Herron Park Cyclocross PDF Print E-mail
Written by John Curry   
Monday, 27 October 2008 12:02
Alex, Lisa, and I were well-rested and pancake-fueled Sunday morning after our stay with Aaron Johnson and his wife Jess in Big Fork.  Thanks again guys!  Day two of the Flathead cyclocross weekend took place at Herron Park just outside of Kalispell.  The course was centered on a scenic meadow surrounded by rolling hills complete with Tamaracks in golden fall colors.  It was a clear and frosty morning and most racers seemed a bit sluggish to gear up and get moving.  While Lisa and Alex checked out the course, I consumed some important pre-race caffeine.  The course was the longest loop so far this season.  It criss-crossed the meadow and featured a short paved climb, short run-up, some fast grassy corners, double barrier section, a bit of forest singletrack, lots of bumpy sections, and a short loose climb that was challenging to ride.  Overall it was a fast course that would likely reward power over technical abilities.

First up were the Men’s B and women’s races.  Lisa again raced in the B men’s field and held her own, battling in 4th and 5th place much of the race.  On the final lap disaster struck as she catastrophically broke her rear derailleur and therefore finished her race with a nice mile-long run to the finish line.  Fellow Bozeman racer Julie Zickovich of Team Muleterro took her second consecutive victory in convincing fashion in the Women's cat 4 race.

During my warm-up I was feeling a bit lethargic, so I was nervous as Alex and I lined up for the start of the Men’s A race.  Halfway up the paved start stretch I put in a surge to lead into the first corner.  I led for the first couple minutes and was feeling much better than in warm-up as the field began to string out behind.  I eased up a bit and saw all of the favorites were in tow.  Frank took the lead next and upped the pace a bit until he missed some flags and momentarily went off course.  Matt Butterfield took advantage, charging to the front and setting a furious tempo.  I clawed onto his wheel and by the end of the first lap it was just me, Matt and Frank at the front.  Matt continued to charge the course with authority.  It was clear that the local boy was familiar with course as he had every line dialed and railed every corner.  I felt bad not pulling through but I was basically at my limit just following. Matt pulled us around for 2 full laps.  Towards the end of lap 3 (of 8) I heard Matt’s rear tire burp air on a fast corner.  He seemed to notice it too and slowed a bit, looking down every once and a while.  As we came through the finish area I sensed more hesitation and attacked hard through the finish straight and up the paved climb.  Matt fell back but Frank was chasing hard a couple bike lengths back so I kept it pegged through the first half of the lap. Near the end of the lap I had opened up a bit of a gap so I tried to settle into a sustainable pace.
The next half hour was tough.  The course didn’t give many opportunities to recover, and the bumps were starting to take a toll on my whole body.  My gap was decent, but I knew that Frank was chasing hard, and Frank never gives up.  Frank brought the gap down slightly the last 2 laps, but I was able to hold on for the win.  Right behind Frank was a fierce battle for 3rd between Bob Presta and Geoff Proctor.  Bob crossed the line a second or two ahead of the ‘cross legend.  Next was Alex, who had a rough lap early in the race and lost contact with the Proctor group.  He was joined by Bill Martin and Eric Greenburg for a while, but he recoverd, dropped the hammer, and powered solo into 5th place.  Matt continued to ride well until his chain snapped, forcing him into a long run (Lisa-style) to the finish.  Right after the finish I collapsed into the grass and one by one racers finished and collapsed next to me, forming a pile of exhausted but happy-to-be-done racers.  Thanks to Russ, Steve, and the rest of the Flathead Cycling crew for putting on a great event.