MT Cross has gotten lucky with two race weekends and two excellent race reports from winners. Thanks Josh and great job this weekend.
Cow Country Race Report:
There was a good showing at the Cow Country Classic with Montana Velo, GAS, Flathead, Sportsmans, and FVV. Representing NRO was Shaun Radley, Andy Fischer, and myself. The race started off much like the Tour of the Bitterroot… I had to go pee. Unlike the Tour of the Bitterroot, we managed to organize two pee-breaks during the flat out-and-back section of the race which was much appreciated. After the second pee-break a group of three riders were allowed a small gap, and once they realized what had happened they proceeded to open a very large gap on the rest of the field. The brake was composed of two GAS riders and a Flathead rider who seemed to be working well together. After speaking with Shaun and Andy we decided we would pull through if other teams would work with us, and make sure our legs stay relatively fresh for the approaching climbs.
The breakaway riders had over 2 minutes on the pack when we hit the main loop and John Weyhrich and another GAS rider managed to get themselves off the front. Montana Velo and Sportsmans set a tough tempo on the first climb pulling back John W. and dropping a good portion of the field. We crested the hill with only five or six riders, however four or five riders bridged back up on the descent. At this point we realized the GAS rider with John W. had bridged the gap and now the break was comprised of 3 GAS riders and 1 Flathead rider, which was not ideal. A few attacks and counters went off on the next few hills but we eventually settled down and started working to bring down the gap which had over three minutes.
I was unfamiliar with the course, but thanks to Shaun, I knew that there were a couple big climbs approaching on Hwy 200 and thought that would be a good place to attempt to split the group a bit and pull the break in. Unfortunately there was a mishap on the climb which resulted in two riders hitting the pavement. There was a general agreement to set a soft tempo on the climbs and allow the riders to rejoin the group, which also gave us the opportunity to agree that we would work together until we caught the breakaway that was still over a minute up the road. Once the two riders involved in the crash came back, everyone worked well and set a strong tempo which brought the breakaway riders back with less than 10 miles to the finish. Alan Adams put in a huge attack on a downhill section as soon as we caught the break and it took a big effort to grab his wheel. Frank Gonzalez bridged up to us and I really thought that was going to be the deciding move. The only team not represented behind us was Sportsmans, so I knew there wouldn’t be a huge chase coming, but as usual I was wrong and we were all together on the next climb. With the finish finally in sight everyone was content playing cat and mouse as we crawled to the 1K to go sign. Just when I thought it was going to be an easy roll up to the 200meter sign, a Billings rider blasted up the left side. I made a jump on his wheel thinking he would lead me out to the 200meter to go sign, but he let up and then no one else launched so I tried to position myself in the middle of the road and listened for anyone shifting gears. Finally with 150meters to go I heard a shift to my left and saw Morgan and Frank start moving up. Let’s hear it for uphill sprints, otherwise I would have been dead in the water.