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.
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