Rolling Thunder Cyclocross Race November 3rd

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Missoula Wednesday Night Cross #4

You'd like to call the Missoula races tune-ups or practice races for the Montana weekend events. In theory they are, but in Missoula they have formed into the who's who of bicycle riding. Beyond the top 4 in the men's A group, riders are fighting tooth and nail for every place they can get. Yesterday, as I started my usual race fade from front to back, I started falling farther back then normal and got the pleasure to see some of these battles. The Men A started off ok, with Dave, Toby, and Doug forming a group and putting the pressure on early. Bill did his usual thing, by passing all of us took take a solo fourth place. Doug attacked Dave and Toby on the bunny hop log and then blocked them through the S-curves to take the victory. He did it on his new bike, which I think will give him the confidence he needs to get on the Thunder podium. Dave consistent again, showed why has owned this series for the past couple years and finished 2nd. I believe that puts him on top of the series. Toby, mastered the art of hung over racing and held on for third. I don't quite no where all the A's finished up, but I believe Elliot grabbed and impressive 5th place, followed by Mike, Brink, Horan, and Erik D. This is where some real racing is going on. The 5th-10th places are battled for each week. There is never a pack, it's just every rider going all out trying to catch the person in front of them. It's great racing. Each rider has their own strengths. It was nice to see Horan up there again, he's definetly established himself as a rider for the future. Also, Erik had a good race, staying steady the whole time.

In the men's B Kyle Shannon put on an impressive showing. Some say it was fueled by his lack of being in the pre-Thunder race predictions. Whatever the case Kyle showed the B's what was up last night. Tom Sullivan and Kyle teamed up for the second half of the race and distanced themselves from the masters and men's B fields. Speaking of Tom Sullvian.....he the performance of the night. Tom, came out on a mission and easily won the masters. He's got a new cross bike and he's racing Thunder, watch out! John W., came in a consistent 2nd holding on to his masters series lead. Bookwalter finished second in the B's and continues his impressive riding on a mountain bike.

In the women's race Heidi G. continued her domination. I don't know who came in after that, but I'd really like to know. Megan G. was up there for sure as well as Kelly G. and Danyel. Looks like it will be a strong women's field at Thunder.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Rolling Thunder Preview

With Rolling Thunder coming up this Saturday, I thought I would come up with my official predictions, thoughts, and observations:

Men's A
The men's A race has been built up by the lack of appearances by Missoula racers in the Montana races. This includes Phil Grove, Dave Hartman, Doug Shryock, and Toby Meirerbachtol. All four of these guys have been dominating Missoula cross for the past three weeks. However, in the Montana races John Curry has continued his form from road and mountain and had impressive showings in all three races. You can't count out Frank Gonzalez or Bill Martin both guys have been having great cross seasons so far, particularily Frank who seems to be having his best cross season to date. Then there are the Flathead guys, consisting of Clint and Ben Parsons. Clint is the defending Rolling Thunder Champion and will be making is cross season debut this year at Rolling Thunder. Clint "the lung" Muhlfield cannot be counted out. Especially after his impressive Rolling Thunder performance of 2006. Ben Parsons jumped onto the scene this year in road biking, taking a couple big races. He is an unkown quantity in cross but you can't count him out. Don't forget about the legend, Geoff Proctor, he's always up for suffering.
1st: Phil Grove (he's on a roll in Missoula racing, 2 victories Missoula cross, 1st hillclimb 13:04, 2nd at the Duathlon the kid doesn't even run!, 2nd at least year's Thunder motivates him for the W this year)
2nd: John Curry (the guy is a legite athelete, so far he has two 2nd's, and a win in this year's Montana Cross, I'd say he's good for a podium at Rolling Thunder)
3rd: Doug Dale Shryock (it's always a risk picking Doug with his mechanical problems, but when this guy is problem free he puts the power into the cross bike, he has one victory in the Missoula series, but he will make the podium at Thunder I guarentee it)
4th: Clint Muhlfield (Clint's fast and will always be fast, but I haven't seen him race this season, he's in 4th because of last year's result at Thunder, and I know he won't let Shryock's wheel go)
5th: Toby Meirerbachtol (his new bike has been the difference this year, he's got a 2nd and 3rd in the Missoula series, and is hungry for a top 5 at the Thunder, besides Dave he could be the best technical rider in the field)

Men's B
The men's B is always highly contested as we saw at last year's Rolling Thunder. It's a great group of up and comers and fit, but not as serious racers. This year we have lots of racers who are really on the border of A's and B's. Rimrock Racing has been at the Montana Cross races and had strong showings. However, the Missoula guys are still showing the B field what's up.
1st: Bob Presta (if he doesn't upgrade to A's, he'll be hard to beat in B's, his technical skills are starting to catch up with his natural power and fitness, watch out)
2nd: Ben Horan (if he races B's watch out, he's been building fitness and focusing on cross this year, no mistakes or mechanicals and he's on the podium for sure)
3rd: Warren Smith (a Rimrock racing guy he's posted consistent results, and is poised for a podium spot at Thunder)
4th: Erik Digby (impressive showings at the Missoula series as well as in Butte grabbing the hole shot, I expect Erik to be in the top 5)
5th: Murphy Woodhouse (Murphy is winning the Missoula series, but I'm nervous about his consistency, he's pumped for the Thunder should be in the top 5 if he races to his potential)

Just like the Men's A we have a showdown between Missoula racers who have yet to prove themselves at the Montana level versus proven Montana-wide talent. Heidi Gaskill has stormed onto the Missoula scene with two victories. Lisa Curry continues her presence on the Montana circuit, she won in Butte and I'd expect to see her in the hunt at Rolling Thunder. Also, we have Michelle Richardson, Danyel Longmire, and Megan Gaskill all fighting for a spot on the podium.
1st: Heidi Gaskill (when she races she wins, it's as simple as that, I watched her at mountain bike nations......."an untapped well of natural talent")
2nd: Lisa Curry (she is the best racer in the field, she knows how to race, and gets results)
3rd: Danyel Longmire (I gotta go with my teamate on this one, she is getting faster, and her running will put her over the top on a run heavy Thunder course)
4th: Michelle Richardson (consistent performances put her in the top five, but Danyel will be peaking for this race)
5th: Megan Gaskill (not as good on the dirt is she is on the road, but still unlimited power, watch out for her on the pavement sections)

Master's Men
The master's men is another hottly contested field. I'm convinced most of these guys could and should race A's. However, it provides great racing and competition. The perenial Missoula racing legend John Wehyrich will be the hunt, but there are also some newcomers.
1st: John Wehyrich (he's to consistent not to pick, plus he's been getting better all season, I'd be suprised if he wasn't in the top two)
2nd: Scot Smith (another Rimrock guy who's got what it takes, I believe he's new to the sport but I expect big things from him at the Thunder)
3rd: John Fiore (the legend of Missoula cross will again show we he kills at a technical course)
4th: John Coulthard (another consistent racer, who always seems to be up there, expect to seem him in the top five)
5th: Tom Sullivan (he's a tough rider with tons of power, even on a mountain bike I wouldn't be suprised to see him in the top five)

Bozeman, Montana #3

The second race of the weekend was at Lindley Park in Bozeman. This was a great course primarily on grass. Lots of rolling terrain and dismount sections. In the men's A again the no namer dominated the field. John Curry held on as long as he could. I think Bill Martin was third. Which is a great result for him, representing Missoula. Frank was fourth, and again John Lackey, and Thomas were in the mix. After that came me chugging along. I felt much better then I did the day before. Also, it helped that there were lots of dismounts, that type of course suits me better. I battled with Troy Kindred from Montana Velo, until I attacked on one of the run-ups while he was having some mechanical issues. Although it wasn't a huge result, it made me feel alot better about my presence in the A field. I haven't been racing well this year, and it's made me start questioning what category I should be racing. Hopefully my form is coming and I can start producing better results.

In the women's race the Kenda woman again dominated, followed by Lisa, and the Montana Velo rider.

I'm not sure what happened in the B's, but I know a master's rider came flying by me in the latter half of the race. He was wearing a kit I didn't recognize.

Bozeman, Montana #2 & #3

This past weekend was spent in Bozeman racing cross. Unfortunately, I couldn't get any of the fellas the join me (it was the beermile weekend). So, Anna, Cassidy and myself headed to Bozeman for the second weekend of Montana racing. The Big Sky race was first up. The course was fast with lots of hard packed sections. The seperating factors were a short run up and an S curve section with some barriers. In the Men's A a new guy (I don't know his name or where he's from) grabbed the hole shot from John Curry and Frank Gonzalez. The was the last I saw of them. This new guy went on to take the victory in a very impressive showing. John and Frank rounded out the top three once again confirming their fitness for Rolling Thunder. Bill Martin again displayed his consistent riding coming in fourth. Behind was John Lackey and Thomas from GAS and two Montana Velo riders I have never met. I rounded out the A's in last place with a miserable race. My derailuer issues continued as well as my lack of power.

In the B's race Bob Presta continued his impressive inagural cross season with a victory. He came up on me on the second to last lap, just hammering. Hopefully, Bob will move up the A's soon. The master's race was hot, until the second half of the race when a guy got away from the others and took the victory.

The women's race was dominated by a women from team Kenda. She took it from the gun and never relinguished the lead. Lisa Curry took second, and a Montana Velo rider finished third. My teamate Anna was fourth.