Rolling Thunder Cyclocross Race November 3rd

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Wednesday Night #4 - The battles continue

Thank you Horanimal for setting up the course last night.

As I was disappointed as I fell from the A's.........until I realized the B's were coming on strong and I finally would be able to provide a solid report for the B men. The lead group was riding super fast. They were all together until with 2 or 3 laps to go when Greg Larson put in a big surge. The lead pack contained NRO riders Dan Pierce and Jessie Doll (I think), J Dunph, Bookwalter, Genco, A Riley, and maybe a couple others I've forgotten. It looked like the FVV man just splintered the group in the latter laps as riders were spread everywhere. Great work by Larson to be agressive and go earn his first victory.

The A's started with Dave, Bob, and Elliot getting fast starts. Soon, the dust settled and the lead group formed with Dale, Bob, and Dave. Elliot was chasing hard in 4th and Martini was pushing him in 5th. Martini outlasted EB for 4th. Fiore was consistent in 6th. After that I'm not sure. I think Wehyrich was pushing hard in 7th (1st in masters). Bob took his 4 consecutive victory, with Dave coming in 10 s back, and then Douger. Great racing by the leaders.

Ladies racing continues to heat up. Lots of women on the course last night. Soph got second and I think Nicky took first again.

Great racing in preparation for Rolling Thunder!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Rolling Thunder Part 2 - The Course, Logistics, and Prizes

Click on the image of the course if you'd like a blown up version. We'll try to stay close to this design unless we need to push lap times out a little farther. If you can see the finish line, I'll take you through the course: The finish line is in the middle of the long straight paved section. After the finish is a right hand bend over a ditch and into our double barrier set (The Big Dipper Tripper - Thank you Big Dipper Ice Cream), then a hard right into the Rhino Bar Beer Garden section/Great Northern Cycles Pit Area, a couple turns on typical Missoula hard packed rough dirt with weeds, and then back onto the pavement, some sharp corners on the pavement, and then into the stadium (just like last year ride the hard packed warning track), out the stadium and into a loose gravel section with a 180 turn, then out of the outer fence to the stadium and back onto some hard packed bumpy dirt, into the Missoula Bicycle Works Whoop Section and around the banked corner, some turns and into our only single track straightaway, down the hill (probably the most technical part) to the Sapphire Physical Therapy Pit of Dispair, back up the run - up and onto some pavement for the re-mount, then a grass descent to a hard packed uphill slog (1-2% grade) titled "The Locker" , hard left and your on the finishing straight. That's the general layout.

Bathrooms are located behind the stadium stands behind home plate. We also have two porta poties conviently located near registration. The main entrance to the stadium will be blocked off to car traffic. Drive a couple 100 feet past the entrance and you'll see an open gate with a Rolling Thunder sign, turn left. Park in the field. Registration will go from 12-2pm, with Pre-Registered riders able to check in up until a half hour before race time. Only Pre-Reg can check-in past 2pm, no new registration. Podiums will be done ASAP after each race. Kids race starts at 2:30 (quarter lap), followed directly by the junior/beginner race - 25 minutes. DJ Downtown Joel Brown will be on hand spinning the latest cuts all night, along with the Rhino Bar who will be serving beer and wine throughout the event (21+ only).

Prizes have gotten a bit mixed up over the past couple months and I apologize for that. Please no comments on this one, I'm merely writing to keep everyone informed and the prize list will not change from now until Thunder. As originally stated back during the planning stages the Kona Major Jake frame/fork (Missoula Bicycle Works donated) will go to the winner of the women's race. The Felt F35x complete cyclocross bike (Great Northern Cycles donated) will go to the winner of the men's 1,2,3. The Felt F35x is a size 51cm. So, it's probably not going to fit the men's winner. However, the bike retails for $1600 and comes with a sweet group. This change in information is opposite of what the registration SBO website says and what the fliers have said up until now. Also, along those lines I want to be clear about the men's category 3 riders. Men's 3's have their own prize purse. They also are eligble to win the bike if they win the race. So, in the instance a men's 3 wins the race he will collect 1st place cat 3 prize money and the bike. While the first place 1/2 will take the cash but not the bike. Confusing, but I hope everyone gets it.

Once again please no comments on the prize stuff. The post is merely just informing you of the change. Thank you and see you on Saturday.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Rolling Thunder Part 1 - Men's 1,2,3 Media Guide

Rolling Thunder is less then 4 days away and the pre-race preparations are already taking place. Pumpkin carving, course prep, course demo, and equipment pick-up are all in full swing.

Beyond all that boring stuff who's racing in the main event and who are you going to cheer for? This post is for the fans. Some of you may question how many cyclocross fans there are in Montana. Trust me there's more then you think. I'll admit it I'm a big fan. That's why I started the blog. So here's a guide to the favorites for Rolling Thunder (in no order).

Brad Morgan - Brad started racing cross last year and has learned quickly. He started off his season with a good 3rd at Moose Cross, and continued with a solid 5th in Helena, 1st in the crit, and 2nd last week in Big Sky. Brad's known for his big engine but I think his cross skills are catching up.

Bob Presta - Bob is the most improved cross racer of the year. He's swept all three Missoula Wednesday Night races and been consistent on the Montana circuit with a 5th, 4th, and 7th. Bob is not afraid of big stages and will not shy away from going out with the leaders. Look for him to be aggressive a near the front.

Frank Gonzalez - Frank won the state championship last year and also placed third in Rolling Thunder. He won impressively in Big Sky and should carry some killer form into the Thunder. Frank should do well on a less technical Thunder course. Also, he seems to thrive on nasty weather. Look for Frank to race near the front. He has an uncanny ability to go into stealth mode and slip his way off the front.

John Curry - John is the leader of the Montana Series with wins in Butte and the Helena Omnium. I think he'd love to come back to Thunder and show a big crowd that he is much faster then his mechanical performance last year. John knows how to race. He can always find the pain cave and at times shows flashes of dominance. Don't be surprised if you see J Curry riding in solo.

Clint Muhfeld - Clint has won Rolling Thunder two years in a row. Enough said. He obviously has what it takes. He hasn't raced this season, but if he shows up to Thunder he'll be near the front. Clint can put it deep in the red. Especially early in a race. Look for Clint to take it out super hard. Three wins in a row would be extremely impressive.

Doug Shryock - Doug Dale got 2nd at last year's Thunder. He usually has a nice Missoula cheering section. Ole Dale is always capable of something special. He says he's got an equipment surprise for the Thunder (I'm scared). Regardless Doug is fun to watch, and a great athlete.

Geoff Proctor - I'm pumped that Geoff is making is Rolling Thunder debut this year. He's been racing super good so far with a 2nd and two 3rds. He obviously knows how to race and how race on big stages. Look for Geoff to either be 1st or 2nd out of the blocks and put the pedal to the floor early. As one of the founding fathers of cyclocross in the US it's a honor to have Geoff at the Thunder.

Bill Martin - Bill posted a nice 5th place last weekend and seems to getting his cross legs underneath him. He's got hometown support and Muleterro support (which counts for alot). Expect to see Bill charging through the ranks after a slow start.

Alex Lussier - One of the toughest racers out there Lussier has continued his strong racing this cross season. He took a great 4th in Butte, and is always dangerous. It the front stays in a group look for Alex to throw down some mean attacks to soften the bunch up. He's a great crosser and loves to get into Davey Jones Locker. Look for him to pick people off towards the end of the race.

Scott Herzig - Over my brief racing history (4 years) I've never seen Scotty Herzig race so well or be so motivated for cross. He tore it up in Butte with a great 3rd place. Seeing that there's nothing super crazy on this year's course expect Herzig to be with the leaders. I'm so happy that he's out there racing and racing well.

Dave Hartman - Dave is one of the best technical riders out there. He focuses soley on cross and is a threat in any race. He's been racing more consistent this year and the hometown crowd should help him. Look to see Dave riding lines and doing things that other racers aren't.

Tomas Dombrovsky - Like Bob, Tomas is another one of those much improved cross racers. He might not quite make the lead group but I wouldn't be surprised if he did. He's racing extremely well and looks to be on his best ever cross season.

Toby Meirerbachtol - Toby has been impressive in his Seattle debut. After a wild Star Crossed he backed it up by winning his second cross race in the 3's. He upgraded for the following week and placed 13th. He's a big time rider and rides well on the big stage. Look for Toby to be giving it his all somewhere near the front.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Big Sky Cyclocross - The Frank GGGGGGGGGGGGG call is back!

Photos by Patricia Dowd

Saturday at Big Sky was a great day of Montana racing. The snow was flying and the wind was blowing. The course stayed firm, with accumulations really starting after the race was finished. I commend Alan Adams and the GAS crew for promoting is such extreme conditions. As we all know the only thing worse then racing in bad weather is setting up and tearing down a course in bad weather. Thank you.

The first race saw a great start by Guy from GAS rallying on his mountain bike. After a lap or two cat 4 phenom Karl Vanderwood and Jason Delmue emerged from the pack. They formed a big gap and looked strong the whole race. After that came a hard charging Genco and a Downtown Joel Brown sighting in 4th. It looked like Delmue had trouble with his pedals on the last dismount section coming off the hill. Vanderwood kept charging without even looking back and took a well deserved victory. It was nice to see Jason challenge Karl and I thought it was great racing at the front of the pack. The ladies race saw the return of A Frykman from the Team Delphine (back for more after her Helena debut), Julianna (sp) from Muleterro, and LC all returning to fight for the crown of top lady at Big Sky. There was one twist as a Kenda Titus rider showed up and took charge of the race early on. In true Lisa fashion she never gave up. It paid off as something happened to the leader and LC snatched another victory, building confidence towards Rolling Thunder.

The men's race had 21 starters! On possibly the worst day in MT cross this season the race still had 21 starters. I love it. I remember racing with 10 dudes on perfectly sunny days. Anyways, as you can tell from the title of this post Frank "The Bear" "The Tank" "Grey Wolf" Gonzalez finally gave us a peak of his un-matched power. Holy crap. He rode un-challenged for most of the race. I don't know if J Curry was having mechanicals or not, but I know he was having trouble clipping in. Regardless, John came in a solid 4th. Geoff P continued his sweet riding and slotted in for 3rd after a hard fought battle with Brad. Brad rode awesome for 2nd and added his name to a list of favorites for the Thunder Title. Another great ride came from Bill Martin who finished 5th. He kept consistent and it paid off with a podium finish. Other great rides of the day came from Dave Bergart in 6th (I don't know who he is but he's fast), and Chris Connelly who finished 11th. Props to Bill Cochran for grabbing the A's again (thanks for the encouragement out there).

Big Sky Results