This is a big undertaking. Not the race - just trying to preview so many fields. But here we go - all of this is based on here-say, speculation, chatter, undisclosed sources, Strava segments and a few race results. (I am only commenting here on CRCA members....)
Junior men 15-16. Sam Morkal-Williams has been on good form so far this year, winning from a breakaway at Bethel. This kind of race really suits Sam as evidenced by his solo break win last year at Tour of The Catskills on day 3. There are some good strong juniors in the field, but I think Sam is up for it.
Master's 30+: David Taylor must be on form. He could have chosen the Master's 40+, but he opted for the 30+. If David's confident, he's my man.
Master's 40+: Andreas Runggatscher has had more success as a time trialist than in the hills, but I think of this race more like a 3 hour time trial than a climbers race, so he's my pick in this field. If its wet, Greg Waggoner's superior bike handling skills could come into play.
Men's 50+: Pascal Sauvayre doesn't appear to have lined up at Battenkill in the past, but he is certainly an experienced racer who has had success at various courses. This is definitely early season for Pascal, but I find him hard to bet against.
Cat 2 Men: This is a packed field, but Erik Post's top 10 performance at last weekend's Johnny Cake Lane race sticks in my mind. Champion System is bringing a team of seven to this race and Alan Rego has been performing well in the local early races, so I'll take him as my second pick.
Cat 3 Pink: This field contains all the CRCA Cat 3 racers and there is quite a few with a decent chance of doing well in here. David Anthony is both a good climber and a great time trialist - making a him my top choice in this field. Equally strong though are Ben Noble and Warren St. John.
Cat 4 Blue: SID's is the only CRCA team in this field, and I see Matt Wilpers as the strongest of this lot if he makes it to the start line on time.
Cat 4 Green: Jesse Walker showed that he is in good form at the last CRCA race with a gun to finish solo TT effort - once again I'll take a TT guy over a climber in this race every time. Michael Nelson is my other pick here.
Cat 4 Pink: This one I found tough, and I'll admit to seeking a little help from road-results.com.... Guy Metcalfe is highly ranked, as is Alex Binkley, but (and even though he didn't include CRCA in his team name..) I am going to choose Andrew Dunn. He has been spotted back in Central Park lately and the good word is he is as fit as ever.
Cat 4 White: Maybe they should call this the CRCA field because with Foundation, FGX, Siggi's and Sids taking up half the field, this may look more like a club race. Robert Rakowitz has been killing it all winter, but we have yet to see how that translates into the 'real' world. Alexei Zakharov and Ben Turrell should also do well if they are on form.
Cat 5's, I am not even trying t o pick winners there - too many fields and too many unkowns. Win this year and I'm sure we will pick you out as a threat next year in the Cat 4s.
In the Pro/1 race CRCA has two riders, both from the Champion System team - best of luck to Greg Olsen and Zoltan Tisza...
Women Cat 3: Great to see a strong group of CRCA women in this field. I think Suzanne Lucash will be the best of a competitive field. Erica Adelberg and BrittLee Bowman should both perform well too.
Women Cat 4 Blue: Lisa Kennish has been holding her own in the men's field lately in her bid to reach peak form for Battenkill. My outside pick is Erica Tricarico who although unproven on this kind of course, has performed strongly during the season to date.
Women Cat 4 White: Emily Spence started her cycling career off very strongly and I suspect that with her triathlon background, she will do well on this course also. Carol-Lynn Mills is also racing well and super strong and she is my second pick in this field.
Women Pro/1/2: A tough field with Farm Team, Team Kenda, and Specialized-Mazda from Canada bringing strong teams. Fabienne Gerard and Raquel Miller will be representing CRCA so best of luck to both of them. My non-CRCA pick is Monika Sattler from XO Communications.
On Sunday, the Elite team from Champion System presented by Stan's NoTubes will be racing in the UCI race. Good luck guys!
So that's it. The above by the way is presented in the order presented on Bikereg. Best of luck to everyone who is racing. If you haven't thought hard yet about tire selection, tire pressure, "two or three bottles?", feed zone and how you are going to hold back until the final climb, then you are not really taking Battenkill seriously.... And for those of us who are unsuccessful, we will be compiling this year's set of best excuses ("I chose the wrong chain lube" has already been submitted)...