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Dave Hamer Race Report
 
Masters race (combined, no A’s and B’s)
25 starters
20 finishers
5 DNF’s (flats mostly)
I was 13th.
 
 
All night long I had nightmares that the rain would start and I had my road bike.  I kept thinking I should have brought my cross bike.  Thankfully, we had near perfect conditions for this Montana classic.  The rain started as we finished putting our bikes away.
 
In the results (to be posted at http://www.montanacycling.net/) I was the first person after the large time gap following the lead group.  I was with the lead group for 28 of the 40 miles but fell off on the last (beside the last 3k to the finish which was relatively easy due to a tail wind), longest, steepest climb of the day.
 
I learned a lesson last year . . . get over the first climb with the lead group or you will have a long day in a chase pack, or worse, all alone. I’ve done both in my short 1.1 year bike racing career.  I pushed hard.  After cresting the first hill at mile 9-10 and pushing the downhill for 1/4 mile, I met my goal and latched onto the lead group.  We now had two 10 mile loops and 10 more miles back to the finish to go.  Each ten mile loop had 5 down hill and 5 up, with the steeper pitch 1-2 miles at the end of each loop.  The ten miles back to the finish started with a continuation of the last loop’s climb, followed by 7 miles into a head wind and a 1.8 mile uphill finish with a nice tail wind.
 
On the first loop I made 9 of the 10 miles, but fell off the back on the steepest part of the climb  I made up ground by pushing the downhill portion of loop two and regrouped with the lead pack with one downhill mile to rest.  One the second half of loop two (uphill portion) I made it 3 more miles with the group, but I feel off as the pace increased and the lead group finished the loop and continued uphill heading toward the finish only 10 miles away.  I reached the top of the hill and could not see the lead pack.  I headed for home.  I knew I had to push as I was pretty much alone and was not sure how many riders were behind me.
 
The headwind was brutal.  I passed three riders on the way back to the finish one master and 2 4/5’s (I think).  I was all alone into a headwind.  I had no idea how close the four chasers were to catching me.  I looked back a few times and didn’t see them until 200 meters to go (uphill) and was able to hold off the fast charging racer. I talked to John Juras (Great Falls) and Mark Brooke (Great Divide) after the race.  They had me in their sights worked together in the group into the headwind but did not catch me.  That means I was truly working hard to hold them off, and I was. On the flat and into a headwind I can be tough.  It’s those darn up hills that seem to cause me trouble.  John Juras is a very strong rider and he complimented me after the race . . . that was nice.
 
So in the end I had a great, tough day.  I fell off and lost five minutes to the lead group and held off the chase group by less than a minute!
 
Next week, the Bobcat training ride with a 3 mile uphill finish . . . what am I doing!
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