GAS and Bozeman Masters Velo put on two great days of racing. We don't know the team results yet, but John C should have those in shortly. For now I'll provide my take on the weekends events.
Saturday's race was fast. Primarily because Cal Giant Strawberries dude (Mark Santurbane) showed up randomly and posted a 49 something. Yes a 49 something! After that the results were fairly predictable. Curry won (53 something), followed by Brad, then John W. In the 3's Sebastian won (55 something), which is no surprise to me. He's a fast time trialist and I expected him to post a solid time. In the ladies, Tamera won with (1:01 something). Delphine had a great showing with Amy Frykman and Patricia?? (sorry the name has slipped me). The talk of the race was Mark Santurbane.
The crits are always fun to watch because you get to see everyone race. I always hear things second hand, and yesterday I got to see the action unfold.
First race I watched was the Master's B/Junior Race. There were several things that folks were talking about during this race. First off Wyatt the Junior who rides for Hammer Nutrition (not more then 5'4" and 115) hung on to the pack the whole race. His coach told me he just placed 12th at this big Boise stage race. I'm calling it right now, this kid's going to be a stud. Besides, Wyatt I was impressed with Bozeman Masters Velo. They had the biggest team in the race and didn't disappoint. They took 1,2,3, and had impressive tactics. Instead of waiting for the sprint they launched going into the last lap with on of their TT specialists (sorry no names??) He broke the field up and caught everyone off guard. I thought Scotty Lenaburg was in good position, but got pinched in a corner and ended up in someone's yard. In the end there was only one rider who could hang with the Bozeman crew (Blue top).
Next up was the Master's A/Cat 4 race. This race was marked by aggressive riding from Kyle Shannon. He basically made the race. From the gun he widdled the field down to a select group of ten or so riders. Danger men were still in the bunch with Twohig, Fiore, and Armstrong. So, Kyle maybe worried about his sprint or maybe feeling strong attacked the group and held off the peleton with one other rider for 2 or 3 laps. It was very Brad Morgan esque. He was 20-30 feet off the front not looking back just doing work. It really hurt the fellas to bring it back, and I thought it was impressive tactics from the young NRO man. For all his work Kyle couldn't stop the Twohig train as he won the sprint for the masters victory. The sprint had a kink in it and Jeff timed it perfectly.
I was really looking forward to the ladies race. We were staying with the Curry's and so I got to talk to Lisa about racing, and the NRO women as well. So, I was into the race and the tactics. Delphine had a strong group of riders led by Amy F. It was a good field. Early on the field broke loose and shed Megan (NRO), and two others. The group of 7 or so settled in. Kelly Grove was marking Lisa, and Amy, Joey, and a couple others were contemplating their strategies in the back. Lisa had a teammate in the bunch who did big turns at the front. I think the teammate did just enough work to keep Lisa fresh for the sprint. What a great sprint. Lisa took the longest line (but the only line at the time) and still won! She came around Frykman on the right, and Kelly slid around Frykman on the left. So, we had Lisa, KG, Amy. Great tactical racing by Lisa, Delphine, and NRO. The three strongest riders were on the podium.
The men's race was kind of predictable. Josh and I were nervous about GAS's numbers. We tried not to think or talk about it and instead talked about our ideal situation and how to make that happen. I was not going to last in a break with any of GAS's strong riders, or anyone else for that matter. Our ideal situation was to get Josh in a break with either Brad or John. I told Josh that I thought both riders would make the break and that I don't think that's a bad situation for us. In the beginning my plan was help Josh cover moves, but not work in them. Were not going to win if I'm in the move, and I'll blow if I work. We got lucky as the moves started to fly I only had to cover one. It was long enough that when we got caught, Brad launched and Josh was there to counter. They instantly created at 10 second gap through the technical section of the course. GAS came to the front as rode an easy tempo. Flathead Russ, John W., Cliffbar man, and Jean Meyer pulled hard but without teammates it was tough to organize. After a couple laps of this Curry shot off the front. Cliffbar man jumped out as did John W. Curry road them off his wheel and bridged to Brad and Josh. At this point I was stoked. I knew that was the winning move. For the next while the bunch rode tempo. Alex, Seb, and Frkyman threw in attacks, but they were all covered by the now shrinking peleton. Alex's attacks got him the most aggressive rider award. Brad put in some big digs that put Josh on the rivet. This in the end gave John the edge in the sprint he needed. He flew to back to back victories and proved that he is the best all around rider in Montana.
At about 30 minutes left I started to think about how I was going to win the field sprint. John W, Alex, and Flathead Russ are three of the best sprinters in MT. I knew John and Flathead Russ had good long accelerations, and could easily over power me in a flat finish. I thought Alex would have Seb and Frykman kill everyone in the last couple laps, and then he could waltz by us. I kept thinking about how Alex seems to sprint well at the end of tough races. I knew that my attack would have to be surprising and have to be close enough to the finish that my sprint wouldn't burn out. The last lap came and I positioned myself in the top 4. Frykman pulled for 3/4 of the lap lining out the field. Then Seb came to the front and I was third wheel. I looked at John W. and he seemed poise to follow wheels going into the last corner. Seb swung a little to the right as if to say he was done pulling and there was that quick millisecond of who's going to pull next. I darted to the left as hard as I could. Right before I swung for the corner I looked back to see at little confusion. Out of the corner I kicked as hard as I could. I saw Dusty on the side jumping up and down and went as hard as I could. I thought about Josh's advice of hugging the left hand side as it was a shorter distance to the line. I looked back just before the line to see Alex charging super hard. Ahhhhh relief across the line. In a wild season, one which I rarely saw the finish with the leaders it was surreal to cross the line in that position. My message to new riders and young riders is simple. There are lots of ways to win races, and the strongest rider doesn't always win. Train hard, but race with your head. Race with a purpose.