I’m sure that most of you have noticed that I have been doing a lot of cycling this summer. My season started at the end of May with the Cow Country Classic 50 mile road race. Racing really wasn’t something that I had planned on doing this season, but instead something I kind of just jumped into head first. Essentially I went from a casual road rider on my off time to strengthen my knee so that I could play frisbee without terrible pains. Well after randomly meeting Mel at Trivia one night and finding out that she was a cyclist I ended up going out for a Gallitan Valley Club ride. This of course lead to more rides. Mel talked about how much she absolutely loved her ride in Belt(hahaha) and when she was talking about the Cow Country Classic I got this weird inclination to try a race.
Well roughly two months later I’ve completed my fifth race. Three road races, one time trial and one Crit. Mel told me to just set goals for each race. They were simply, finish and try to not get last. That was achieved in 4 of the five races, however, the one I did not finish was due to a broken spoke that I couldn’t avoid.
So, onto this weekends exciting adventure of races that concluded this year’s season.
State Time Trial – Opportunity, MT
Mel and I decided to do the State Time Trial in Opportunity, MT and on Saturday and then head to Missoula for Sunday’s Crit race. Having not done a time trial except one in Hyalite with the GVBC, I really didn’t know how hard to push through the whole race. Basically, Time Trials are you against the clock. Instead of starting everybody at one time they start the riders in intervals of 30 seconds or a minute. Then you just ride as hard as you can for the alloted milage. Time trials really are all about managing your power(Wattage output) so you can stay at peak performance for the whole ride. I don’t have a power meter on my bike so I was basically basing it off of my heart rate. I think I may have kept it too low on the ride out as I sustained about 10 bpm more on the way back without too much trouble. I added a third goal to this race, which was to beat my best time on the Springhill TT course that Mel and I rode the prior week. That time was roughly 32’15 and the course is a 20k course. The state TT is a 40k course so I was shooting to beat 64’30. My finish time was 63’15 so check 2 goals for that race. After the race Mel and I were packing up the car(think tetris with 2 bikes, 9 pillows, 5 blankets + other traveling stuff), when a bee decided to joust with me. Normally when they fly in my face I swat them as hard as I can. Apparently, he survived the first swatting and saught revenge. Leaving his pointy butt plug in my eyebrown and then proceeding to attack Mel before his demise he created quite the stir. We then proceeded to awards with a slightly irritated eyebrown. Awards were given and they called me for 3rd place in my division??? Stating that you have to have an annual license to win awards at state events I by default got 3rd. Well turns out, I don’t have an annual license either so I talked to the judges after they gave out all the medals and told them that they had made a mistake. They then awarded the medal to the correct recipient and I was now in my correct place of 5th.
After the race we hit the road and headed to Missoula. We met up with some friends of mine and they invited us to a BBQ they were having with their family. It was awesome. Mel and I then headed back to the KOA so she could work on some stuff for her Phd. Feeling completely exhausted from the day (it was hot out) we just layed on a tarp for about an hour while it cooled off enough to crawl into the tent and die for the night.
Zootown Throwdown Crit Race – Missoula, MT
We headed down to the race track which was in downtown Missoula. There is a map here as well as some other info. The Cat 5/Master’s B Men race was slated for 11:35 am. Tyler and Mollie had car troubles Saturday driving to Missoula and arrived late into town. They had to bike from the motel to downtown with their duffle bags. Hardcore! Tyler and I havn’t raced together, but we were going to give it a shot on the Crit. The race was composed of 6 turns making an ‘L’ shape. Crits are very turn intensive and can be dangerous as it is easy to slide out or run into other riders. Think Nascar, but with more cornering and on bikes. Coming around turn 4 Tyler had a collision with somebody and went down. This was a panic moment for me. This was my first crit and I wasn’t sure what to do. Do I stop and get him back up so we can race together or keep going. I decided to push on and hope that they would give him his mulligan lap(In crits you get a free lap if you have mechanical problems, which we found out to be only tire flats?). I have no doubt that we could have worked Tyler into the top three on this race. He is an excellent sprinter and it would have been a sweet finish. We’ll get them next time. The rest of the race went well, I pulled through some of the pack and landed on the breakaway pack for most of the race. I had forgotten to reset my cyclometer before the race started so I had no idea how far into the race we were the entire time. The race was suppose to be 35 minutes long. I finally looked up at the lap counter on one of the laps. 2 LAPS TO GO!!!! Crap! I was currently in 6th with 2 Northern Rockies Riders in front of me. I tried to pull around a few times, but just couldn’t get around one of the NRO riders. It ended in a sprintoff between 5th/6th place with me and one of the NRO riders. That is exciting! Turns out that there were 2 Master’s B men in the breakaway pack and I landed a 4th place in the Cat 5’s. Pretty exciting way to finish off the season.
Thanks to Mel, this has been an absolutely awesome adventure. I really had no idea that I could find another sport that I enjoyed as much as Frisbee. As anything, things you enjoy are usually a product of the people that you do them with. Team Delphine as well as the GAS team have been absolutely awesome in welcoming me into the cycling community. I appreciate the open arms group you guys have, it really does make it a lot easier to get into such a new sport.