Rolling Thunder Cyclocross Race November 3rd

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Helena Omnium (second report) - Phil Grove talks about returning to CX

Phil Grove rides for the Sportmans Ski Haus Cycling Team out of the Flathead Valley. This past summer he won the Big Mountain Mountain Bike Series and has finished 2nd at Rolling Thunder in 2006. He recently returned to competitive cyclocross this past weekend in Helena. Below is his report.

Cox Lake CX marked my return from a two year absence of "competitive" cross racing. I was super pumped to race with my new boys Ben and Matty B on the famed Sportsman Ski Haus race team. Its always easier to go hard when your with amigos.

After six weeks without a race and still on my mountain bike, I had little hope for the day other than maybe gaining a couple points for my thunder start position. So Parsons and me (Ben also had little expectation after all his epic riding and no speed work) lined up at the back of a strong 22 or so field. A gentlemanly start quickly turned into the inevitable full throttle death match when some bunching occurred on the first steep climb sending the first 6 guys free from the group. I kept my cool as I still was feeling very glacial but after another botched run up on the first lap I found myself in a familiar place from the last two years: fodder. At this point the Flying Green Dragon (my bike, undefeated at Thursday Night Race League) started to rise from its fall slumber. Before I knew it, all cylinders were firing and the dragon was picking off riders at a rate of 1-2 per lap. The best way to see a race unfold is to go from back to front, scoping out all the mini battles for position. All over the course, Mtcx battled Gas battled sportsman battled old broadmark kit... However the Dragon dislikes people hanging on his wings so every time time I caught someone I would turn on the afterburners and get at least ten seconds up the trail. Soon I began to find myself amongst the heads of state in the Montana cross scene. Matty B was locking horns with Bob P and the two couldn't shake each other. Further up the trail, Tob-e was mashing a mean gear but allowed me a brief respite from breathing fire on the near vertical run ups. After the big engine from MTcx, I knew there couldn't be anyone left except the turbos Curry and Ben. I rode the last 4 laps at about 90% because if you don't get to the finish line in one piece you don't get to the line!

Out of old habit I didn't ask Ben if he won because I thought for sure it was MT's National Caliber Curry. Little did I know that the Red Rocket from the K.S.S.R (Ben Parson of Kalispell) had reached the upper atmosphere of MT cross racing and taken his first win of many more to come in the sport of cold hands and feet.
From the Dragons Den,
Pippo the Powerful

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