Rain Pelts Racers in Fish Trails Omnium

By Beacon Staff

Although rain kept crowds indoors, it didn’t dampen the spirits of bicycle racers. This weekend about 60 diehards showed up to race in Whitefish for the Fish Trails Omnium despite soggy conditions.

Regardless of rain and slick roads, Saturday’s criterium still garnered fast sprinting, lead changes, and sharp cornering. “But you couldn’t lay into the corner 110 percent like when it’s dry,” said Russ Schneider, a Flathead Cycling racer. “Occasionally you’d feel your rear wheel slide a little bit.”

Standing water on Saturday’s state championship criterium course downtown added work for volunteers who swept deeper puddles off the route, while a few spectators huddled under umbrellas. Cold rains cancelled the kid’s parade. “It was tough to bring kids out when it was 40 degrees and raining, but 10-12 kids still showed up for the race,” added Schneider.

Sunday’s Star Meadows Road Race fared better with weather. “We even had a pretty strong junior rider turnout–about 10 or so,” said Schneider, who served as race director for the long distance event.

The weekend event was organized by local race teams and bike shops: Flathead Cycling, Great Northern Cycling Club, Great Northern Cycles, Glacier Cyclery, and members of Fish Trails—the group spearheading efforts to build Whitefish bicycle trails. “It was nice to bring together both bike shops and both cycling teams for one event,” said Schneider.

“We had lots of volunteers,” added Schneider, thanking Big Mountain Fire Department for their medical support and Kalispell Copy for donating orange vests and stop signs for the volunteer road marshalls.

During the event, bicycles were raffled off to help raise money for Fish Trails. Event organizers plan to donate any left over dollars after expenses to the trail projects, too.

Check race results on www.montanacycling.net or www.flatheadcycling.org.

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