Speed Wagon Classic 2014 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Alexandre Lussier   
Monday, 14 April 2014 08:13

On April 5th, dirt worshiping GAS/Intrinsik riders headed to Polson for the 7th annual Speed Wagon Classic. In spite of the menacing weather, a pack of 40 or so riders took off riding predominantly cyclocross bikes, but also road bikes, a mountain bike (me), and a fixie (Erik Horn). The uncertain weather was reflected in the apparel choices which ranged from thin cycling gloves and knee warmers to ski helmet and goggles.

We were off to a surprisingly brisk pace along a broken pavement country road, which only intensified when we hit a double track “road” along an irrigation canal, which injected a dose of chaos in the peloton.  I nearly popped off the lead group on an “easy” paved section while spinning my 32 tooth chainring beyond max RPM but it wasn’t until the first climb that I watched John Curry and a selection of Montana hardmen ride away, and I had only (lack of) fitness to blame.

Not long after I crossed the finish line, Lisa Curry rolled up, accompanied by Nate Lovallo and Matt Thomsen, having endured two flat tires for an interesting adventure. Erik Horn and Julie Zichovich came up a bit later after missing a turn and enjoying an extra 10 miles of washboard and gravel. The lead riders were sitting around the finish line swapping stories in puffy jackets.

About 10 miles before the finish line, at the base of the infamous “Dentist climb”, John Curry had attacked and opened a gap. About half way up the Dentist climb, looking back to see Frank chasing hard, John worried that he might have attacked too soon. Yet, he maintained a gap back down the hill, and then along the rolling, smooth, and fast tailwind section nearing the finish.

As he was making his way up the final climb he dismounted twice, much to the bewilderment of Scott Hertzig, Frank Gonzalez, Elliot Bassett, and Matt Sealy, who had joined him in the lead break away. As it turns out, with 5 to 8 miles to go, John had felt the sound and sensation of broken metal junk in his break lever as he attempted to shift out of his biggest gear. He spent the next few miles exercising as much mentally as physically to figure out how he would make it up the final climb. When the road grade kicked up, he hopped off the bike and found a small pebble to jam in his rear derailleur, holding it somewhere in a mid-range gear. When the road steepened another notch, he hopped off again and stuck a bigger pebble in his derailleur, thus riding to victory in the bike race AND Chinese puzzle divisions.