Other bike stuff in the Big Sky includes road racing state champs this weekend. I have no idea what the course is like, or who is gonna be there, but I'm sure someone is gonna throw down like it's there job. Personally I'm focusing the energy towards Rapelje, where I will be making my first 24 hr solo attempt. The main goal is to not wind up asleep in a cow pasture mid-way through a lap at 3 in the morning. I'd like to think that I'd spend some energy over the next week coming up with some game plan, but as the GDR taught me last year, once you start pedaling your bike, the game plan gets thrown out, and you just need to deal with things as they come up.
Also managed to note some drama over at the Triple Ring Production forum, where people have been wheeling and dealing about the upcoming race. If you'll excuse me I will not hop up on my high horse and give you my two cents. The Butte 100 is not the best race I have done, but the folks over at Triple Ring have been able to make great improvements in the short history of the race. I've never met promoters who were better at absorbing racers opinions, and using that to make their event better. In 2007 the course was esentially an out and back on a gravel road, and I hated the course. Racers said they wanted more singletrack, so in 2008 they threw in about 40 miles worth of the Continental Divide Trail which was great. Word on the web is that this year will have something like 70 miles of singletrack, and were talking top notch high alpine singletrack here. I never experienced any issues about private land or other nonsense like that, the biggest problem I've had at that race is breaking a wheel.
The course was pretty well marked, with one exception, and some of us took a wrong turn. If you talk to the folks who spent the most time riding in the wrong direction, they will tell you that they were aware they hadn't seen any marking, but they chose to keep riding in that direction. So the turn could have been marked better, but at the same time the racers could have been smarter. There were plenty of aid stations stocked with food, beverages, and words of encouragement (although all the volunteers seemed to say there was no more climbing for the rest of the race). After tapping out with a thrashed wheel, I got hooked up with a ride back tot he start, and chowed on some pizza, which raised my spirits. In short, the Butte 100 is a solid event, and from the looks of things the 2009 version should be better than the 2008 version. The organizers don't make stupid mistakes, and really want to make the event world class (best two qualities and organizer can have in my opinion). If you have the date free, look into it, you might just like what you see.