Not for the faint-hearted PDF Print E-mail
Written by GAS Team   
Monday, 03 May 2010 15:44

This past weekend was the inaugural American Prairie Classic Stage race in north-east Montana. Quite simply, the weather was atrocious. After riding back to town from the Saturday morning prologue, wet and cold, everyone admitted their apprehension for the upcoming road stages. In the 1-2s Dan Vasichek (NRO) was in the lead, a few seconds ahead of Matt Seeley (5VV), with Brian Williams (NRO) and John Curry following 25 and 30 seconds behind respectively.

The afternoon road race was 50 miles of mostly rolling and extremely exposed terrain. The field got guttered in the cross-wind, shedding a few riders early on. Jared must have had ants in his pants because he took off in the wind gusts and sustained a 30 mile solo breakaway effort. Behind, the NRO/5VV/Hammer riders got together to chase him down. John, Jason, and Alex formed their own echelon behind and waited. Just before catching Jared, Brian Williams (NRO) accelerated and shed most of us except Seeley, Vasichek, and Curry. Another short punchy climb later left Vasichek in trouble, and Curry capitalized, launching a 6 mile solo break of his own up 600 vertical feet of wind and rain. He gained a minute on his closest rivals and nabbed the leader’s jersey.

Hopes for better weather were squandered by more wind, clouds, rain, and snow. It was 33 degrees and snowing at the start, which transformed in to rain and sleet during the first hour and a half of racing. About 10 minutes into the race Josh Tack (NRO) launched an attack. Alex jumped on his wheel to cover the move which ended up being the decisive break that stuck the remaining 65 miles to the finish. With neither in contention for the GC, they had a good opportunity to capitalize. Josh initiated the sprint 200 meters from the finish but Alex eked out the win by a half wheel. Jared handily won the field sprint for third and John rolled in the same group to clinch the GC.

The American Prairie Classic lived up to it’s name with grasslands as far as the eye can see, wild horses testing their speed against us (no contest, they put us to shame), and wild wild weather to numb our brains and extremities.