5pm on Saturday and I’m leaving for a cross race? Mark Brooke and I were headed out!Thats right, Homestake Lodge was offering night cross under the lights. Under the dim lights! Racing started at 7:30 with about 20 cat 4 & master B racers charging up the hill and down a dust filled hill heading for the first corner.
Not being too sure about this particular course I found myself at the back but no such luck for Mark as he was in the first wave and went into the corner in good position. The course was rough with a nasty runup and opportunity for carnage was at every corner, most of which we were able to miss. I started chasing and was making time on some of the racers on the uphills. I was losing the time I made on the hills on the down hills though. Mark was having no such trouble and was sitting in 3rd when disaster struck. On the first corner he went too fast, fell and then tripped on a hidden tree root and fell on a rock incurring pain as well as a battle scar!
My race was starting to go backwards as a lack of core work all summer was taking its toll on my back. Not seeing anyone in front of me I throttled back and hoped to get a good workout and save myself for the next days race at Copper Mountain in Butte. Mark finished in 5th, in the Cat 4. not a bad finish when you factor his wreck in. I was much farther back. We watched the 1s, 2s & 3s. Local hero Scott Herzig took 1st riding smooth and strong for his first ever Cross win. Dinner and beer were served in the lodge and all was well with the world once again!
Rising early after a restful night at the lodge in which we were serenaded by coyotes we drove into beautiful Butte, MT. We enjoyed a leisurely breakfast at the Montana Club and them meandered over to the Copper Mtn sports complex. With plenty of time to dress and warmup we took time to ride the course, adjust tire pressure and steel ourselves for the upcoming pain fest.
We received a pleasant suprise when Laura Holien & Carolyn Keller showed up to cheer us on. They were there to support Dave in his first cross race and Carolyn is determined to race the Helena cross race and wanted to see her competition. She was pleasantly surprised to see other ladies using flat pedas also and is now even more determined!
The cat 4s started 15 seconds before the Master Bs and we were off! Pat Scharfe from Missoula grabbed the hole shot and I went wow, he’s fast. But hey they’re not getting away and I started shifting and reeled in my arch nemesis John Coulthard. We hit the first corner on to the grass and we were neck and neck through the barricades. Heading onto the grass section I put in a dig and passed John! I was in turn passed by Blair Fischer but I was holding him close as we headed down the downhill.
By now I was starting to get a rhythm and feeling better. Riding the sand pit everytime and seeing riders coming back to me. I reeled in Pat, yesterdays winner and I was feeling good. Somewhere around here I caught and passed Dave & Eric Horn from Muleterro, and was passed again. Coming out of a hairpin turn before the sand pit I felt like I could make a move. Wait til the sand pit or go now. Well here’s where I feel good so I went hard. Forced to take a different line than what I had been all day, I found the deepest softest part of the pit and endoed solidly on top of my helmet. The fall dazed me and I was then passed back by Pat. Damn! I gathered myself and started racing again but the rhythm I had was no longer there. John C was catching me on each down hill and I could no longer put enough on him on the power sections and he ended up passing me on the last lap.
Mark finished 3rd in the 4s, I was 6th in Master B’s. I didn’t get Daves finish but as soon as results are posted we will know. Rick Finley (MT velo) won Master B’s, Scott Herzig & Frank Gonzales also MTV took 2d & 3rd in the 1,2, 3 cat.
Hope to see more of you on the race course soon!