WERKS Mountain Bike Race Report

I survived!  Actually, it wasn’t too bad.  While there were only 2 of us in the single speed class, that other guy was Shane Mundt…  As in MT Velo, usually races Cat 1 Shane Mundt.  So little hope for a victory for me out of the two of us!  I had strategic dismounts planned for the two steep short uphills climbs up out of Water Line trail on the south end so I could save energy.  I leapfrogged with a guy the whole race where I could hold his wheel while climbing up Rodney Ridge and I would pass him on the double track before the top so I could lead down Don’t Fence Me In.  Then I had a little pride that I could drop him out of sight by the time I had descended down to Water Line, even though he was on a pretty nice looking Marin full suspension bike and I was on the hardtail.  But my 34:22 gearing could only carry me so fast on the Water Line trail and by the time we got to the south end and I would do my slick cyclocross-style run up, he would be back on my wheel and I would let him pass me as I walked/jogged up those damn climbs.  Then I would catch up to him again and we would repeat this leap frog on every lap.  Until the last lap where three people passed me on my run up!!  Then I cramped up on that last lap climbing up from Water Line and had to do a couple more dismounts so walk it off.  But I fought back and passed two of those people again before the finish.  I actually passed one of the guys while I coasted downhill in an aero tuck on the dirt road, I think that’s funny because I have no gears to use at that speed so it is all gravity powered.



Xterra Northwest Championships report

Greg says write a race report and I say, “how many words?” He finds out I knit and shamed back to skinny tires and curved bars.
Landen, Gail and I headed to Farragut State Park near Athol Idaho for the Xterra Northwest Championships this past weekend. Our Xterra Experience so far had been one of tough courses and gritty competitors (we call ourselves the Tribe). A call from my friend Volker Riedlinger on Thursday night had me wondering what event I had signed up for. Might as well bring your road bike, he said. 22 miles of the water line. Uhoh. I knew I should have done a few Hell rides. He wasn’t far off. Pretty flat, very fast. A road course on dirt. The only thing that saved the weekend from turning into a ” dude, that was one tough bike course” kind of event was the 52 degree water temp in good 1 foot blowing surf. Now that reminded us all where we were and what we had in front of us.
The day started with the Short course Xterra. 50 brave tribes men and women lined up on the shores of lake Pend Oreille for a 1/2 mile swim, one lap of the 11 mile bike course and a 5K trail run. Landen, having been thrown out of the long course event for not being of the legal age of 15 had a thing or two to show the assembled Xterra execs. The gun sounded and soon one lone yellow cap was all by itself ripping the strokes thru the surf and around the buoys. 11:35 later he was out of the water and into transition. Second place came in almost 5 minutes later in 16:14. Being 40 he wasn’t gonna let some little kid have his way with him. Oops, guess he will. Lando’s bike split of 56:06 was fastest of the day by a minute. He headed out on the 5K with a solid 6 minute lead and had he not decided to tour a mile or so of the 10K course when he missed an arrow it would have been a perfect day. As it was, once the volunteers setting up the aid stations got him turned around it was too little too late. He ended up in second by a mere 9 seconds. Best quote of the day. “I came in second? Wow, that’s great.” I want to be a kid again.
All in all it was a great weekend. We broke in our new TGD tops with some good sweat, a little blood but no tears. I was able to pick up the one spot in my age group for the World Championship in Maui, all the while managing to only cause minor embarrassment to my family at the June Moon after party. It’s a great race to try if you want to venture to the dark side.

Official Powder Hound Race Report

Start of Powder Hound Tri

Dashing through the snow

Filed by Meghan Trainor

The theme of the morning was, ‘why not?’ Five Team Great Divide members put their egos aside (as best we could) and decided fun was the name of the game and to try something new. Both fortunately and unfortunately, the morning was sunny and warmed up quickly. This made for an easier time of deciding what to wear for our first winter triathlon, but also meant soft snow for the bike and ski loops. 

One hour before the start time, Greg gave Russ a skate ski lesson. As a testament to Russ’ adventuresome spirit and ability, he finished 6th overall. The examples of adventuresome spirits and thrill-seekers didn’t stop there. Greg finished fourth overall. Laura, persevered through a very trying bike course to be the third woman to finish. And Jennifer Griggs, who was just walking out of the lodge in time to see the race start, successfully completed her first triathlon.

The course overall was not easy, filled with plenty of ups and downs. The bike course was a problem-solving exercise as Greg alluded to. Figuring out the tire pressure and keeping the tires on the untracked snow helped maintain traction. The backside of the bike course was a super fun roller coaster of hills that was followed by a buzz-killing mandatory dismount. The dismount was a 40-foot stretch of solid ICE across a wetland – that thanks to the warm weather had melted and was not holding snow. Race mode had to quickly be turned off and self-preservation mode on as racers walked the bike (many with bike shoes on) across the ice.

I think we were all looking forward to the ski course and hoping for some gravity-induced rest for the legs. But that hope was crushed as the middle of the loop contained one long hill that we got to experience three times. 

The uphill finish put us back at the transition area in front of Homestake Lodge. The race entry fee included soup and sandwiches. Any plans of skiing and exploring more trails around the lodge after lunch were quickly changed as we all settled into the deep cushy couches in the lodge, basking in the sun shining through the three stories of south-facing windows. It was a fun morning. I’d do it again!

Thanks to Dave Holien for ringing the cow bell and cheering everyone on. And thanks to Sarah for the Team banner. 

Race results can be found on Homestake Lodge’s website at http://www.homestakelodge.com/events1.html

Race to the Top: Prickly Pear Fundraiser

Race up Mount Ascension

IR photos by John Doran – Cyclist Will Snider competes Wednesday in the Race to the Top. Snider clocked a 10 minutes, 18 seconds, but his mountain bikers fell short of defending the Mount Ascension crown.

Revenge of the runners

By MARTIN J. KIDSTON – Independent Record – 10/23/08
Like Pheidippides running from the plains of Marathon to tell his fellow Athenians of their victory over the Persians, a team of dedicated runners charged up Mount Ascension on Wednesday to steal victory from their rival mountain bikers.

The Race to the Top, a grueling test of endurance and grit, pitted the two teams head to head on the 2006 Trail to settle an old score and launch a tradition that promises to last.

When the sun settled behind the nearby hills and the light finally drained from the sky, the runners slipped away with victory, outpacing the bikers on their way to the top.

“It was fun because the times were really close for the most part,” said biker Scott Herzig. “That bodes well for next year. We’ve got a rematch and the training starts now.”

Herzig clocked an impressive 9:02, placing second among the bikers and doing his part to hold down his team’s score. But Greg Wirth, the runner who followed Herzig, made the dash eight seconds faster, finishing in 8:54.

And so went the night for team cycling, losing six seconds here and seven seconds there to a competing runner. In the end, each of the seven runners outpaced each of the seven bikers they were paired against, helping seal the deal.

“There are a couple tight switchbacks and there’s a little loose dirt,” said Will Snider, a member of the cycling team. “Everyone’s cheering you on, so you want to do as good as you can, and you don’t want to fall off your bike.”

At the top, more than 20 spectators clad in jackets and caps turned their backs to the chilling wind. The views of the valley stretched north to the Big Belt Mountains while the city, spread just below, gleamed in a kaleidoscope of light cast by another Montana sunset.

One by one, the competitors brushed past the last stand of pines to make a final push to the summit, where Brian Wieck stood keeping time. The crowd lined the stony course, cheering each racer to the finish while trying to keep their dogs off the trail.

No matter the team, the crowd applauded the same. Some — like Jenn Baker and Wendy Brooke — secretly pulled for the bikers. Others had their money set on the runners.

“I wasn’t in quite the shape I wanted to be,” said runner Tim Davis after cooling down. “My arms went a little numb. I guess it means I wasn’t getting enough oxygen. It was a little further than I wanted to go.”

It was his lungs, not his legs, which hurt the most.

The pain didn’t discriminate between teams. Bikers and runners alike embraced their knees to catch their breath.

Words like “hurt” and “pain” and more colorful elocutions were common. Spectators offered the sweaty athletes jackets and caps and beanies to fend off the cold wind pouring over the mountain.

The event was started last year to resolve a friendly bet between cyclist Eric Grove and runner Michele Bazzanella on who could reach the top the fastest — a biker or a runner.

In that race, Grove reached the top in 9:24 while Bazzanella finished in 10:11. Victory went to the cyclists, but the inaugural event hardly settled the score.

Grove improved his time this year by four seconds while Bazzanella dropped five seconds off last year’s pace. Backed by a lineup of men and women, however, the runners took Race to the Top II.

“It confirmed my theory,” said Bazzanella after the race. “I was so pleased. I was so excited. I just knew we could do it.”

Cyclist Frank Gonzalez logged the fastest time among the male riders at 8:37, while Thomas Jodoin, the fastest male runner — and the fastest person up the mountain — clocked a blistering 8:19.

Among the female riders, Michelle Richardson rode the fastest time at 12:22. Bazzanella — the fastest female runner — completed the course in 10:16.

“Next year, I think we need to do this downhill,” said Richardson, while reviewing the times with Herzig after the race.

“On a mountain bike, there are a lot of mistakes you can make, like on a corner or spinning out,” Herzig added. “Running, you just can’t trip.”

No matter who won, the competitors were happy to support the Prickly Pear Land Trust, which netted close to $20,000 during its recent Harvest Moon banquette and will draw more from the fundraising held by the teams in conjunction with Wednesday’s race.

“It was good to help out Prickly Pear,” said Snider. “I’ll do any kind of fundraiser for them. I’d even swim for them if I had to. But biking is more fun.”

Reporter Martin Kidston: 447-4086 or mkidston@helenair.com

IR photo by John Doran – Eric Grove, one of the original racers in last year’s inaugural Race to the Top, climbs his single speed near the top of Mount Ascension Wednesday. Grove raced four seconds faster this year in 9 minutes, 20 seconds.

IR photos by John Doran – In a race that pitted runner against biker, it was all camaraderie at the top as biker Will Snider, left, and runner Tim Davis converse Wednesday at the peak of Mount Ascension.