We had a good turn out of Helena racers for the Tour De Bozeman Road race on Sunday morning, which started at Bridger Bowl at 9 AM on Sunday. Randell Green and I shared a trip from Helena (5:30 start here). Clouds on both sides of the Bridger valley suggesting rain, but the race director suggested that usually they grey clouds burned off, and it was likely to be a dry race. Other Helenens that showed: awesome Randy Beckner; Scooty Herzig, Karl ‘the flying dutchman’ Vanderwood; and Frank Gonzales. All told for for road race, I suspect about 100 racers. the tour included time trials and 2-bl;ock sprints on Main Strreet in Bozeman the day before (whjich Randell,Randy and I skipped).
The Masters A’s and B’s started together (field of about 30 total) with a short gradual climb (1 mile?), a longer descent, and then a longer/steeper climb to Battle Ridge. then a descent and then short climb to rollera out to Wilsall. Randy Beckner and an “unknown” other Master’s B from Salt Lake created a breakaway at about mile 7 (far side of Battle Ridge). The rest of the lead pack, made uip mostly of Master’s A riders were not interested in chasing down the breakaway and kept a moderate pace with a huge group of Bozeman Masters riders doing most of the pulling. John Weyrick made several attacks, but no one followed. At the turn around we saw that Randy and SLC had several minutes on the lead group, but again, the A’s weren’t worried, and there were only a few B’s in the lead chase group (including me) and no one very motivated to bridge the gap with 20 miles and some significant climbing to go.
I had been hanging out in the draft for most of the ride, but decided to do my share of the pulling on the rollers on the way back, and took some turns at the front for several miles of rollers (which may have cost a 3rd place finish…), I certainly wasn’t trying to bridge back to Randy (I still don’t know – is he riding Team Great Divide or Hammer Gel?). Just like like last year – all hell breaks loose climbing from the bottom of the north side of Battle Ridge, with about 5(?) miles to the finish with two short but intense clmibs puncuiated by a fast and very curvey descent (150 degree turn at the bottom). I managed to hand woith the lead peleton to the first, top, descent, and second climb, and on to the finish. the finish is a great climbers finish and racers get spread out. I was able to ride past Rich West from Great Falls, and almost catch (5 feet?) the overall race Master ‘s B finisher Ned, from Bozeman.
So YES!!! Randy Beckner was able to stay away for almost the entire race and take 2nd place in the Masters (and Master’s B) Road Race – 43 miles. What an impressive performance! I finished 4th the the B’s and placed somewhere towards the bottom of the top 10 of the Masters in the raod race finishers. Randell finished with a group of 4 not very far behind the lead peleton, and said he enjoyed the race, the course and the learning.
Scotty – he finished 3 overall in the 1/2’s. Karl – He took first in the 3’s in both the road race and Overall. the 1/2/3 course , both men and womens’s is 70+ miles.
Weather turned out to be prime – cool, no wind, terrain interesting, road -excellent surface, gorgeous views (when you can spare a glance) and very little traffic. This is what racing is about, and why we do the Hell ride – so we can feel good when we get the chance to do a race like this!
So I hope to see you tomorrow, 6 PM Tuesday, July 13, at Spring Meadow Lake parking lot, to train for doing something that makes you feel GREAT.