Valley Time Trial – May

ANNOUNCEMENT: Hill Climb Time Trial this Thursday – 6:30 start time. Meet on Park Ave., across from library. Finish line is near the end of the pavement in Unionville, approximately 4 miles. Prizes for everyone!

Time Trial Results:

For May, the conditions were superb this past Thursday for the first time trial of the year. The temperature was up, hovering around 80 degrees at 6:30, with a steady wind. Oh, and we have experienced far worse, haven’t we? The wicked wind from the west was devilish, perhaps, but far from depraved. The times reflected the tolerable conditions.

A mere nine seconds separated the top four male finishers at the first Valley Course time trial. Rick Finley and Dave Hamer tied at 14:36; followed by Greg Wirth at 14:40 and Robert Ray at 14:45 Bill Ramsay took 4th at 15:50 followed by Paul Sebens at 16:58, and Byron at 17:01.

On the women’s side, Sarah Slanger took top honors with a 16:18 followed by Jane O’Driscoll nipping at her heels with a 16:26. Peggy Stringer road a strong 17:09 and Patty (Mastin or is it Ramsay now?) flew home with an 18:49. Not bad, Patty, for a first timer, but not so fast! Patty is actually a Valley Course record holder! Ah, the Time Trial Director has a memory like an African Bush Elephant! On July 13, 2006, Patty and Bill set the Valley Course tandem team record at 16:49, which has withstood the test of time for almost three years! Sorry, Patty, no Montana sticker for you!!

Oh, but I digress. Nice work everyone! And I must say, there’s no better way to light up the face of a time trial finisher than to hand him or her a box of refreshing YooHoo as a prize for a job well done! This week: the sardines return!!

From the flashback department: When Rick rolled up, sporting his crisp, new caramel and cream Montana Velo kit, I couldn’t help but flashback to days of yore, when me and my buddies were hanging out in my parent’s basement listening to Led Zeppelin Physical Graffiti and in walks (let’s call him Rick), wearing white pants, a floral polyester shirt buttoned down past his sternum, and (gulp!) a gold chain! Dude! You’ve gone disco! (I’m not sure if we said “dude” way back then, but it sure sounds right). And then as the jeers subsided we started a serious argument with Rick about why the Bee Gees are NOT a rock band until he told us his older brother would buy us beer that night, so we said okay. And we decided without saying a word that he was still one of us and, together, we all listened to Cheech and Chong’s Big Bambu. There’s a moral to this story somewhere, I think.

See ya Thursday, everyone!!

Scott Fisk


Rally Ride 5-12-2009 (also Belt Omnium report)

Hey teamies,

So guess who showed up at the Rally Ride tonight? Me and none other but the Belt Ominum first place Masters’ A finisher Dave Landstrom (the big race this past Saturday outside of Grat Falls). Yeah. An unfortunate timing thing (for me)… he was just in town for some work related business and starting out an evening cruise at the same time that I rolled out of Spring Meadow State Park thinking about … packing it in and riding home?

So I had to show him that Team Great Divide may not be fast, but we ain’t no wimps.. it was brutal out there with 20 – 40 mph westerly winds and damn cold. He definitely provided more of the windbreak and the hurt than me, but I wound up repaying him by providing him with a tube when he flatted on Green Meadow just before Tenmile Creek.

So think about the famous you could have rubbed elbows with, if you had shown up today and what about next week? I won’t be there, but if you’re not, you’ll never know who you might have missed… Lance? Tom Boonan? Juila Roberts?


The Belt Omnium: new course both TT and road – both very little traffic and challenging. Not my TT course = mostly flat – out and back 10 mile. I finished in 24:41 7 of 8 in the Masters A (winning time – 23:10 Dave Lanstrom, and overall 20:42, cat.1 rider Dave Vischekfor Team “Rideclean”).

I did much better in the road race, 45 miles of flat, then hilly terrain, finishing fifth in the final lead pack sprint. The road race had a combined master’s field of 27 (nine as and 18 Bs). Nine cat 1,2s with Brad Morgan of GAS finishing first (Scott and frank 7th and 8th). Eight cat 3 riders, and a big pile of cat 4’s

New Course? I liked the road course. except for the 2 180 degree turns and haing to race through the town of Highwood. Time trial course? Too flat for me… also don’t like the 180 degree turn around after a short climb and then slight downhill.

Would I do it again? You bet!

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

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.