Monday, July 12, 2010

Hopeless Holmes in breathtaking Bozeman

It seems I may have issues with getting places on time... No kidding, you might say, but when you're only in a town for 36 hours, and by the second day fellow racers are already congratulating you for making it to the race on time, there's a problem. :)

On Friday, I drove to southern Montana for the Tour de Bozeman. I was a bit concerned about doing the drive solo, since it was around 9 hours, but shortly after crossing the border, I was so blown away by the beautiful scenery that I spent the whole time gawking left and right, taking terrible photos of the scenery through a bug-splattered windshield, eating, and generally being an excellent driver, that I didn't get the least bit drowzy. If you ever have a excuse to drive south on Interstate 15, do it - it's amazing!

Got to my host's house late Fri night and was treated to the "west wing" of Amy's luxo house. Thanks again, Amy!

Sat morning I saw Bozeman in the daylight for the first you can guess, amazing: mountain ranges in every direction. The TT was a fairly flat 20km. I made it with plenty of time, had a good warmup, and was able to chill on the steps of the start ramp for a bit before my start (doesn't happen very often!). Up to the holder, 3,2,1, go! I start, thinking 'this is some thick carpet on the start ramp!'...then I start rolling down the ramp, thinking 'wow...REALLY thick!'...then I hit the road and I'm still pushing crazy watts to keep moving. Oh... I jump off my bike, brake must be jammed on the wheel, push the brake off, back on the bike, no luck, off the bike again, release and close the quick-release, back on, still jammed...meanwhile other racers are passing me...I finally figure out the quick-release just isn't tight enough, go back to the start, no dice on a re-start, so I rode anyway. Not a bad ride, but it was a strong field, with "Freight Train" Fryckman laying down a 25 minute TT, and another dude just ten seconds back - wow - so I was last by miles.

Had lunch with Amy and Dave, then had a nap. That evening were the 300m match sprints down Main St. The tech guide said they'd be from 6 to 9pm, so I figured I wouldn't start earlier than 8. Rocked up at catch the end of the presentations for the sprint winners... Oops. Headed out on the town afterwards, to catch a little of Bozeman's surprisingly happening Main St, with some of the fun GAS team.

Sunday RR. The combined 1-2-3 field made for a good group of 20 or so, with a number of racers representing GAS and Montana Velo. An attack went almost immediately, with GAS and MV riders, but the peleton kept up a solid pace and they were brought back before the turn-around. More attacks on the hills at turnaround, on awesome Road To Nepal-like terrain, but nothing got away. Then on the way back north (and back up to 6,000 ft) another breakaway went, again representing the two predominant teams. I shared the pacemaking with a guy Charlie from the Radioshack junior/U23? team and they were brought back in time for the run up Battle Ridge. More attacks on the climb sent the pace through the roof on a painful 500m or so of 10%, and I could only watch through my tears as half the pack went clear. Fortunately we got a good paceline going and hit it hard to catch them on the descent.

Riding out in the rolling farmland we were treated to views of distant mountains. A solo rider went clear and good a good gap. On the return Charlie was on the front at least half the time, while I cowered mid-pack, and solo dude got reeled in. People
hit it on most of the hills, and at Battle Ridge, the race was on. It broke apart but a group of 4 formed at the top, getting clear of a chase group of 3, and then me and another dude. We pace-lined on the fast decent and flats, but didn't catch the next guys, then a turn off the main road and I buried myself for the final 500m and the kicker to the finish line to finish 8th. I hear Charlie looked to be enjoying himself as he crossed in first.

Back to shower and jam two bikes and 9 wheels into the buzz box, and a easy 8 hours had me home by midnight. Guys, definitely think about hitting this race next year...strong field, beauty drive down, killer race routes, great people...all round good times.

1 comment:

Tom K said...

Nice race report Lockie. I think you should start a new career as a writer for one of those magazines. No, No not the ones that start with "I was attending a bike race in a small mid-western town and never thought it would happen to me..." but a real bike mag. The reports are really good!

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