Rolling Thunder Cyclocross Race November 3rd

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Mid Season Awards

MT cyclocross is coming out with a new shirt for the 4th of July extravaganza. Limited edition.

While road season is dwindling down in Montana, mountain season is in full swing and cross season is on the horizon. Let's take a look back at the road season thus far. Don't forget July 20th Bearmouth road race, and Valley West Crit in Bozeman.

Most Improved: Most improved on the male side goes to Marshall Opel. He bust onto the scene at Tour of the Bitteroot, and contined his hot riding at Cow Country. He wasn't finished and placed 2nd two times in a row at Star Meadows and Eden. Bright future. On the ladies side Danyel Longmire gets the nod. She has always had the talent but this year really pushed herself into the elite ladies club. Honorable mention goes to Jean Meyer, Willy Zellmer, Howard Williams, and Kelly Grove.

Ageless Wonders: It's easy to pick the all time ageless wonder Longmire, but I really can't go with anyone else. He's so fast. On the ladies side it's and easy pick for me. Possibly one of the strongest road riders Montana has ever see, Tamara (T-money) takes honors. She will be at Nationals this weekend.

Best Team: On the guys side you gotta go with the defending champs. GAS carpools to races and is the only team who truly races as a team. Regardless of reputation they race for the rider who is on form for that race. Any rider on their team is ready to dedicate themselves to the leader. Veterans Morgan, Lussier, and Curry (not really a veteran) show great leadership and that sets the tone for the team. Sebastian, Jason, Tomas, Lackey, and Frykman race hard regardless of form. Each year it seems like they gain 1 or 2 quality riders. On the ladies side a re-vamped Northern Rockies squad takes the prize. Led by much improved Grove, Longmire, and the captain Tamara. Solid consistent peformers Nadia, G-dine, Joey, Megan and can win on their own but usually provide strength to the team cause.

Best Race: Rocky Mountain Roubaix. Not just because NRO put it on!!!!!!! Hear me out. It was the most competitive race in the state. Erik Andersen and his Vertical Earth squad pushed Montana cyclists to the limit. My only regret is that it wasn't a little later in the season. Muhlfeld and Josh were on solid form, but what if GAS, Frank, Scotty, Kiefer, Marshmellow were on form as well. Were talking major showdown. Already, there were groups all over the road, and the racing was hot and heavy.

Most Underated: Most underated on the men's side is Alex Lussier. He's always there. More folks noticed him this year, but usually he doesn't get much props. To me it started at the State Championship cross race where I think he took fourth and tooled the crap out of Doug Dale. A close second is the Flathead Team. Greenburg is a hell of a time trialist and Noonan is a great rider that will bring one of his breakaways to the line some day soon. Also, Gaertner, Chauner, Chance, the squad is legit. On the ladies side Amy Frykman from Team Delphine gets the nod. She is leading the cat 4 women's series and is strong part of an impressive Delphine Team. Besides after the year the Frykmans' are having one of them needs to win something.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Eden Road Race - Not for the faint of heart

The Eden Road Race was a new edition to the Montana calendar. John Juras had always advertised it as one of Great Falls epic rides. If you've never done a race before, it makes it easier to just jump into it with confidence. When you get prepared for Cow Country you know your going to be out there for 3 hours on a hilly loop in the middle of nowhere. Great Falls was hot and windy. Velonews has been putting out these little "how the race was won diagrams," I wish I could do something like that for this race. It was complicated. We hit the major climb 3 times. Stick with me as I run down the scenarios:

There were 16 or so starters with GAS having the biggest squad of five guys. 6 miles in Noonan attacked taking myself, Tomas, and Wehyrich with him. We hung out for 2 miles until Montana Velo brought us back. Noonan countered his own previous move and this time took Josh with him. Brad, Frank, Kiefer, Greenburg, Curry, Alex, and Marshall all followed. Noonan dropped to the second group which contained myself, Warren, Wehyrich, and Sebastian, chasing at 30 seconds. Behind us was two groups. Willy and Howard chased at 30 seconds, and behind them Tomas and Digby chased at 30 seconds. So picture 4 different echelons 30 seconds apart on the windy plains of Great Falls.

The lead group stays together up the first climb. The second group splinters with Noonan pushing the tempo. The five of us sprawl on the climb. At the top Noonan, Sebastian, and Warren form the second group on the road, Wehyrich and myself form the third group. Howard drops Willy and is now riding solo. While Willy, Tomas, and Digby hook up for the 5th group on the road.

Back in to the head wind stretch. Frank gets tailed a bit from the lead group but catches back on. The leaders are still together, but have increased their gap by more then 2 minutes now. Noonan gets a flat in the second group, while Sebastian and Warren power on. Wehyrich and myself get within 20 seconds of the second group but we can't close the gap. Behind Noonan hooks up with Howard, and the Willy/Digby/Tomas group keep rolling smooth. Still no crazy gaps. All within 1-4 minutes.

The second time up the climb sh** hits the fan. The leaders drop Greenburg, and Alex. So they're now each riding solo. Warren drops Sebastian and they're now each riding solo. Wehyrich drops me and we are riding solo. Howard and Noonan stick together, and Tomas drops Willy and Digby.

Heading into the last climb (the short lap) you had folks everywhere! The heat was unbearable, as riders started to run out of water. At the turnaround it was Josh, Marshall, Kiefer in group 1. Group 2 was Frank and Brad chasing at 30-45 sec. Then there were solo riders seperated by no more then 30 seconds. Greenburg, then Alex, Warren, Sebastian & Wehyrich, myself, Noonan & Howard, Tomas, Willy, and Digby. All with a chance of catching eachother.

Up the climb we went for the last time. The leaders stuck together, and sprinted it out at the finish. Josh survived a strong sprint from Marshall. Kiefer threw in some attacks with 1k to go, but finally settled for third in the sprint. Brad rode in front of Frank as he was suffering from the heat. All the solo riders stayed pretty much together. Howard and Noonan caught me but stopped for water at a spicket.

Into the finishing 8 miles. Greenburg showed his TT prowess and caught and passed Frank and Brad for 3rd in the 1/2's. Morgan held off a hard charging Wehyrich, but Frank couldn't and finished 6th in the 1/2's. Warren survived Sebastian's charge and the two of them came in 2nd and 3rd in the 3's. Alex who was in no man's land (just like everyone else), got passed by Warren and Sebastian but held off myself/Noonan/Howard to take 4th in the 3's. Our little group came in together, followed by Tomas solo, then Willy solo, then Digby solo. What a crazy race. The gaps never got pushed to absurd numbers, you could always see someone just in front.

Marshall has come into his own this season. It's exciting to see another young talent in Montana. I always thought Marshall was good, but after the last month I've seen is full potential. For my money were looking at the next Owen Gue, Andy Fisher, TJ, Schultzs', type talent. He's still only 17 and was banging with Josh and Kiefer in the sprint. Althought I am a relatively new racer (3 years) it's great to have seen how far Marshall has come in just those 3 years. Same too for Willy Zelmer. Willy is only 15 and just upgraded to a cat 3. The sky is the limit for these two young guns. It's great to see the young talent. I've enjoyed watching these guys improve, and I can't wait to see what the future holds. Now all we need is some young cyclocross talent :)

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Granja Del Cerdo

First off major props to everyone who pulled the double this weekend; Alex L, John & Lisa Curry, Longmire, Howard and Tomas. Alex and Lisa had the most consistent weekends. Alex finished up with two fourth places and Lisa had a 2nd and a third (I think).

Granja Del Cerdo was a first year event, put on by The Great Northern Cycling Team and HW. The race was fast and flat. Laps were around 5.5 miles. Muhlfeld took the race by the horns and pulled away on the first lap. Along the course he was getting mixed reports on time splits and relaxed thinking his lead was cushy enough for the Dub. John "Flurry" Curry (hahaha Longmire) was riding in 2nd and heard a 1:30 split to Clint. He punched it with everything he had and caught Clint on the last lap to take a big MT MTB victory. The expert field was tough. Notable riders missing were Frank the Tank and Doug Dale.

Other observations from the race:

*Being a single speeder I give props to Chance Cooke for his 8th place in the expert race.

*Butterfield and Chalmers had a nice battle for the final podium position. That's a deep race if Martin and Chalmers are fighting for 3rd and 5th after the success they've had on the trail this year.

*Montana mountain bikers are fast.

*Jason Schmidt rode away from the pack in the sport field to take an impressive victory.

*Kenda Titus rider and Missoula native Zephanie Blasi stole the show in the women's race. Travelling the NORBA circuit is different then the MORS series.

*Big field, 50+ for sure, they ran out of hats just as I finished registering. The hats are sick HW.

*The BBQ pork sandwiches alone gave the race an A in my book.

*Clint's Cannondale Caffeine 29er is nastttttyyyyyy.

Photos coming.