to get back into shape. People don’t realize it but the fitness your typical bicycle racer has is extremely high. For example, my VO2 max was in the mid-70s (maybe upper I  can’t remember?) when I was racing at a high level.
In comparison, the regular athlete a college basketball player at an elite level has a VO2 in the 60s. In this study, the highest max VO2 was low 70s. To compare this with some Tour De France winners, Indurain had a VO2 in the high 80s, Greg Lemond had one in the low 90s, and the cheater, Armstrong, had one around 83 (before he cheated). The average VO2 for people 18-25 is in the low 40s with a VO2 of 60 or above being rated as “excellent.”
Anyways, at age 40, I don’t think I’ll get it quite as high as I used to but with training, I could be around excellent for 18 to 25 year old. Cycling is such a fitness builder!
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