Sorry for the delayed story - but we did finally get the Internet (and phones) working properly at home just a couple of days ago.... so now it's time to get back in the routine!
I absolutely HAD to send this story out about the Butte 100 race. First of all, I want to thank the race promoter Bob Waggoner for the invite to one of hardest 100 mile races I've ever done (including Leadville 100 - I'll elaborate on that later...but this is for sure the hardest 100 mile races, in terms of toughness I've ever done.). It was mostly single and double track with less than 10 miles of paved road. The trails were very narrow and tight singletrack with more climbing than descending during the race. It was over 16,000 feet accumulated elevation - and I think it might have been up to 22,000 feet of climbing according to another racer. It was really brutal. Bob worked with Levi's Leiphimer's older brother, Rob, who owns the Outdoorsman bike shop in Butte and got a room for me at their hotel. I got to work on my bike at their shop and meet the whole family. They were super nice and I even got to ride with some of the locals. It was a great time! Thank you Alex, Bob, Rob, and everyone else for all your hospitality!!!
Also, the day before the race, I got to go visit Missoula Bicycle Works, a new local Cannondale dealer shop in Missoula, MT. It was a great meet and greet at the shop on Thursday night and we had a nice dinner together. Getting to meet everyone and hanging out is one of my favorite parts of my job! It was a cool experience.
Unfortunately, I didn't get any photos from the race but I will remember this always. It was green and beautiful and a perfect day for a race. The course was one big loop and I felt really good through the whole thing. But my luck is bad when it comes to picking from a "Y" in the trail and on one unmarked spot, I screwed up. The entire race course was perfectly marked except this one little spot... And of course I went the wrong way picking the uphill direction and climbed and climbed and climbed. So, I went from the leader with over 30 minutes lead at about 65 miles into the race. Then I guess I went about 10 miles finding my way back. After I found the course I hammered to make up time. I asked the course Marshall who told me about 8 guys went by and I had about 30 miles left. I worked my way all the way up to 3rd place but it took a while to get my focus back. It's hard to regroup your head once you get turned around, but I managed and did a good job with a great finish for a brutal day in the saddle.
Just want to thank all the race volunteers and organizers and Rob and his family, and Alex and the Missoula Bicycle Works family for everything. I hope I can go back again soon!