What a day for a race! We had riders from Utah, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Idaho, and Colorado along with local Missoula riders and riders from around the state. The course: the Pro Missoula XC course, including the end switchbacks, and a hop and a skip over the buffalo jump, looping around Local Glory, past the start, and up to the finish just before the bridge. Lots of climbing. Lots of descending. Lots of technical pieces. Lots of laps. A favorite course for many, though that may not be what’s going through their minds as they traverse the twists and turns–but is definitely the after-the-fact word on the street.
Our first riders, who were also our youngest riders, went off at the gun at 9 AM. Boys and Girls 12 and under riding one lap. We had a total of 3 riders, Missoula’s own G. Daume finishing first for the ladies, followed by one of the youngest riders, L. Jonas from Utah. B Card, from Carson City, Nevada, the 2nd youngest rider of the day, finished first for the boys of that age group. The course is far from a breeze, so these young riders should feel very proud of themselves for completing a lap.
10:00 AM was our 13/14 and 15/16 boys, with the girls of the same age taking off an hour and 15 minutes later. Reid Farmer (14), from Bend, Oregon, beat MIssoula’s Danny Spoon (12) by just under a minute in the 13/14 category, placing first for Farmer, 2nd for Spoon, and 3rd for Porter Melvin (13), also of Missoula. In the 15/16 category we had Richard Morris (16) of Fort Collins, CO, averaging 9 MPH for 2 laps, earning him the top spot on the podium, followed by Joe Cochran (16) of Utah in 2nd, and Landon Brown (15) of Whitefish, MT.
For the Girls 13/14 group, we had a total of 10 riders, and strong ones at that. It was quite a field for this group, also riding two laps of the XC course. Sienna Peterson (14) of Salt Lake City, Utah, charged over the finish line first with a time of just over 46 minutes. Following her was Missoula’s Myla Spoon (13) a minute later, and Bailey Jonas, 30 seconds after that. The Peper sisters, from Alpine, Utah, finished exactly 3 minutes apart, with Aida Linton sandwiched in the middle. Strong riding from all the ladies in this field, as well as our 15/16 ladies, who were out there at the same time. Andie Aagard (15) from Highland, UT, flew on her bike on two laps of the course, unable to be caught. She placed first for the 15/16 ladies, followed three minutes later by another strong rider who zipped by spectators, Adeline Jonas (16) from American Fork, UT. Missoula’s Elsa Westenfelder also had a strong race, and placed 3rd, despite dropping her chain on the trail. She raced almost the same course the previous day, and went on to race Bearmouth Road Race the following day.
At 12:30 we had a large group, Juniors 17/18, and Men’s Open. 26 riders took off at the gun, and charged up the hill and under the bridge. The first lap was fast, as fans started to see how things were shaping up. At the end, Carter Hall from Bozeman, MT, and Joe Hansen, from Draper, UT, battled it out for first– after a brief mix up on where the finish line was, Hall sprinted to catch Joe, and beat him at the last hundredth of a second. 52:29:18 was the time for 3 laps for Hall, 52:59:21 was the final time for Hansen. It was an exciting finish for the category; James Roloff from Boise came in 3rd, Toby Meierbachtol, also on the Mic at the finish line for the other races, came in 4th, and sponsor Wally and Buck’s Travis Wallnum crossed 5th. Shout out to Jake Yahrmatter, finishing 3 laps in under an hour, who rolled off after the race to get married–that’s dedication to the sport.
17/18 boys also had a close finish– Caleb Gardner, from Woods Cross, UT, finished 3 laps in 56:26, with Missoula’s Sean Murphree finishing 4 seconds later for second. Third place went to Van Silver of Farmington, Utah, who crossed the line just a minute after the Gardner/Murphree chase.
Utah was the state represented in the Juniors 17/18 girls category; 7 racers started at 2:15, along with 3 women in the Open category; these 10 riders also were looking at 3 laps of the XC Pro Course when the gun went off. Layla Walker (Ogden, UT), Ellie Creech (Sandy, UT), and Zoe Harberston (Heber City, UT), took first, second, and third, respectively, for the Juniors 17/18 women, all averaging over 6 mph for the 3 laps. Jane Haight (Midway, UT) and Abby Lowry (Salt Lake City, UT), placed 4th and 5th, all 5 ladies finishing under an hour and a half. Women’s Open had Amber Steed (Kalispell) and Heidi Meierbachtol (Missoula) sprinting it out at the end, finishing within a half of a second of each other, Steed taking the top step, Meierbachtol 2nd, and Jennifer Higgins (Bozeman, MT) 3rd.
The Masters’ Category took off latest in the evening, with two women riders and seven men. Emily Plant, of Missoula, placed first in the Women’s category, with a lightning fast time of 27:30 minutes for one lap, a PR for this course veteran. Andrea Bailey watched her kiddos race earlier in the day, and raced in the Women’s Masters, finishing 2nd. Everyone in her family who was at the race participated in their respective races; such a great family outing. The Masters’ Men had Phil Higuera of Missoula finishing first, Dan Blurton of Bozeman 2nd, brothers Cameron Johnson and Kyle Johnson 3rd and 4th, and Bailey Family Dad Chad from Coeur d’Alene, 5th.
It was a great day for racing, the Pretzel from Grist Milling and Bakery was a podium highlight for a second day in a row, along with Grist’s amazing finish line sandwiches and Big Sky Brewery’s beverages. Thanks to all the riders who came out, spectators who cheered them on, and our amazing sponsors. Missoula Bone & Joint keeping riders safe, Missoula Avalanche being on the trails, Zilla State, the Dram Shop, Kent Bro’s Automotive, Grist Milling & Bakery, Burns St. Bistro, The Cycling House, City Center Motel, Karl Tyler Chevrolet, Big Sky Brewery, Wally & Buck, and the local bike shop sponsors, Hellgate Cyclery, & Missoula Bicycle Works. For more race photos, check out our album with a bunch of great photos from Zeb Ruby: