Cow Country Classic 2008 PDF Print E-mail
Road
Written by GAS team   
Wednesday, 04 June 2008 20:41

The 2008 Cow Country Classic was one of the most eventful in recent memory, and perhaps the only one ever to come down to a group sprint. Eighty-seven miles with 4,600 feet of climbing usually does a good job of breaking up the field.

Sprint Finish Cat. 1/2/3 by Natasha Westphal
Sprint Finish Cat. 1/2/3 by Natasha Westphal

 

The first 25 miles were actually the mellowest of any race, with the entire peloton stopping for two(!) pee breaks. Alan suffered a second flat tire in as many weekends but Tomas stayed behind and they quickly worked their way back to the peloton. Jason and Sebastian got in an early breakaway with Russ Schnider from Flathead Cycling that took a while to stick due to the repeated attempts from John Weyhrich from 5 Valley Velo to bridge. Those attempts were all met by a peloton response until he finally got away and rode solo between the break and the peloton for 10 or 15 miles. At mile 35 or so, two miles before the Wolf Creek hill, Alex managed to get away also. He planned on getting a head start on the biggest hill of the race, to hopefully regroup with the strong climbers in the peloton at the top, but instead managed to bridge up to teammates Jason and Sebastian, who by now had shed their initial breakaway partner. About 3 miles after the main climb, Jason and Sebastian eased up the pace to let Alex catch on and then the three worked hard together and stayed away for 30 miles before the chase finally got organized enough to catch on. Jason and Sebastian thus spent over 55 miles in a break for a huge effort that could have gone all the way with another minute lead or so.


Going back to the Wolf Creek hill, while the 3 man GAS breakaway was materializing ahead, a hard selection was occurring in the peloton. Only 6 riders or so made the selection but the group soon grew to about a dozen riders, with Montana Velo and Sportsmans riders waiting for their teammates and GAS riders reluctant to push the pace with three of their teammates in a break ahead. The following 20 miles were riddled with attacks and counter attacks for this group, which were matched by Brad and Alan until finally a chase in earnest got organized to reel in the break.

The junction occurred with only 5 miles to go and one selection climb left. Alan made a hard acceleration that was only matched by Josh Tack from NRO and another rider (Keifer Hahn from Montana Velo?). On the final climb Scott Hertzig jumped and only Brad could follow as they caught up to Alans group. Junior rider Marshal Opel and Frank Gonzales from Montana Velo(?) were 100 m behind, and Alex, Jean-Yves Meyer from Rimrock United, and Andy Fisher from NRO formed a third group another 100 m behind them. The pace eased off the front on the final descent and the three groups merged again with about 1 mile to go. After all this, it was going to come down to a sprint!

Alex sprintig for 1st. place in Cat.3 - by Natasha Westphal
Alex sprintig for 1st. place in Cat.3 - by Natasha Westphal

 

With 1 km to go a few hard pushes occurred but the decisive move occurred with just over 200 meters to go. Josh Tack moved up on the right side, and a cryptic attempt of a discussion between Alex and Brad had decided that Brad would lead Alex out so Brad responded to Joshs move on the left side, with Alex on his wheel. Eventually Alex moved around but could not catch Josh, who managed to take his 2 to 3 bike length lead to the finish. Alex took second, Marshal Opal third, Frank Gonzalez fourth, and Brad fifth.