Today's 3rd? annual Speedwagon Classic Gran Fondo in Polson was nothing sort of spectacular. Matt Seeley puts on a perfect mix of great views, roads so hard you can't see the view, and an amazing post race party at Wayne's new house (inventor of the gravity dropper seatpost, all around cool guy with awesome family).
The race started to sunny skies and a nice neutral pace. Jeff Crouch soon brought us out of the duldrums with the infamous CAMELBACK ATTACK! He was well up the road in an instant. However due to his camelback no one really paid much attention. Some more cat and mouse ensued over the next few K of asphalt, which was just about the only good pavement all day. The action kicked up another gear as we approached the first sector of gravel. Phil Ligget's voice started to speak louder in my ear. He was shouting at me, don't go into the gravel at the back! 10-4, Phil. I moved up as we hit the gravel and sure enough, the peloton was coming unzipped. A super strong Shaun Radley, Josh Tack, two Polson Wheelmen, Matt Seeley and I were clear before we knew it. When Matt saw this, he did his best Tom Boonen and put Shaun and the Polson Wheelmen in a very bad place. By the time I realized what was going on, Matt and Josh had a sizeable gap from the three of us. Ligget got on the horn again, "If you lose these guys, your F'd!" I had to put in a big dig, but caught on with Matt and Josh and we were off. I looked behind me, took stock of the chasers, and I knew i was in the winning break. Granted, we were maybe ten miles in, but I was so happy, I've never been in a winning break. It's something Phil 1.0 never figured out.
Alas, my happiness was short lived. My tire selection today was terrible. I watched Matt and Josh ride off as I bounced to a stop on a pinch flat. And then three more....and then i just walked...aah se la vie. I was finally picked up by the lead follow car and watched Matt ripped Josh's legs off on the nasty finishing climb. Suddenly my flats almost seemed like a gift, I'm sure it would have been a suffer filled day. After those two, I think Mike from Polson? came in 3rd, Alex Gallego 4th and props to Shaun for rollin in 5th. Also, way to go ladies for bangin' out 53 miles of garbage, those roads were nasty! We all met at Wayne and Kim's for an amazing spread, they were such gracious hosts! I felt guilty eating so much and riding half a race, oh well. Five hours tomorrow will keep the muffintops at bay.
PS I apologize for lack of multimedia, I wanted to bring my camera but the roads were so gnar I didn't think it was a great idea. Pics by Tom Robertson at www.hellgatecyclery.com