Saturday, May 3, 2008

Belt Omnium

Belt Omnium is next weekend. An official Montana race has been long over due. The Rocky Mountain Roubaix was April 13th. Just to refresh, Erik Anderson of Vertical Earth took the victory. Clint was the top Montana dude in 2nd followed by Josh in 3rd. Sportman's looked tough with Matt Butterfield and Ben Parsons riding strong. GAS had a big contingent at the Roubaix and looked strong at Walla Walla. Montana Velo only had Herzig at the Roubaix, but expect Frank to be at Belt. With such a long period of time from the last MT race, form can change dramatically. Who will be gunning for the top Montana spot? What team will position themselves as the team to beat? In a windy course like Belt, I'd expect to see a tactically superior racer win. Last year Kiefer took the win and the year before was Scott Herzig. Both guys have proven they can ride a tactical race. Look for John Curry to be up there. I think he wants to show the contenders that the Roubaix was fluke. As usual watch out for Josh and Scotty.

In the ladies race Lisa Curry looks very good in the early season. This will be the first head to head battle between T-money and Curry in Montana. T-money has a good squad this year, but you never know what GAS has up their sleeve. Also, the Team Dauphine ladies have been riding strong. The competition is brewing nicely.

The 4/5 race should be taken by a 5VV. If Halpin's there I'd expect him to take the win. I think E Digby has the tactics to win the race, but I don't know if he upgraded yet. Other then that I think this is an open door for an up and coming rider to take the win. A couple years ago I was in the 4/5 race and got into a break with Chalmers, Curry, and Miles Key. Up until then I had never been in a breakaway or even seen the front of a race. It was a breakout day for me and gave me confidence in moving forward. Belt's great for new riders who are learning the tactical ropes. Stay near the front, and go hard up the hill. Look for one of 5VV's new riders to step up or even someone from NRO, Jeremy, ect.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Tour de Georgia Brasstown Bald

As usual Brasstown Bald played a deciding factor in the Tour de Georgia. This year there was no individual TT. Therefore, Brasstown would have more GC ramifications. In the last k little know High Road rider Sivtsov attacked out of a group of three. Trent Lowe of Slipstream was leading the race but could not follow Sivtsov's attack. Levi tried to follow but couldn't catch the High Road rider. Eventually, Lowe would sprint past Levi to claim second on the day. There was talk after the race regarding Slipstream's tactics. How come Lowe didn't follow Sivtov's attack if he had enough to sprint past Levi in the finale? In the VelonewsTV interviews both Lowe and Levi stick to their guns saying they were on the rivet and could not react to the young riders acceleration. However, Lowe's first interview right after the finale he mentions that he didn't expect Sivtsov to be there or know the time splits. I think Lowe and Slipstream made a tactical error. As soon as Sivtov went Levi tried to follow and Lowe could hold his wheel. If he can hold his wheel, he should at least be able to help in the chase. Then he sprints past him in the last 100 meters. Sivtsov was the strongest rider on the day, but I still think Slipstream could have come away with the overall victory. Regardless it was breakout performance for Lowe, who Vaughter's thinks could be a Tour contender in a couple years.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Montana Bicycle Racing

3 - 4 Road Cycling Clinic for Women register Helena - MBRA
10 Belt Creek Omnium ** * Both TT and RR are Women's Challenge Series events Great Falls (Belt) - Echelon Cycling Club
10 - 11 STOKR (non-competitive) Libby
13 - 18 Mt. Hood Classic Stage Race Hood River, OR
17 - 18 Tour of the Swan River Valley (non-competitive) Missoula
24 - 25 Tour of the Bitterroot Omnium * Only RR is a Women's Challenge Series event Hamilton - Five Valley Velo
Here's what the month of May looks like for Montana road racing. The race that sticks out is The Tour of the Bitterroot. Last year it turned into the unofficial Montana Stage Race Championships. I thought several teams were on form which made for competitive racing. The crit had rain throughout and provided plenty of stories for riders who survived. This year Bitterroot Land Trust is again sponsoring. The same parties will be in effect along with the killer road course. I don't know how many out of state folks will show up but it really doesn't matter. For my money this will be some of the best racing all season long. Belt Omnium could provide a nice preview for Bitterroot but it's still two weeks after. GAS, NRO, and Sportsman's have all had strong spring campaigns, but don't count out Montana Velo. Frank, Kiefer, Herzig, Proctor, and maybe even Brink will all be ready for the Tour of the Bitterroot. For more information and hype visit the official blog, http://www.tourofthebitterroot.blogspot.com/. I will try to keep up with the latest hoopla so stay tuned. MT Cross will not be Belt Omnium but I'll be sure to post full race reports.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Hitting Trail - Rattlesnake - Missoula, MT


















Last week the Missoula crew began to hit trail again.  In honor of this occasion I'm posting my early season mountain bike awards.

Best Bike - Doug Dale, Zion; let's go jam to Bob Marley while we hit trail.  

Best Bike (for real) - Downtown Joel Brown, Kona Kula 2-9 Deluxe;  Joel's hitting trail hard this season




Best Outfit - Murphy Woodhouse, blue/black skinsuit; it's good for all seasons











Best Newcomer - Sean Lensner (sp), i haven't seen on a ride yet, but he lives at club passion 
and therefore can't be terrible

Best road to mountain transition - Ben "Horaingatang" Horan, breakout tri season right into hitting dirt hard


Monday, April 28, 2008

Speed Wagon Classic - Fo Sure

Matt Seeley is the bomb. He successfully mastered the art of putting on a race. Amazing support, grub afterwards, adventurous course, and free free free.

We had a great day up in Polson. The ride situation out of Missoula was shady. Between Dale, Pipo, and myself we don't have reliable long distance transportation. So we ended up convincing Pipo's sister KG to role with us in her Volvo. We showed up and immediately were welcomed by Seeley. He went over the course map and "John" gave us his cell phone number in case of emergencies (that was helpful later). The race started on the pavement for 5 or so miles. I don't think anyone but Matt knew what to expect. We hit the first dirt section and it was every man for himself. Dust was everywhere, back wheels were swishing through inch deep gravel. Once back on the pavement everyone's adrenaline was still bumping from the gravel. People started riding hard tempo on the front. H. Williams slipped off the front for a solo move. He lasted a couple miles until the first little rise. Halpin attacked hard on the rise and opened up a 30 second gap. Up the second hill Seeley, myself, Bill, and Doug set a mean tempo in attempt to bring Halp back. Then we hit the second long stretch of gravel and things broke up for good. Doug, Seeley, Bill, and Halpin took turns hitting the front. I was feeling good sitting on, but flatted a mile into the stretch. That began my adventure of riding 10 miles and flatting for the rest of the day. I didn't mind because the scenery was spectacular. Once back on the pavement the elite group of Bill, Halp, Dale, and strong un attached dude powered on. Seeley flatted (twice). Bill was the strongest rider on the day. He pulled away on every dirt section, and won the race on a solo breakaway by a big margin. Halpin and Doug got passed on the finishing climb. H. Williams, and Seeley were up in the top ten. Landstrom from Flathead had a good race....I think third. Pipo and myself were off the back all day with crashes and flats. KG and Connelly had a mix of flats and getting lost. It was organized carnage. There were 3 wheel cars!! The support was incredible. I got two wheels. One of the support cars who was out of wheels and kicked it with me for 20 minutes while we waited for help. All the volunteers were perfect. Our crew of Connelly, Halpin, Dale, Pipo, KG, and myself probably called "John" 5 times for help.

The day was awesome. Matt Seeley and his family made the event. It felt like a big family picnic with a super hard ride in the middle. I hope some MT folks will follow suit and put more unofficial races on the calendar. Check out the Great Northern Cycling blog as I think H Williams is putting on a race up in the YAK.

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