Six team members got up early Sunday morning to represent the team at the annual running of the Frenchtown Roubaix. Living up to its name our local version of the Roubaix had very difficult road conditions, extended dirt sections, potholes in the asphalt and dirt course, and sand on corners and in the roadway. After our race I got a chance to watch the actual Paris-Roubaix aka “the Hell of the North”, and realized how thankful I was that our course was not as long (31 mi vs 160 mi), or as brutal, as what the pros ride.
I am proud to report that your team got on the podium twice with two 3rd place finishes and one 5th place finish put up by Joe Hamilton, one of our newest members of the team.
Dave, Joe, Byron, Randall and Mark went off together in the Cat 5 and Master B race accompanied by local favorites Landen Beckner and his dad Randy. It was a respectable field of 25 riders split between the two categories. I was on point leading the pack out onto the course and took it easy into the 12+ mph wind at a conversational pace of 15 mph. Nobody challenged the lead until about 2 miles into the race when Randy decided to kick things up to 18+mph. I was happy to let somebody else pull the peloton along for a while, biding my time until the first hill and the transition to a dirt road. Last year this hill made the selection for me in the race and I was not about to get dropped by the group again this year. My goal for the race was to get to the 1Km mark with the lead group.
The peloton rolled into the first hill at 22 mph and topped out at 11. I am sure folks were dropping off the back but the lead group quickly reformed and headed through a fast descent with a series of bone-jarring potholes on the dirt road and the litter of water bottles was amazing. I was expecting to see carnage, but luckily there were no accidents on my line and the lead group with Joe, Dave, Randall and I in tow kept on trucking. Landen was the king of the hill on all climbs and let the peloton for much of the race. Climbing out of the dirt road loop and back to asphalt for the return back to Frenchtown was where the lead group kicked again.
Dave and Randall missed closing the gap down as the lead group started running like a bunch of horses heading for the barn as the course descended back onto the asphalt and race speeds picked up to 41 mph as the wheels touched down on asphalt. The feel of getting back on asphalt was nirvana. At this point it was just Joe and I left and it was fun watching him mark other riders and he was riding like an old hand in the pace line. The front of the pace line did not appear very well organized because as people recovered they shot to the front and did some work until somebody else decided they wanted a turn. Speeds were fast (at around 25 mph) heading back into Frenchtown with a tailwind but then as we turned north to the finish line average speeds dropped to about 20 mph as nobody was willing to push the pace and instead were trying to conserve their energy into the last 1Km with a 150’ climb and flat finish.
Joe and I both were in good position coming into the last climb at 1Km and picked off one or two guys as we took the elevator ride to the top. I don’t recall either of us getting passed by anybody once we started into the climb. Joe finished 5th as a Cat 5 and I was just behind him which was worth a 3rd place finish in the Master’s B. Landen (as a junior) finished 3rd in the Cat 5 men in ahead of Joe. Dave and Randall finished with the chase group behind us. Jane rolled up after our race group finished and took 3rd in her division. She reported that her race was a lot different than ours with several attacks occurring in the first six miles and her very small group getting very strung out. For her efforts Jane took 3rd in her classification.
All results are not posted yet but you can check them out at: http://www.montanacycling.net/
On Saturday April 16th there is the Bobcat Companion ride which is a 37 mile ride (race) from the campground at Lewis and Clark Caverns. This is a fantastic course and some of us are planning on staying there and camping Saturday night with a post race trip to Norris hot springs Saturday evening and a Sunday mountain bike ride. For $10 you can ride with other teams and have a lot of fun getting a great training day in. This is a non-scored but certainly competitive event. It is the only one of its kind on the calendar all season and is similar to our own “Hellride”, except with out of town teams competing as well.
Check out the flyer at: http://www.montanacycling.net/documents/flyers/2011/Bobcat%20Classic%20Flyer.pdf
Hope to see you there.