When The Pieces Fall Into Place

It’s funny how when certain events happen it starts a series of events that enable us to do more than we thought possible. Last weekend I had such a phenomenon and I am still basking in the glory of victory.

Last Saturday I traveled to the Discovery Ski Area just outside of Anaconda to pre ride the course that was to be used for the Discovery Mountain Bike Race the next day. I was nursing an injury so the ride was not totally fun but it was nice to be riding around so much beauty. The course was the same.

The course starts out on a cross-country ski trail climb and then plunges back down on a double track. At the bottom of the first hill the trail turns to east coast style single track but this only lasts about 100 yards as it turns back to cross-country ski trail. Then comes the pretty fun rollers which you have to big ring to keep momentum. Another wicked fast downhill takes you to the second climb but thankfully short and fast.

The road section is next which shoots you down to another logging road. A mile up the logging road you start the third and hardest climb of the race. It is four wheeler double track that goes through the meadows and brings you to the top of a sweet downhill section. The downhill is long and fast although disappointingly double track. Being smooth here means picking up major time on your competitors.

After whooping it up you shoot back out on a major gravel road and stay on it fro what seems 100 miles (actually only 2 or 3). It is a slow climb so you must big ring up it or loose time to your competition. I found this climb the hardest just because of the pure output needed. From the road you climb up and scream down some more cross-country ski trails.

About a mile or two from the finish line you encounter meadows full of spring run off. Major wetness occurs here and this is a part I hated. I was not looking forward to the meadows. I did see some elk there though. From there to the finish is real flat but slightly uphill cross-country ski trail.

On race day I lined up determined to ride with the leaders. The field looked pretty rich as Clint Muhlfeld showed up to race. Thank god the nation champ Grant Keir was not there to push the pace even harder.

We started up the hill and I had no problem keeping up with the main pack in fact I took the lead going into the downhill section so as to not let the faster racers get out of touch. At the bottom of the hill Clint passed me and I prepared for the onslaught of pain as he tried to get away. I miss-shifted and landed myself in a tree. I hoped back on but lost 5 places and the leaders were gone.

I hammered my way to at least a point where they were visible. As we climbed the second climb I was still in contact and in 4th place. I gained a position on the road and rode up to the leaders Clint and Douglas Shryock. It seemed as though they were waiting for me and allowed me to lead to the hardest climb. Thanks for letting me feel like a big shot guys!

On the climb their nature kicked in and they pass me with such vigor that I lost contact. I kept up the good faith just trying to hold off and onto 3rd place. The guy behind seemed strong enough to overtake me and I hammered as hard as I could.

On the downhill I went as fast as I could and let go of the brakes (a very dangerous situation). Once on the road climb I looked up the straight-away and saw my competition a quarter mile ahead of me. I had still lost time but I did put distance on 4th place. I climbed up the road going as fast as I could and by the top I had almost caught Clint as well as 4th place (Matt Butterfield I think) because when I looked around he was right behind me.

As we shoot down to the meadows Clint went down and he seemed very angry so I figured that he dropped a chain or something. later I found out that he cut himself to the bone and went to the ER. At the time I wanted to put on as much time on him as I could and possibly squeak out a second place. This surge would pay off later. Halfway around the second and last lap I caught up to Doug and I stayed behind him for a while. I figured that when we came to the big climb he would charge again so I rested.

We turned the corner and he had nothing so I went. I went all out and barely made it over the crest of the hill. I looked back and I had a huge lead. I hammered through the trees on the downhill faster than I care ever to do again and when I came out on the last road section I had really put on a good lead. I attacked at every incline fearing that Doug would catch me. I went all out to the finish line and was victorious.

For whatever reason the head official John Coulthard shouted to me that I was not finished and that I needed to do another lap. He said this as Matt rolled up in second place. We angrily went off to do another lap. I was able to ride away again but only because he was not willing to chase. I barely made the second lap which would take me to around 40 miles for the day. I finished again but only before a lap of cramping and suffrage. I felt like a fool as everyone laughed and told me I did an extra lap. Damn John! Your a mean person! I felt like the victory had been taken away from me.

But in the end I in fact won the race. So as you can see sometimes events fall into place just right and enable you to do big things. Now it is rest time and preparation for he Knobby Tire Series race this weekend in Fairfield ID. have a good week everyone.

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