Rolling Thunder Cyclocross Race November 3rd

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Deer Valley NMBS - MT Cross Field Reporter - Joe Chalmers

Deer Valley NMBS – Cross Country/Short Track Cross Country

A cloud of dust….that is what the start of the Semi pro cross country race must have looked like when the gun went off and 52 racers began sprinting uphill to try and hit the first section of single track in good position. John Curry weaved his way up the field like a Salmon from a mid pack start position and hit the single track close to the top ten. The first third of this challenging course was where most of the climbing took place and Curry was able to work his way well up into the top ten after six minutes of tough single and double track climbing. The long twisting descent left no room for passing and there must have been fifty switchbacks on this course. Combine that with 1400 feet of climbing per lap (3 total laps) and you were feeling it! On lap two Curry had solidified himself into the top five and was matching his pace from lap one. What was I doing during lap two? Racing my bike mostly but I also managed to head off trail twice on the long first descent. Trail departure one wasn’t too bad…missed a corner and had to climb back onto the trail. Trail departure two was a high speed, miss the corner, and flip over the bars into the brush type of thing. No damage done other than a train of nine guys that came flying by as I was climbing back up onto the trail. In the end John Curry had the power going full tilt and finished 3rd. What a ride by Flurry.

The highlight on day one for the Montana crew was watching the pro men duke it out. Not only did they have to do four laps, but in comparison to our early 8 a.m. start time where we had shade on a majority of the course, the pros got absolutely no love from the shade gods. It was hot! Missoula native Andy Schultz had the ride of his life and dropped the hammer on the climbs and little brother Sam and made his way up to finish an impressive 4th at the finish and his first podium. He got an unexpected face full of champagne from winner Ryan Trebon as a “welcome to the podium kid” gesture.

Short Track xc
They call short track ‘like nascar on steroids’ and I suppose there is some truth to that description. I just think it hurts A LOT! This 25 minute outing was pretty climb heavy for a short track and once again John Curry turned himself inside out during the race and climbed onto the podium again with a second place finish. After some mechanical trouble in the cross country race Alex Lussier made his presence felt by cracking the top ten!

The pro races were just plain fast! Every racer looked like they were just about to call it quits by the looks on their faces….except Geoff Kabush. He is one of those riders that never shows the pain with his body language. This humble Canadian is headed for battle in China for Olympic glory in about a month but he dodged some serious bullets from an on form Ryan Trebon in the final laps of the pro men’s race and unleashed one final attack on the last climb to take the W. Missoula boy Sam Schultz took a solid 6th. Missoula resident Zephanie Blassi rode a strong race in the tough woman’s pro field to battle for a top ten finish and her teammate and former long time Bozeman resident Heather Holmes came back from a tough start for a great 6th place.

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