Matt Seeley is the bomb. He successfully mastered the art of putting on a race. Amazing support, grub afterwards, adventurous course, and free free free.
We had a great day up in Polson. The ride situation out of Missoula was shady. Between Dale, Pipo, and myself we don't have reliable long distance transportation. So we ended up convincing Pipo's sister KG to role with us in her Volvo. We showed up and immediately were welcomed by Seeley. He went over the course map and "John" gave us his cell phone number in case of emergencies (that was helpful later). The race started on the pavement for 5 or so miles. I don't think anyone but Matt knew what to expect. We hit the first dirt section and it was every man for himself. Dust was everywhere, back wheels were swishing through inch deep gravel. Once back on the pavement everyone's adrenaline was still bumping from the gravel. People started riding hard tempo on the front. H. Williams slipped off the front for a solo move. He lasted a couple miles until the first little rise. Halpin attacked hard on the rise and opened up a 30 second gap. Up the second hill Seeley, myself, Bill, and Doug set a mean tempo in attempt to bring Halp back. Then we hit the second long stretch of gravel and things broke up for good. Doug, Seeley, Bill, and Halpin took turns hitting the front. I was feeling good sitting on, but flatted a mile into the stretch. That began my adventure of riding 10 miles and flatting for the rest of the day. I didn't mind because the scenery was spectacular. Once back on the pavement the elite group of Bill, Halp, Dale, and strong un attached dude powered on. Seeley flatted (twice). Bill was the strongest rider on the day. He pulled away on every dirt section, and won the race on a solo breakaway by a big margin. Halpin and Doug got passed on the finishing climb. H. Williams, and Seeley were up in the top ten. Landstrom from Flathead had a good race....I think third. Pipo and myself were off the back all day with crashes and flats. KG and Connelly had a mix of flats and getting lost. It was organized carnage. There were 3 wheel cars!! The support was incredible. I got two wheels. One of the support cars who was out of wheels and kicked it with me for 20 minutes while we waited for help. All the volunteers were perfect. Our crew of Connelly, Halpin, Dale, Pipo, KG, and myself probably called "John" 5 times for help.
The day was awesome. Matt Seeley and his family made the event. It felt like a big family picnic with a super hard ride in the middle. I hope some MT folks will follow suit and put more unofficial races on the calendar. Check out the Great Northern Cycling blog as I think H Williams is putting on a race up in the YAK.