Thursday, June 12, 2008
There are no Montana road races this weekend. That means a roadie/off road showdown at the Discovery Mountain Bike Race this Sunday. With his blog in full effect we've all been front row spectators to Bill Martin's mountain bike winning. Bill has kept it going from last year's breakout performances. Most recently he scored at great second place at the Janna Brimmer Memorial. Others have been hot on the mountain bike trail. Joe Chalmers, has been racing well and looking strong. Also, perennial mountain bike man John Curry has hit a couple NMBS events and been strong on the road. Speaking of John, we get into the category I like to call Montana Racer. Montana Racers are dudes who when on form can compete for the win in mountain, road, and cross. John is a good road racer and a good mountain bike racer. Then there's Muhlfeld, who is a bomb mountain biker, and is having a good road season. Don't forget Alex Lussier, who is having an amazing road season, and I know is a good mountain biker. Ben Parsons is another road/mountain dude. I give these guys mad props. Switching between disciplines is harder then it looks. Mountain biking has hard efforts that make your lungs scream with pain. Road cycling is more of an tactical enduro fest. Anyways, I'm rambling.......
After Discovery, we have a new race on the MORS Calendar, the Granja Del Cerdo in Whitefish is sure to be an event to remember. Like Discovery this is a great start to the Montana mtb season. Beginners and recreation riders these two races are for you! Particularly Granja Del Cerdo, which is going to be more like a mountain bike party then a race. There offering a mtb circuit race which is a great idea. You get the excitement of cross, with gnarlier terrain. Scope the flier above for more information. Click on it for a larger view.
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Waxed in Washington
Question: What happens when a mangy crew from Misosula loads up a wagon and rolls over the Leavenworth Washington for the annual Bavarian bike and brew fest? Answer: We get totally whooped up on and partake in some serious après race tom foolery!
Friday evening Joel brown, Sophia Kirkos, Meg and I loaded up the wagon, spooled the turbos and pointed the nose into the setting sun. We arrived in Leavenworth around midnight and met up with Phil “pippo” Grove, Adam “terminator” Jensen, and Allen Adams. The race venue, camping and beer fest were all located a couple miles out of Leavenworth on an organic farm. You can only imagine our excitement as we pulled into the farm found our posse camped next to a large piece of old logging equipment. Pippo immediately handed everyone a cold brewski.
The morning of race day was anything but stressful. The open race started at noon and there was a serious injury in the sport race so it was pushed back till one. Soph, Meg and Joel started at ten in the beginner and sport classes. If there was one negative of the weekend it was the course; more or less a buffed dirt road climb for two miles then ultra smooth single track for the next four. Total elevation gain was 1800 vert per lap and open racers did the loop three times, sport two, beginner one. The descent was smooth single track with thick vegetation on both sides and huge water bars every few hundred feet……..LAME! I don’t know exact placing at this time but Joel, Soph and Meg all did pretty well. Unfortunately Pippo and I cannot say the same. Phil was riding his hammered single speed with a bent ridged fork that the wheel would not sit in properly and I rented a big full suspension 29er thinking the course was going to be steep and technical. Anyway when the gun went off I was off the back and Pippo kept crashing and breaking his bike. The climb was pure misery as expert age groupers that started minutes back of the open racers started nipping at my heels. The anvil I was pedaling up the hill was quickly draining my tank and I was starting to feel a major bonk coming on. About every ten minutes Phil would pass me then I would pass him back as he cursed and spit on the side of the trail while fixing a broken bike or patching himself up from a crash. Adam Jensen used his climbing skills to stay in range of the leaders but unfortunately he is the worst bike handler on the face of the earth and everyone including the ladies that started twenty minutes back would catch him on the descent. Overall the race was brutal and our placings were anything but impressive. To make matters worse a kid with braces won the whole thing.
On the plus side the brew fest was anything but miserable. Most of the racers stuck around and local breweries from all around Washington poured beer till the kegs were kicked. A live folk band and some serious hippie dancing and bongo drums set the tone as debaucherous tom foolery ensued. The great thing about hosting a race on an organic farm is all the free range farm animals. A few dogs kept most in hiding but once the sun set a few rouge bulls and some adventurous chickens started to make a ruckus. The party lasted till the wee hours of the morning and was followed by a freezing night where I was on the verge of hypothermia. All in all a fun weekend with hard racing and the company of good people. A little course work and it might just be the perfect race.
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Janna Brimmer Cross Country - Wild Rockies Round #2
There was lots of racing action going on up and down the Highway 93 corridor this past weekend. Whitefish, MT attracted Montana road racers for a two day omnium while Salmon, ID played host to the regions mountain bike racers.
The six mile cross country course in the foothills of Salmon had a mix of everything – a road climb, double track climb, loose off camber descents and some great single track along the Salmon River. For this race the Pro,Semipro & Experts lined up together for the mass start. I had a good starting position on the front row along with fellow Missoula racer Bill Martin but when the gun went off Boise pro Dave Harrison shot off the line like a rocket and had everyone fighting to stay on his wheel. Sixty seconds later as we hit the first climb there were five of us off the front but Dave’s fast start had created gaps even among the lead group.
Trek factory racer Brett Nichols used his climbing skills to quickly get to the front of the race while I was able to claw my way up to Bills wheel in third at the top of the first climb. A super fast single track descent and we were on climb number two. This is where positions seemed to work themselves out. Brett was off the front by fifteen seconds or so, followed by Dave and Bill with myself and Pacatello’s Ryan Butterfield taking turns leading each other up the climb about forty seconds back. The remainder of lap one consisted of hard chasing, body rattling descents and one last grunt climb to the start/finish of the four lap race.
On laps two and three I could always see the racers in front of me on numerous sections of the course but in mountain bike racing you seem to start fast and then settle into your own rhythm and closing gaps can be a big task later in the race. There never seems to be a moment of rest. Your body is either working hard on a climb or when your legs get a little rest you have to stay super focused on a descent or are working your body in a different way to make it through a tough technical section of the course. And then before you know it another hard climb is in your face.
Lap four was about maintaining: maintaining focus to avoid silly mistakes and trying to maintain the gap to Ryan Butterfield in front of me. In the end Brett Nichols took a well deserved overall win followed by hard charging Semipro Bill Martin who had dropped Dave Harrison late in the race. Ryan Butterfield finished fourth and myself in fifth (1st expert). I felt like I was fading pretty badly on the last lap but the next racer to come across the line was ten minutes back so I think our fast start had the other racers scrambling a bit to catch up.
Darrin and his crew with The Wild Rockies series put on top notch races and if you ever get the chance to take part in one of their events you will have a blast. If you are interested you can visit their website at www.wildrockies.com.
Montana’s first series race will be June 15th at Discovery Basin. Unfortunately I won’t be able to attend but I will be doing race reports from the Granja del Cerdo cross country race in Whitefish on the 21st as well as the big daddy – Deer Valley National on June 28th and 29th. Great job to fellow Missoula racers Garland Thayer, Alsen and Larry. Thanks to Larry Dent for the photo.
Monday, June 9, 2008
This past weekend looked wet and wild. Race reports are on there way. We've also got an exclusive look at the Leavenworth Bike and Brew Fest. Check out the dude with no sleeves. That's epic.
MT Cyclocross's very own Doug "Dale"Shryock will be providing an inside look at a crazy weekend. Looks like Dale and Pipo are trying to gain some form for the up coming cross season. Speaking of cross, I'm getting lots of feedback from riders and fans. This year is going to be the best yet. MT Cross will hopefully be debuting a new cross team, and putting on some side events.