Aetna-Expo at the Tour of the Hilltowns
By David Hildebrand
Saturday July 26th was the 16th edition of the Tour of the Hilltowns. As the title suggests this race is known for the climbing some serious climbing! This year would see changes to the course but not in any way altering the expectations of climbs. The course begins at Berkshire East in Massachusetts and completes two 32 mile loops climbing 2,700' per lap for the Masters race. Todd, Gary and David all lined up for the start expecting fireworks to begin right away given the new course....
As you leave Berkshire East you are treated by the first climb at mile 3 which kicks up to a maximum of 12 percent and climbs for 2 miles before a short decent followed by another 6 mile steady climb, with a few steep kickers thrown in. This would prove to be both a climbers specialty race as well as one of attrition. Todd showed the best form of the day by leading the remnants of the pack over the line to take 4th place behind the small break of 3 leaders (the climber specialists). Gary helped the small group of 5 which included David to attempt to re-attach, but to no avail. This helped David to stay in the race and finish 19th while Gary would call it a day. Many thanks to the sponsoring club Northampton Cycling Club (NCC) for keeping this staple of racing on the calendar!