Hell Ride Report 5/14/2013

Another Tuesday, another Hell Ride!
Other than a 9 MPH headwind up Birdseye, Monday was a perfect evening for the Hell ride.
Not long after departing Spring Meadow, we were passed by an officer of the law that was clearly impressed by our tight, single-file line . . . good thing he didn’t see us later on Lincoln.  It was an uneventful ride for most of the Birdseye hill.  As we approached the last rise, John took the initiative to push the group and I was the lone rider to jump, subsequently riding his draft until 500 meters before the finish, at which point I pushed ahead and took the win, followed by John and Joe.
The group collected at the fire station – the porta-potty is back – and prepared for the second leg.  This too was a fairly uneventful section until 750 yards out when I decided to push the pace and head out into the cross wind alone . . . in retrospect, I was a bit too ambitious, allowing John to catch up just before the line.  I didn’t see who followed John because I was gasping for air  – and didn’t expect to have to write this summary.
The final section was fast and quiet with the wind behind us.  Randall accelerated away about half way down the third leg and the rest of us watched him go.  John decided to sprint the gap and I did my best to catch the two of them.  Not long after, the group was back together.  As we approached the short hill at the end of the leg, I took advantage of Steve’s draft and accelerated around his left side and took the win with Joe following.  Again, the need for oxygen was greater than my curiosity about who came in third.
The ride from there to the Libation Station, which is normally at a “conversational pace” seemed more like a fourth leg.  We regrouped at the Libation and took a nice relaxing ride back into town.  The wind was calm the whole way back and it turned out to be a fabulous evening for a “Spring” ride.  You really should be there next week!
Riders this week included John, Randall, Steve, Drew, Mark, Paul, Byron, Joe, Chris, and me.
Have a great week,

Hell ride report for 5/7/13

Hell ride report for 5/7/13

With slightly warmer weather in the forecast for this week’s Hell ride 🙂 I decided to indulge in the fun.  I arrived and Robert Ray, Joe Hamilton, Jesus Salazar, Byron Deford, Randall Green, Buck Rea, and Drew Malany joined me to be the brave ones for a ride in some good old wind.

We headed out with a head wind.  A little confusion insued with our inability to rotate in a paceline or understand what clockwise means.  We got that figured out and started to rotate just in time to wait 5 or 10 minutes for a train.  We waited for some cars to pass us and off we were again.  Tempo was set up Birds Eye.  Several riders took turns with pulls including a huge effort by Drew.  Near the end Buck set down a good effort into the wind to nearly get the sprint.  I came around him with 100m to go and nipped him on the line.  It looked like Randall brought up the rear with third.

We regrouped at the top for the dash down the hill.  We had some difficulty figuring out we did not own the road and nearly had an incident with a vehicle when someone did not hear car back.  We all survived though.  Pulls were shared between Robert, Jesus, Drew, and Joe.  Drew made a great effort for the uphill sprint into the wind but I came around him with 100 to go to nip him on the line.  I believe Joe came in for a very nice third on that one.?

We rolled out almost immediately for our third segment.  I attacked soon after the railroad tracks and soloed off the front.  I could not tell who brought me back in but it looked like a good group effort.  They got me about a mile before the sprint where Randall immediately launched a counter attack.  Good effort was put forth in chasing him down. I launched another counter attack at the base of the hill where I won the third sprint, Drew in second, and third to Buck I think.  Help me out on that one.

We met at Libation station and put one more Hell ride in the books.  Thanks for coming out.





Hell (froze over) Ride report: First Hell Ride of 2013

Seven hardy souls kicked off the 2013 Hell Ride Tuesday on a cold and windy evening.  Randall, Joe H., Robert, Mark S., Chris, John, and Josh set off from Green Meadow Lake promptly at 6:00 into a hardy headwind blowing in from the northwest.  Temperature was something south of 38 degrees, and looking west, it appeared we were headed into a blizzard.  The group developed a nice rotating paceline after the first tracks, which made the wind tolerable.  After the second set of track, Josh decided the best way to warm up was to attack off the front.  Apparently he was the only one who thought that was a good idea, and everyone else sat in and let him go.  With the wind, it wasn’t long before the group was together again.  At the base of the Birdseye climb, Josh and Joe decided to turn the screw a bit, and the group started to come apart.  Joe, Josh, Randall, Mark, and John stuck together.  At some point Randall popped off the back while  Mark and John were happy to sit back and let Joe and Josh battle the wind.  At the top, having done no work, John jumped and took the sprint, with Joe second, and Josh third.


After a short respite, the group headed out on the second leg.  The wind seemed to be building.  John, feeling guilty for having taken advantage on the first leg paced the group down to the Silver Creek crossing, where Joe, Josh, and Randall took off.  From the distance, it looked like Josh took Joe on the sprint, with Randall third.  Randall tried to explain what happened, but his cheeks were too frozen to talk.


After regrouping, it was time to head downwind for a change.  After hammering into the wind for two legs, it was almost silent (and warm) do run with the wind.  The group stayed together and sailed down the third leg with Robert doing most of the pace setting.  At the finishing hill,  Josh started his sprint a little too early, and John was able to come around him at the finish.


The group spun into town with snow squalls all around.  While it was cold and windy, the snow stayed away for the entire ride.  All in all, it was a pretty nice evening.  Hopefully it will be a little warmer and calmer next week, and we will get more of the team out there.


Happy trails.



Hell Ride Report Noir 5-15-2012

So there I was….alone at my desk nursing an aerobic hangover. Then she walked in, a dame like no other, the kind you don’t take home to mom…or your home. The kind of dame that would make you go deep, deeper than you thought possible. That’s right her name was hell ride & before this night was over she was going to make me wish I had never let her in.
The caper started at Spring meadow lake with 10 to 12 of the kind of people you don’t let people you care about know you know. The underbelly of Helena cycling. Lowlifes, the kind of guys that would suck your wheel all the way up the hill & then sprint around you laughing, playing you for the sucker. Oh yeah we started out all nice, peaches & cream, working together, then at the tracks Josh went up the first little hill, but we’d seen this move before & he was covered like a wagon on the Oregon trail. The group worked together with the Slanger twins, Sean & Sarah trading barbs & pulls like they were born to it. Brian Johnson went to the front & gave a demonstration of pounding the pedals in anger. The pace picked up as Robert Ray decided to see who wanted to come out and play. Everyone apparently. The pace picked up, & the bodies started falling like bad guys in a John Wayne movie. Jumping Johnny Tietz, out-sprinted “Rabbit” Robert with Good Gosh Josh taking 3rd.
On the rollers, Sean, the nice Slanger, decided to show his naughty side & took off, dropping into his geek bars he got a gap, but the motley crue wasn’t going to let a tri guy win this segment. Like the lowlifes we are we grabbed his wheel, used him up, spit him out & left him for road kill. The jockeying for position had started halfway through, but the pace was getting ready to pickup. As we headed through silver creek, the attacks started coming. I was grabbing wheels like each one was the brass ring that could deliver the golden fleece of a sprint win. The final wheel I grabbed was the aforementioned strong man John Tietz. I rode that wheel like a 2 bit hooker at a Shriners convention & was delivered to the finish line in first, John 2d & I believe Little (I still think of him like that) Stevie Field.
The last section Lincoln road, a headwind? Whats up with that? We rode in a tight paceline until the really nice Slanger (|Sarah) said enough of this pussy footing and she broke away. Being the gentlemen we are, we let her sit out front & then shut it down. Steve somehow got positioned to the front. With no one willing to take the lead from him, he drove the pace up to the base of the hill where all Hell broke loose. John over the top 1st, Robert 2d, Steve & Dr. Drew tied for 3rd. This caper was over, the butler did it, & I had a date with a tall glass of gatorade.


Last Hell Ride Report of 2010: 8-24-2010

There we were. 7 of us started at Spring meadow. Former team member Rick Finley was soon to harvest his karma and blow his tire out, leaving 6 hard cores to battle it out. Jennifer Griggs, Trever Brandt, Steve Field, (no this is a current report, not 10 years old.) Mark Brooke, Randall Green & myself Burnin Vernon.

Playing dumb and sucking Mark’s wheel, we rolled to the base of the long hill. Hey, we were working together like a team then Mark stepped it up and the pack splintered. Mark worked us all and took the hill first, Randall 2nd and Steve filled the podium; no, that wasn’t a flashback.

After a quick breather, we set off through the rollers, sucking Trever’s wheel and taking full advantage of his ‘training program’. The pack stayed together until Silver Creek, when Byron stood on it and splintered the pack this time. Mark responded taking 1st at the line, followed by Byron in 2nd and Steve in 3rd.

Off we go on the third leg.  Jennifer pondered her race tactics, moving to the lead, and then slid behind the fastest, biggest guy she could find. Mark!
From the back of the group I (Trever) got a chance to talk to Randall and started to plot an attack ….first attack came from Steve and Byron, easily answered by the group! Now the Hill is in sight. Mark was at the front, and no one but Byron was getting that wheel, using his ample understanding of race tactics Trever went followed by Steve and Randall. Randall motored around Steve as Trever’s work was over. Over the top we went, Mark 1st, Randall 2d, and Burnin Vernon slid by Steve at the top for 3rd.

So there you have it.  Another season, another bunch of miles in the training log, another body of stories to tell over beers during the cold months.  There were winter stars out riding and winning early, there were the boys of summer burning up laps in the hot season, and there were the late bloomers that made the last hell ride their first of the season.  Bicycling has been taking its lumps in the press, in the public, and on the roads.  We riders all need a poet to wax about the point of it all.  Maybe this is it.  It’s a pretty democratic sport.  Its not who you are, what you do, or where you live.  Its all about showing up on the windy days, the rainy days, the days you are sore, and the days where any average person would understand why just don’t want to ride.  But you ride anyway.  Maybe the first mile is the toughest, maybe the whole ride is just brutal.  But sometimes, just sometimes. you get the advantage of a wicked tailwind and find yourself rolling along at 40 mph on the flats, or you find yourself in the middle of an amazing rotating pace line running at 25 mph plus.  Or you mix it up with some of the best riders in the state–because you can.  Because you do.  Its ephemeral, its brief, but you gotta be there to know.

So, hope to see you on the road next year.

Co-written by the hardy group on the last Hellride of the season.

Hell Ride Report: 8-17-2010

Well, I guess it’s my turn to do the Hell Ride write up, so here goes.

Eight hardy souls showed up to contest the penultimate Hell Ride tonight. Byron, Mark, Dave, Randall, Greg, Meghan, Rick, and myself rolled off at 6:00 sharp, and after a nice double paceline run to the tracks, the attacks started. And I went off the back. I swear, I felt good yesterday! Anyway, a bunch of people did a bunch of stuff and rumor has it that Mark pulled off the win at the firehouse.

After regrouping, we headed off for the stage 2. The group stayed together through the rollers until the attacks started again on the final stretch into the corner. And I went off the back. Did I say I felt good yesterday? Attacks and counter attacks were flying left and right (at least I think they were) and Mark again took top honors.

After regrouping at Lincoln road we set off on stage 3. Knowing I had no pop in my legs I got myself to the front and attacked just past the tracks. Not surprisingly, they let me go. Rick caught me about a mile before the hill. Looking back the group was still a long way off. We might just pull this off! But it was not to be – with my legs burning and lungs bursting, the freight train swallowed us up exactly at the bottom of the hill. If I wasn’t the one being caught it would have been beautiful. OK, maybe it still was. And I went off the back. They came past at such a pace, that they were out of sight around the corner when they crossed the line. I’ve been told that Mark pulled off the hat trick and took the final sprint, too. Way to go Mark!

Thanks to everyone for a great ride. We don’t get nights like this too often! Oh, and sorry for not remembering 2nd and 3rd at the sprints. I know you guys told me, but did you really think I’d be able to remember in my addled state?


Hell Ride 7-21-2009

I had to go back an re-read last week’s Hellride report, first because it was well written and I sat down at my computer with an irritating episode of writer’s block; and second, because I now have a different perspective from which to read it.
A Tuesday evening at Spring Meadow Lake.  It’s warm, warm enough the beaches are moderately filled with swimmers, sunbathers, paddlers, the odd fisherman, and a plethora of effervescent, screaming/giggling, sand-throwing kids – summer at it’s best.  I arrived a little early – I certainly didn’t wish to be late for my first ever Hellride – and as six o’clock neared and I was the only bicyclist in sight, I was starting to think I was the only one who hadn’t answered the piper’s call of pizza, adult beverages and Tour de France.  Still, all things considered, it would have made for an interesting Ride Report, with alternating placement of Me, Myself, and I as the finishers for each of the stages.  Fortunately I was saved from a potentially narcissistic bender – or perhaps the onset of a split-personality episode – with the arrival of three stalwart adventurers who came to join the fun, the sun, the asphalt:  Jane O., Mark B., and Byron.  Hellride was on! A few minutes pause to hit the loo, and see if anyone else felt moved to ride, but 6:00 arrived and the word was given.  Snooze you lose, we’re outta here.
It would prove to be – as I had anticipated – an educational evening.  Beyond riding the Helena Century and a dozen-or-so Thursday night rides last year with some of the HBC crew, my cycling experience is limited to triathlons and solo rides, all within the last 13 months.  I’ve actually watched just one stage of the TDF.  The last time I was on a bike for any duration was while I was growing up, and there’s still a part of me that expects to feel the ponderous, pendulous weight of a hundred-or-so newspapers suspended in the bag draped from the handlebars.  Funny what you get used to…but I digress.
A steady, easy pace as we left the lake, and my three compatriots endeavored to give me a Cliff’s Notes version of how to do a Hell Ride:  pace lines, basic course layout, the basic objectives, some pace line etiquette. The first stage start/finish markers were described, and I started to prepare myself for what awaited after the second set of tracks.  Which begs the question:  how the H-E-double toothpicks are you supposed to prepare for something you’ve never done?  Easy- just DO it! besides, you’ve watched a stage of the Tour de France, you watched how the riders did what they do, how hard can it be?  I mean come on – a bike ride, by any other name, is still a bike ride, right?
Lesson Number 1:  A bike RIDE and a bike RACE are two entirely different animals.  Any similarity ends at the bike. That happy-go-lucky, give-’em-a-chuck-on-the shoulder, give-you-the-shirt-off-his-back buddy you rode with on Saturday does a Jekyll and Hyde at the Start Line, and you know, without a doubt, he or she will smoke you on the course if they can – no guilt, no remorse, no mercy.  It’s an A-game world now, and you best’ve brought yours.  It’s the essence of competition: you against the yourself, you against the course, and you against everyone else.  It’s a place where you can truly feel ALIVE.
A steady warm up, getting a feel for the other members of the pace line, the mind fast-forwarding through all the little stuff – are you going too fast, are you going too slow, stay on their wheel, watch the road for hazards when you’re pulling, are your knees tucked in, or are you still riding bow-legged, did you hydrate enough – and BAM! – you’re over the second set of tracks and the race is on.  Mark, Byron and Jane make quick work of the hill, and I’m keeping up, but I got caught flat-footed when the breakaway happened.  Holy cow, but things happen fast!  Over the hill, and into the stage, and at the next little hill, I make my move, and into the lead I go.  Drive it, push it, make ’em eat your dust!  Dude, you’re in the LEAD!
Lesson Number 2:  Know  – exactly – how long the stage is.  Whereinthehellis that fire station anyway?  I STILL can’t see it. I didn’t think it was THAT far.  And then we must be getting close, because Mark does a breakaway, and leaves me like I’m standing still.  We’re still a couple of miles out, but Mark and the rest were resting in the draft zone, while I was pulling in the “Woohoo! I’m in the lead!” zone.  A mile or so from the finish Byron pulls away, and I’m talking to my calves telling them the absolutely cannot cramp until AFTER the fire station, because I just KNOW Jane is right behind me.  I don’t dare look back, I can just FEEL it.
Stage 1:  Mark, Byron, Steve, Jane
Stage two, I decide to try and learn something from the first.  I let someone else do most of the pulling so I have something left when I need it.  And I get suckered by newbie mistake number two, and try to jump when everyone else does.  To the rear with you New Guy.  One last big hill before the longer more gradual grade to the finish, and I take advantage of the downhill to close the gap and pass everyone else but Mark (who seems to defy gravity at times) only to have Byron pass me on the upgrade.  Legs on fire, calves threatening to cramp, I somehow manage to stay fairly close up the hill, grunting and growling like an animal (I dunno, it’s something I picked up in the Corps, but it seems to work) and catch and hold third to the finish.
Stage 2:  Mark, Byron, Steve, Jane
The third and final stage.  We take it a little easy on a very pleasant stretch of road, with Byron giving me an insight into the finer aspects of Road Racing 101.  I entered this evening’s activities knowing enough to know I knew squat, but at least now I can begin to put things into perspective. You can read about it, you can watch it, and those are helpful, but it’s something else entirely to get out and DO it.   We’re closing in on the final hill, and Byron gives me a game plan on how to attack it. I launch my breakaway, but instead of going all-out I hesitate – and lose the advantage.  It’s a close push to the top, but the hesitation costs.
Stage 3:  Mark, Jane, Byron, Steve
Now for the ride back to town, and a return of the riding buddies you started with.  The miles melt away as we visit back and forth, recapping the evening, sharing stories, drinking in the magic that is bicycling, and basking in the warmth of competition and esprit de corps. This is what life is supposed to be.  It’s physical, it’s mental, and it’s spiritual.  It’s looking back on your past and seeing who you used to be get smaller and smaller in the distance, until the image fades into the haze and becomes indistinct.  It’s noting the ache in your muscles, and the scratchiness at the back of your throat and feeling LIFE coursing through your veins.  It’s flipping the bird at Father Time and telling him “catch me if you can, you Cheeto-scarfing, sofa-loafing couch potato son of a [expletive deleted]!”  And best of all, it’s the anticipation and satisfaction of knowing that you get to come back out and do it again next week.  New group, new challenges, new lessons.  Hellride.  Hell yeah!
My advice to anyone who’s thought about it, but held back from joining in:  STOP!  Next Tuesday, get on your bike, strap on your helmet, and come out and Hellride!  You have no idea what you’re missing, and you’re gonna kick yourself down the road when you finally figure out how much freakin’ FUN it is!  Quit worrying about how fast you ride, or that you’ll hold up the group, or your shoes don’t match your jersey, or whatever excuse you’re hanging on to. Step out of your comfort zone and give it a TRY.  The only thing you have to lose it whatever it is that’s holding you back.  The life you change may be your own.
I dare ya.
Steve Creigh