Report from Bend

Bend was a super venue: great town, perfect weather (some astrices apply personally!), close in, friendly racing on EXTREMELY challenging courses.  I went at age 68 to get a feel for the courses with the hope they would keep Nationals in Bend for a third year to allow for my quintadal rejuvenation.  Fantasies of victory were challenging to maintain.  I stayed in my camper in the very nice Tumulo State Park at the northern end of the road race course.  I had selected my gearing base on what I thought were accurate computer maps of the courses.  The totals on altitude gain (700 feet in my time trial and 2800 feet in my road race were certainly correct) but the steepnesses were off.  I got there two days early and explored the courses on my mountain bike.  I found the courses difficult to locate and probably put in 60 miles with lots of altitude gain the day before the time trial.  A bit much in retrospect.  And the computer map’s 3% slopes were in several place more like 6%.  I had been training on 3% slopes with my time trial bike (eg, up to Langor Campground in Hyalite Canyon) and doing fine, but 6% scared me as I only had a 55 tooth chain ring

Time trial.  Farcical to be tragic or visa versa: hard to say.  Always the thinker, I decided I would ride from my campground to the start properly to warm up (maybe 1000 feet of vertical, see below).  I figured just spinning on a trainer wouldn’t do it for such a tough course.  I was scheduled to go off third, a minute behind John Haney, whom I could usually beat–a good omen.  However, an 8 o’clock start in 38 degree temperatures was a minus.  I was feeling pretty good but maybe a touch tired after the warm-up ride to the start.  No Haney.  No number two.  I was going off first.  Fug.  I could only recognize one guy behind me (a national champion), but all the rest looked pretty young and, to a man, they had the $10,000 time trial bikes.  At the start, they hold me too far behind the ramp edge and I almost go off the side of the start ramp at release.  Fug.  The motor cycle cop falls in behind me, not out front as he should have been.  200 meters in, the course is blocked and I have to turn.  This is not as it was on the maps or as indicated yesterday.  I turn.  But immediately there is another intersection with no obvious indication of where to go.  I slow and turn around and yell at the cop.  He points.  Fug.  Finally I am on the 2 mile 3% uphill and it seems to be going better, but by the turn around I’m caught by Greason #1.  At the turn around, we start straight east.  The sun is rising.  It’s blinding.  I can’t see a thing.  I know there are marked pot holes in the road.  Fug and double Fug.  I back off.  Clearly, this is not to be my day.  I try to make it over the first 6% bump but my gearing is just too high for success.  Pretty soon Greason #2 and #3 go past and after more bumps it’s 5 Greasons total.  My brain is making excuses, but the ego has taken a hit.

Criterium.  At least it is at 11:00 in the morning, sunny and just the right temperature.  It’s an attractive 6-turn 1000-meter course.  20 feet of altitude change.  Very technical.  At least 4 of the turns are single file.  Clearly, it will be a race of attrition.  The announcer says that he will pull you when you fall behind, that you shouldn’t just quit on you own.  Encouraging!  Now I have to at least finish the race.  There are 30 plus at the starting line.  Very quickly it’s a long line of 20 or so, me at the back.  The turns are scary, at least for me.  A couple of times gaps open at the back and I manage to bridge back.  Now it’s maybe 15 riders, all the rest soon pulled.  After about 7 laps (of 35 total), me and two other guys are gaped.  It’s not much, but we’re not making it back.  We’re reasonably strong and we don’t want to get lapped and pulled.  We seem to be doing the turns better.  We’re keeping them in sight and only losing 20-30 meters per lap. About half way in, one of us pulls his flat hand across his throat and disappears off the back.  We were reduced to two, and he and I changed the lead each lap. We’re going good.   With about 5 laps left we were caught and passed by 7 riders.  We stayed with them for a couple of laps before they started their final efforts.  I was reasonably satisfied.

Road Race.  I had a rest day before the road race.  I played tourist in the volcano lands to the south of Bend.  I drove to the cold 8:00 start and got reasonably warmed up.  I felt good.  Again 30 plus strong-looking riders at the line.  The past and present national champions were rolled forward and presented to the audience.  The front group would be in a protective bubble of motorcycle cops.  You would have the full width of the road.  Fall out of that bubble and you had to follow the rules of the road; you were a tourist.  The course was extremely difficult.  It was never level.  It had one section a little longer and steeper than our Sheeps Hill.  Then a few miles further on it had a short 10% plus pitch followed by a succession of stair step climbs.  It was two laps, with a mile long connecting section to the start-finish.  On the very first bump someone put the hammer down and it was painful to stay with the group.  On the Sheeps Hill section we dropped maybe 10 riders.  On the steep 10% section I was sort of in contact, but I wasn’t ready for the stair steps.  I was dropped.  The caravan started to go past.  I caught two other guys and we worked well.  At the top we started to draft the follow cars and were getting back on.  How professional I felt.  We make it.  The second time up Sheeps Hill we divided into two groups of 8.  I was in the second group.  Our group  worked well together, but the lead group was going a little faster.  At the finish I had a fairly good sprint and finished third in our group.

I enjoyed Bend and the people and the racing.  But I really had to work hard all year just to achieve acceptable mediocrity.  I’ll probably skip it next year.  But for all the rest of you I can’t recommend it too highly.


New Photos

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The following race report was submitted by Marjo Schat, a lovely lady that rides for Team Delphine. This is just a hunch, but I’m sure she will jump to BMV as soon as she has a little more silver in her hair. -alp

Cow Country has a few quirks to it. First of all the flier says the race is 54 miles long, when it is actually closer to 50 miles.  This always catches a few riders out (moral of the story, know where the finish is!).  The other thing about this race is that there is only one spot where the riding is flat – and that is the 500 or so meters where we ride through the town of Wolf Creek.  Apart from that short bit the course feels like it is 80% uphill and 20% downhill. Also, even though the course is almost a closed circle, there is ALWAYS a head wind with random gusts from the side.

There were 14 women at the start, including eight in the 1-2-3 category and six in the 4 category. The race included a number of very strong riders: NRO’s Tamara Bessette, Jenny Leubke, Geraldine Carter and Lindsey Campbell and pro triathlete Lindsey Corbin. For Team Delphine, we had Amy Frykman, Mel Melendrez, Anna Dingman and myself.

We started at a reasonable pace, with Anna Dingman and Amy Frykman in front. Almost immediately Tamara and a teammate pulled around Amy and Anna and picked up the pace. The front 6 or 8 riders switched off regularly with the pace slowing and speeding up again with the different leaders.  One of the times Tamara took the lead from me and picked up the pace she told me: “we have to warm up before the climb!”  The pack was chatting along the river and across the tracks and over our only flat section of the course.  Shortly after turning the corner onto the loop with longest climb (3 miles) just up ahead, the chatter died down abruptly.

I had been watching my odometer and made sure I was not on the front when we started the climb.  Amy had the same plan and we were the 4th or 5th pair on the road when the climbing started.  Amy set a steady pace that she knew she could hold to the top and although she did not start out at the front or accelerate, the rest of the riders dropped back around her leaving her up front with a 2 – 3 bike length gap.  I was keeping pace with the second wheel on the road, not setting the speed, not pulling, but not letting that rider get ahead of me either.  When Amy looked back and realized she was alone, she let up knowing she would not fare well by herself in the stiff crosswinds once at the top. Eventually Lindsey bridged up to Amy. I hopped on her wheel and got a pull up.  The three of us were side by side for a few pedal strokes and then Lindsey disappeared from between me and Amy.  The two of us continued to climb at Amy’s pace.  At the top I looked back and was surprised to see Amy and I had a good sized gap on the rest of the field.  I guess both of us had packed our climbing legs, because neither of us were all that labored at the top.

Over the top though, that changed.  We really turned on the gas and traded off short pulls to try to increase that gap and stay away.  For several miles, the gap grew.  At one point when I looked back down one of the never ending hills there was a string of small groups trailing back down behind us, but they were far enough away to give us confidence.  The key for those 8 miles that Amy and I were off the front was communication.  I had to let Amy know if I couldn’t grab her wheel and Amy had to do the same if I pulled through too strong.  Amy also reminded me to drink and eat (Thank you Amy!!!).  With the crosswinds and gusts, it was sometimes hard to figure out where the draft was, and getting in the draft was essential to get a little break.

At around mile 18 we saw that a small group was closing the gap and we took that opportunity to rest up a bit and let them catch us.  No one else was in sight behind that group of three (Geraldine Carter, Lindsey Corbin, and Jenny Leubke).  We worked together as a group pretty well, although Lindsey kept pulling through really hard when we were trying to get a pace line going.  That made it a tough paceline to ride in, but it also burned some matches for the ladies chasing.  Amy and I tried really hard not to do too much work and to let Jenny and Lindsey do as much of it as they wanted to.  Geraldine was also saving some of her energy.  As we hit the hills on Rt. 200 we started to fall into a pattern: I struggled to hang on when we weren’t going uphill and then rolled to the front on the climbs.  I focused on climbing steady and not digging too deep.  On several of the climbs, Lindsey accelerated past at some point, and one of the remaining four of us would slowly reel her back in.

We turned at Bowman’s corner and there was Jared Nelson at the top of the hill encouraging us on. On one of the other hills just past that I abandoned my “keep it steady” approach and accelerated up – trying to keep increasing my speed all the way to the top.  I wanted to see how the other ladies were feeling.  It looked like Geraldine was hurting a little and Jenny was struggling a little too.  I did not get a gap and I did burn a match, but I also gained some information that I hoped would be helpful.

Lindsey kept putting in accelerations, but I noticed that she did not carry through with them and would slow again even if she had a gap, so immediately answering an acceleration was not necessary so long as we kept the leash fairly short.  On one of those accelerations she got a decent gap and Jenny started to bridge. I got on Jenny’s wheel and when she realized she wasn’t going to make it, I looked back and noticed that Geraldine and Amy were not right with us, so I pulled around Jenny and closed the gap.  With me up the road a little with Jenny and Lindsey, Amy opted not to bridge in order to not pull Geraldine along with her. That is lucky for me, because Geraldine has a decent sprint.

Thus, with six miles to go, there were three of us in the lead group.  We worked together pretty well, but I noticed that Jenny was not working and was struggling to stay in contact on a few of the climbs.  Lindsey kept accelerating and then slowing and kept encouraging Jenny to stick with us. At one point Lindsey got another decent gap, and if she had gone with it she probably would have had a good chance to stay away, but she slowed again and Jenny and I caught back on without burning our own matches. I realized later that one reason Lindsey might have slowed up was that she did not know the course was 4 miles shorter than advertised.  At the 1km mark, I was leading and that was not a position I wanted to be in on the final push so I pulled off and Lindsey took the lead.  Jenny stayed glued to my wheel.  We were in that order when we passed the 200 meter mark and Lindsey accelerated again and I matched her and rolled by her.  It looked like Jenny was still on my wheel so I kept my head down and tried to keep accelerating up the hill and feeling like I was moving backwards down the hill due to the gusting headwind.  When I crossed the line I had no idea how close the other two were.  It was not a sprint finish, just a steady acceleration.

It was darned hard work, but eating and drinking, and making a concerted effort not to let my impatience get the best of me made a huge difference. Watching the other riders did as well.  Paying attention to how they were riding and what they were saying (“come on ladies just 8 miles to go” at the 4 miles to go point) gave me the confidence that I could hold on to Jenny and Lindsey those final miles to the finish and the guts to try to pull away from them on the finish climb.

Amy and Geraldine rolled in a minute or so later, with Geraldine taking the sprint for 3rd in the Cat 3 field. Amy took 4th for the 1-2-3s, and fifth overall.

The following was provided by John Barton. alp

Great job at Cow Country guys! We’ve got a really strong team. I think there was some good team tactics. Congrats. I think I got away in the beginning of the race because nobody knew who I was, which won’t happen again. I pulled away slowly so I didn’t kill my legs and then picked it up as I got farther away. A Kalispell rider caught me and we worked really well together to stay away. My hope was to give the other Dino’s, especially Brett and Bill, who had dropped me in a Bridger ride 2 weeks earlier, a chance to sit behind the other chasing teams and go for it with “fresh” legs at one of the last hills 2 or 3 miles from the finish. The guy I was with cramped and we almost had to give up the break so you never know.

Al’s Cow Country Recap

For the first time ever I can say I felt strong in this race. Before it has always been a struggle for me, but this time on the climbs I was able to ride within myself and yet maintain a strong pace. And my endurance was good.

As usual the race split up on the first climb but within a few miles several of us BMVs, with a few other riders, were together and we chased down the front group, while a break of two – John Barton one of them – was up the road. When our group hit the first big climb on 200 it split up again. Bill Gasteyer and Brett made the front group; those of us in the chasing group never saw the front group again.

There were 4 BMV (Tom, Phil, Joe Lemere and me) in the chase with two or three others. When we arrived at the last significant climb about 3 miles from the finish, it was just me and Tom. The non-BMV riders drifted away in the climbs. Joe and then Phil succumbed to cramps. We caught Robert Ray, let him tow us up a couple of climbs before dropping him on the third to last hill. And then on the last climb before the finish, where it was my intention to ride away from Tom, Tom rode away from me. It was frustrating because I still felt pretty good, but I simply could not match his pace. I partially closed the gap on the downhill but once the road flattened out and Tom went into TT mode…need I say more?

BMV had a great day overall. John Barton won Masters A for us and Brett took 4th I think. In B’s Bill Gasteyer won, Tom was second and I got third.

Bill’s report:

The race was pretty miserable.  At 7am the temp in Red Lodge was 31.  At the start of the run at 8am, nine miles further up, it had dropped a degree or two and during the run it began to snow.

When I arrived in Red Lodge about 65 minutes later it was snowing hard and the temperature had fallen to 27 degrees but the snow was not accumulating on the pavement.  Fortunately I had plenty of clothes in my transition bag.  This is what I wore from inner to outer…1). Long sleeve zip neck dry lite wicker 2) sleeveless wool T shirt (these first two items stayed on from the run) 3) long sleeve wool shirt 4) BMV long sleeve jersey 5) BMV lined vest 6) BMV lined jacket: Legs– water resistant tights over another pair of tights over light padded shorts; Feet – thick fleece lined booties; Head – baklava, clear glasses,Hands– water resistant ski gloves with hand warmers inside.  Yes, I felt like a blimp but I was comfy and not too warm.

It snowed and rained for most of the bike except for the last 15 miles.  There was a NW wind (head/cross) of 15mph to 20mph and at times I was only going 16 mph.   The last 10 miles I had to zip down the jacket and vest…but was still not too hot.  My feet were soaked, cold and numb.

Overall I did not have a good race.  I did not win my age group which was my goal. My legs had no snap during the run.  I passed a lot of guys on the ride but I also got passed by three.  The cross winds and wet dicey conditions kept me from the aero position more than I would have preferred.  Also, my transition time (layering on all the clothes) was terribly long and this gets added to the bike time.

The best thing about this race is I started & finished and except for my feet, stayed nice and warm.

Provided by Patrick Hatfield. -alp

SOLO DIVISION: Masters Men 50+
Place Name                    City/state    Run     Bike    Total      No.
1 BRUCE DANIELS      COLSTRIP MT         1:04:47 1:47:22  2:52:10.1   B36
2 BILL GASTEYER BOZEMAN MT          1:04:03 1:55:50  2:59:54.1   B55
3 PATRICK HATFIELD BOZEMAN MT          1:05:45 2:08:26  3:14:11.8   B38

The weather was “memorable”.  When Bill and I were setting up our transition stations (run to bike) the temp was 32 degrees, but at least it was dry.  On the bus ride up the Beartooth highway the temperature started dropping and by the time we reached the starting line it was snowing.  Back in Red Lodge after the 8.8 mile run, the temp had dropped, wind (head wind) picked up and we had snow/sleet mixed. At the transition to bike I put on a wicking shirt, a wool long sleeve shirt, our long sleeve jersey, our vest, a wind/rain coat, and a rain jacket. This was comfortable for the 43 mile bike portion of the race.  In the first mile, feet were soaked.  Rode almost all the race with hand warmers.  About half way thru the race it quit snowing – never really warmed up.  After race Bill and I sat in my brother’s hot tub in Billings for about half an hour.

Place Team                           Run     Bike    Boat    Total      No.
1 BOZEMAN TRIAD 1:05:41 1:44:01 2:16:27  5:06:10.1   241
2 DOWN HILL RACERS               1:09:04 1:37:15 2:21:17  5:07:37.5   242
3 WILSON/MOGSETH/SCHWEHR         1:09:18 2:00:37 2:15:53  5:25:49.8   247
4 THE EVIL FACES                 1:11:07 2:18:17 2:22:55  5:52:20.6   244
5 THE MAXIMS                     1:19:38 2:14:50 2:31:29  6:05:59.0   246
6 MOVING AT THE SPEED OF LIGHT-B 1:03:58 2:26:28 2:37:05  6:07:32.3   243
7 YOUNGENS                       1:14:53 2:43:20 3:12:43  7:10:57.8   249
8 XXY CHROMOSOME                   58:21                 DNF*******   248

Bozeman Triad was Chas Day, Tim Swanson, and a lady from Gardner.  Note mixed is NOT a masters group and our guys still took first.