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.
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.
Short version –
4 Team Great Divide riders: Mark and Wendy Brook, Randall Green, myself (and Fran for support).
Field: about 24 (men and women).
Day 1: 76 miles, 4,700′ vertical gain. Group split at first big climb. @ 2nd big climb 3 riders out front- Mark Brook, Robert Ray and Matt Lavin (Bozeman Masters). Gap at the top of the climb allowed Mark and Robert to finish 1,2 by a good margin.
Day 2. 97 miles, 5,900′ vertical gain. Group split at first big climb (different than day 1). @ 3rd rest stop before 2nd big climb lead group of 3 (Mark, Matt and Robert) got caught by Rich Greaves (Kalispell). Robert and Matt (Bozeman) got a gap on second climb and powered home to finish 1,2.
“Winners”: day 1: Mark B; day 2: me; Overall, me – and all that rode the course.
Analysis : great routes, scenery, very little traffic. Can’t say enough good things about the riding in the area. Well supported and put together. Stay in Eureka at the High School (gym or campus outside camping) nice – vegetarian options for meals. Long drive to start/finish (about 5 hours).
Weather: slightly challenging on day 2 with some rain – too bad it came just in time for the descents, although the 2nd descent can be taken at high (>>>) speed, even in the rain.
So do it again? YES!
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.
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.
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.