Hello from somewhere under the haze in Missoula Montana. I returned home last night from this weekends race the Thompson Park Mountain Bike Race in Butte Montana. This race was number 5 in the Montana Off Road Series (MORS).
I left town on Saturday and spent a couple hours at the course pre riding. the weather was cooler than Missoula. I left and it was 106 here and when I got back from my ride in Butte it was 62 and overcast. It was very pleasant.
The course starts out on a old rail road bed and turns to a small single track section with a grueling steep climb that goes over the tunnel (race an not go through a tunnel for some legal reasons I guess). After a small downhill it returns to the rail road bed for another kilometer or so before turning onto double track that begins the long climb to the top of the course. The decent is also on double-track and is extremely fast with water bars that can be hit at full speed. The course gets interesting with some short climbs and very technical and steep descent over rocks and roots. IT all spills out onto the rail road bed again which takes you to another short loop of singletrack in some gentle rolling hills and finally a short hard climb to the double track before the finish.
I camped out on the divide and met up with my friends the day of the race. Everyone had a good race as usual and mine went with a little dissapointment in the form of a flat tire.
At the start I took the lead to control the pace. As we approached the small steep climb over the tracks John Curry passed and picked up the pace. I followed and after a small mishap and run up the hill I was back on his heels again as we left the rail road tracks again to start the climb.
By now the heat was approaching 100 degrees and the climb became very hard. I kept up for a bit but had to back off the pace due to excessive physical pain. I let another rider take up the chase and followed as closely as I could.
I was afraid I was falling off pace and the two riders were far enough ahead that I would not see them again but as I reached the tracks at the bottom of the decent I realized that I was catching again. I hammered through the second loop to be back on the heels on lap two.
As I approached the start finish line my front tire went flat. I found a huge chunk of glass in the tire. I attempted a quick fix but I screwed up the c02 cartridge and had to inflate the new tube with a pocket pump (by hand). I pumped until I became anaerobic and quickly re-joined the race. I had fallen back in the pack due to my lengthy stop.
I just decided to relax and do the best I could as the damage to my position and possibly to the standing had been done. At the end of the second lap I was abale to re-distance myself to the main group and catch back up to 4th place. After a lengthy conversation about mini pumps I passed a fellow racer and took over third place. I put distance on him through out but only came to within 5 minutes of second.
Overall I can not complain about re-gaining third place after flatting so i will venture to say i had a good race. As for the standings, that we will have to wait and see. I plan to post some pictures that a friend took so come on back and check for those. In the meantime I have ordered a tubbless system so that I am not at a disadvantage to the “smarter” racers (john). John has tipped me off to a system called Stans and you can see what it is all about at www.notubes.com.
Next week I am grounded at home as I recover from the financial hit of buying new parts but I hope to be back at the races in Idaho for the Gallena Grinder Marathon MTB in two weeks.