Clinton Training Race March 19th

Here is the race update from the March 19, 2011 Clinton Practice Race.  Randall, Theresa, Danika and I showed up to represent the team.  We also hooked up with Chad Dexter from Big Sky and Randy and Landen showed up to throw down as well.  Weather was cool and breezy, temps in the low 40s.


For those that know the course, you know that one of the biggest challenges during this race is to keep the sticky side down.  For the uninitiated, the race course is a 6.5 mile loop going west up the south side of the Interstate from Clinton, crossing over the RR tracks and through an underpass to the north side of the Interstate, heading east back to Clinton, an overpass and crossing the RR tracks again.  Total elevation gain/loss each lap is only 100 feet so the laps are hot.  4 laps was the race length yesterday.  Average speed during the race was around 22 mph, and that was with 5-10 mph winds that started from the east and then switched to the west with the last 2 miles in a rainstorm and snow flurries as the front finally hit from the west.


Randall, Chad, Randy and I all started with the B chase field.  This is a pursuit style race with winner take all, regardless of starting field.  There was an A Field that started 10 minutes back, (Landen and the Juniors joined that group) the B field started 5 minutes back and the C field consisting of first timers (and included our own Theresa and Danika) took off first at noon.  As the B field rolled up to the line and after roll call was finished the gates on the RR crossing came down and we were held back about 3 minutes until the train passed, then the chase was on.


First two laps were pretty uneventful for the Bs (I heard there were some crashes in the C field), everybody was riding pretty well and getting things figured out when the A’s caught us on the first half of the 2nd lap heading east back to Clinton.  The peleton got very large but not too squirrely until crossing the 1st RR tracks on the 3rd lap when Landen stopped in the peleton b/c his handlebar loosened and rolled down.  That caused an accident but fortunately nobody on the team was caught up and no physical injuries were reported.  I saw a guy from GAS go down and heard that he broke his handlebars.


Those that were in front of the wreck rode away and Randall and I were in the lead chase group but we were slow to organize. Two guys from Northern Rockies were throwing accusations at each other about the wreck and one of them was even yelling at this guy from Muleterro.  I thought I was going to see fist-i-cuffs at 20 mph and was just about ready to tell them to shut up and race when the tempo picked up sufficiently so everybody had to concentrate on breathing and riding which took the fight out of them, but the damage was done.  We never caught up to the leaders and rode the last 1.5 laps all taking turns at the front holding a good pace.  Reminds me that I need to work on my TT skills.


Randy stopped to help Landen and after he got Landen restarted we saw junior shoot past our chase group, he was going at such a speed and slipped away from us before we could latch on.  Here are the results of the overall race and summary from the race promoter (note the original showed Randy at 8th but I believe he dropped out so I am presuming that it was Landen, unless it was Randy finishing a lap down)

Thanks to everyone who came out to the training race this morning.  We all were pretty lucky that the rain and snow held off until the last 2 miles or so of the race.  It was ideal Montana racing weather.  I had the opportunity to drive the follow car and follow the “A” category although I almost wasn’t able to catch them because they were moving so fast.  Probably the fastest Clinton race I have ever been a part of.  I honestly thought that the speedometer on my car was malfunctioning until I turned on the GPS and it verified that yes the peloton really was going that fast.

The finish was furious and into a brisk headwind driven rain.

In the end Shaun Radley beat out teammate Dan Visicheck for the win.

I wasn’t able to get placings for everyone but here is the partial list that we came up with…

1) Shaun Radley

2) Dan Visicheck

3) Jared Nelson

4) Joshua Philips

5) Travis Monroe

6) Peter Young

7) Ben Lovelace

8) Landen Beckner


The top women’s finisher was Linsey Campbell followed by Anna Dingman and Kaitlin Kominsky

Today’s race was officially the last race of winter in Montana so obviously next weekend – being that is will be spring – the weather will be outstanding!  See you all then.



Bobcat Classic Race Report 4/17/10

What started off as a causal training ride was amped up by the peloton of Bozeman Masters’ Velo riders that dominated the pack of 25+ riders.  Of course there were a ton of GAS/Intrinsik riders in the field as well, but Helena held its place with all three Helena racing clubs represented.  Your team fielded the largest number of riders (our sponsors should be proud) with Randall, Byron and Mark, followed by MT Velo (Rick Finley and Frank Gonzolez), and Big Sky had Dave and Chad representing.   Frank raced 70 miles (two laps) and looked like he was running third at the base of the hill.  The rest of us rode 37 miles from the turnoff to L&C Caverns east over to Sappington Jct., up the hill towards Harrison, west to Cardwell, then back to the Caverns finishing with a 5k uphill finish at the upper parking lot.

The Bozeman riders set the pace for most of the race with a short pulls and coasts—they tried to control the race pace by getting to the front and sitting in.  At about mile 18 Rick was having none of this so he did a wonderful run off the front on a nice long gradual climb and I closed the back door behind another GAS rider and forced a long attack by the Bozeman peloton.  Lisa Curry was mixing it up with the boys and was practicing some of her cyclocross moves on the edge of the asphalt shoulder squeezing a line in the wind shadow.  Unfortunately, Lisa’s race ended at about mile 29 when she and another rider responded to a mild attack by shifting and standing up and in the process violated one of the laws of Newtonian physics.  She broke some spokes and hurt her hip and got some rash on her arms, knuckles and knees but had a great attitude.  That first shower is going to hurt!  All in all, very lucky considering we were running around 25 mph at that point.   She’s a fighter and we’ll surely see her back racing soon.

For those of you that time trial, race triathlons, mountain bike, or just ride recreationally, the one distinguishing element about road racing is the peloton.  Riding with a group of riders you don’t know for two hours at road rash speeds can be an unnerving experience.  For me it has been one of the hardest things to train for because during the week I prefer to ride in small groups so that we don’t present as much of a profile to overtaking traffic.  The rules change on the weekends though.  During racing, the peloton owns the road.  Sure there is overtaking, on-coming, or slow traffic, but when you are in a group running at 20 to 30 mph traffic moves around you, not vice versa.   I don’t think one ever gets used to running at these speeds with 6 inches of wheel to wheel separation, but that is one of the hallmarks of the sport.

At the 5K mark I turned in with the leaders to start my climb to the upper parking lot.  All of a sudden guys started throwing water bottles to the ditch, so I did the same and was thinking what other useless weight I could jettison.  I was smart enough to sit in and not take any deep pulls before the turn to the hill and wanted to concentrate on my tempo and try to keep my cadence up.  Hey it’s only 5K right, 3.2 miles,  this is the finish, it hurts for everybody right?  Well the math doesn’t matter on race day, it matters on the days leading up to the race.  The long and the short is I need more hill work but I finished with the lead pack at 5th.   Chad was in my sights and probably put about 30 seconds into me.  Randall came in about two minutes behind me and the rest of the finish order for the Helena riders was Rick, then Dave and Byron.  Strong effort by all.

Hope to see more of you all out there riding and racing soon.


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!

Cardwell Training Race

Team Great Divide:

Today (Sunday) was the Cardwell training race with the start and finish at Lewis and Clark Caverns State Park. Only me from Team Great Divide showed up, and lots of top state racers were at the Tour of the Walla-Walla in Washington, but we had a race field of about 30. There was also a collegate race with a much larger field (maybe 50 – 75?) that started at 9:30 and did two loops of the state roads course. Not to kill the punch line – the race finished up at the Lewis and Clark caverns gift shop parking lot -a brutal climb of 3 miles up from the entrance to the state park.

The ‘A’ and ‘B’ fields for the training race got combined into one field (no takers for twice around the 34 mile loop for the training racers). We started off at 10 AM. Cold (45 degrees) and windy with winds out of the W/NW at 5 – 20 mph. Tail wind on 346 for the 6 miles or so until the right turn onto 287, the entire field hanging together. Riders held back until the first third or so of the big hill climb (4 1/2 miles?) and then started pushing. I played it smart and kept to the left (shielded from the wind from the west by other riders) and felt good all the way up over the hill without feeling much strain (as opposed to the Team ride a couple of weeks ago when I was trying to stay with Greg). Nine miles on 287 with the lead group by the top down to about 12-15 riders as we turned onto 359. Into the headwind, but the pack kept up a 20 mph + pace. We had a good pace line running, with about six or seven of us doing most of the pulling but sharing the work of busting into the wind.

Twelve miles on 359 to the intersection with 346 past Carwell. I almost got dropped on one jump but gutted it out with a couple others and got back in. Right turn and wind at the back for seven miles with a fast-ass pace (up to 38 mph), knowing full well that there was the 3 mile grunt coming. I almost got dropped again in another team tactic jump on the flats (I hate those) – (GAS team is strong this year, as usual). At the turn into the park I had 8 riders in front of me, but none all that far ahead… and having riden up the road to the gift shop before (previous years), I knew this was a long 3 mile steep (13% grades in a few places) climb! I was able to push hard and pass 2 riders at the bottom, and one more about half way up the climb. So, finished in 5th place, with all the other top riders much younger. Success!!! Average race speed 20.5 mph. Pretty good for all that climbing.

Next Sunday the Roubaix!


Cow Country Classic Race Results 2008

Here are the results for the 2008 Cow Country Classic.  This is Team Great Divide’s annual road race.  

2008 cow country classic results

Here is an editorial story about the race from Robert Ray:

June 5, 2008

Dear Editor:

The participants in the Cow Country Bicycle Classic rolled out of Wolf Creek on June 1, 2008.  Since 1995, this annual event has traveled the beautiful hilly Montana Highways 434, 200 and 287.  We would like to thank the drivers who slowed and edged over the center line to safely pass the 87 racing cyclists who ranged in age from 13 to 65 years old.  Many drivers shared the road by giving cyclists more than 5 feet of space when they passed.  The cows just watched us pedal up hill and down.  

We appreciate and want to acknowledge the support of MDT and our Helena sponsors: Great Divide Cyclery, the Bagel Company, Taco del Sol, Blackfoot Brewery and the Windbag Saloon and Grill.  We want to thank the volunteers who gave generously of their time and energy: Byron DeFord, Mark Brooks, Laura Erikson, Tom Furlong, Ann Seifert, Joel Gerhart, Juliane Burkhardt, James Thomas, Sarah Slanger and Fran Penner-Ray.  Dean Hatch of Great Falls organized the Junior event for teen cyclists with the help of Juli Rognlie and Jim Pope.  In races and events throughout Montana, volunteers make good things happen.

Finally we’d like to highlight some of our local athletes whose efforts resulted in awards: Frank Gonzales and Scott Herzig, 2, and 4th place in the “elite” category, Jason Ames, 1st place in the “up and coming” category and Greg Wirth, 2nd place in the “novice” category.

We hope you enjoy safe travels on foot, two wheels or four. Thanks for sharing the road.

Team Great Divide

Robert Ray