We hope that you’ll participate in and enjoy the Farmer’s Daughter Ride this year because it’s a great cycling event on its own, but it’s also a good tune-up ride for several races that you may be signed up for this year. It’s always nice to do some of one’s training on a nice course that provides good company and support along the way! Here we’ll take a look at some of the most popular races coming up in our region soon after this year’s Farmer’s Daughter: Tour of the Battenkill, Wilmington-Whiteface 100K MTB, and Black Fly Challenge.
The week after Farmer’s Daughter is the Tour of the Battenkill. The Farmer’s Daughter provides a great final hard ride before that race for those who aren’t solely road racers: at about a mile shorter, over 2,000 feet more climbing, great aid stations, and several tough climbs that will build your legs, Farmer’s Daughter will provide you with a workout that will set you up nicely for a week of tapering. The Farmer’s Daughter also contains several off-road segments, so it’s not suitable for road bikes. But if you’re racing or riding Tour of the Battenkill and have a CX or hardtail MTB in your quiver, give the Farmer’s Daughter a whirl this year.
Next up is the Wilmington-Whiteface 100K MTB Race (WW100). This official qualifier for the Leadville Trail 100 MTB race will be held on June 5 this year. I love this race, it has a bit of everything, is well run, and is a fun and challenging endurance race. It’s tough to pre-ride the course, though: it’s far away from most of us (~10 miles outside of Lake Placid), and you must carry whatever you’re going to need on the course as there is nowhere on the course to stock up on food or water. We designed the Farmer’s Daughter in part having in mind that it should be a good training ride for this race, and I think we succeeded. A few people tell us at the end of our event last year that they thought it was a nicer, and tougher, course than WW100. (We’ll just say that they’re both great.) Farmer’s Daughter spends more time on dirt roads, has almost as much climbing (although there’s no way we could replicate the very long climb back up Jay Mountain), has plenty of singletrack, though it’s designed to be more CX bike-friendly. So if you’re racing WW100, Farmer’s Daughter will give you a very good training ride experience and great support on the course. You should have a good sense of how your training is coming along. I’d recommend using the same bike you’ll be racing at WW100, it helps to get some of your endurance training miles in on that bike, and the Farmer’s Daughter course is well suited to a hardtail MTB.
Third is the Black Fly Challenge, held on June 11th this year. Run primarily on rugged dirt roads with a bit of pavement at either end, and approximately 38 miles long and about 2600 feet of climbing. It has categories for cyclocross and mountain bikes. The dirt roads you’ll be racing on are a bit more rugged than what you’re likely to see in the Farmer’s Daughter, but mix in our off-road sections and you’ll get plenty of practice at with roots and small rocks such as you’ll see on the Black Fly course. Most important, though, is that you’ll get a great endurance workout for your legs that will help you gain a personal best performance in the Black Fly a few weeks later. As one participant last year said in response to our post-event survey, “[Farmer’s Daughter] made the Black Fly Challenge seem like a walk in the park!”
Finally, Farmer’s Daughter is a perfect early endurance (and skills) workout for cyclocross racing season. You’ll see a number of the region’s elite cyclocross racers out enjoying the course again this year. At this time of year, they are focused on building endurance and honing technical skills, and the Farmer’s Daughter provides everything they’ll see in cyclocross races (almost, no barriers), and lots of it! You may not be up at the front with them, but if you’ve got your eye on improving your cyclocross performance this fall, you shouldn’t miss this ride!
From an HRRT teammate: “If you are looking to get your legs in great climbing shape for the Wilmington-Whiteface 100K MTB or Leadville Trail 100 MTB, then the mix of paved, dirt roads and single track at the Farmer’s Daughter Gravel Grinder will set you on the right course.” -Alex Chlopecki