A stubborn pedal forced Helena’s Scott Herzig off his bike for some early mechanical attention and opened a window of opportunity for Missoula’s Toby Meierbachtol at the Last Chance Cyclocross on Sunday afternoon, but Herzig’s stubborn resolve made things interesting as the local cyclist powered to a gutsy runner-up finish.
“I’m sure Toby would have held me off no matter what,” a humble Herzig said after finishing 36 seconds behind Meierbachtol in the Category 1/2 race. “He’s really good and he deserved the win. Sure, I had some problems with my bike, but that’s just part of the sport.”
The loop course near the Beattie Street Trailhead featured pavement, dirt, gravel and rocky sections that called upon the riders’ technical prowess. It also featured one section of barriers and a run-up on a steep hill, which required competitors to dismount and shoulder their bikes, before hopping back on for more pedaling.
Men’s and women’s Cat 1/2 and 3, and Master A cyclists competed for about an hour, men’s Cat 4 and Master B competitors raced for about 45 minutes, and women’s Cat 4 and junior cyclists competed for about 40 minutes.
“The course was fun, but it was really hard,” Meierbachtol said. “The crux for me was the long, straight, gradual up-hill climb before the run-up. I had to save myself on each lap to have enough left for that section.”
And that’s where Herzig seemed to make up a lot of ground.
After he applied some lubricant to a clip that had “seized up” in the pit area with the help of “awesome pit crew” Michelle Richardson, Herzig had fallen about 1 minute, 30 seconds off the lead. But with nearly an hour of racing left, he methodically chipped away at the leaders’ advantage.
Meierbachtol looked comfortable and in control after he broke away from eventual Cat 3 champion Landen Beckner (Helena) and Cat 1/2 third-place finisher Brad Morgan, but as the race approached the 45-minute mark, he often checked over his shoulder to make sure Herzig wasn’t gaining too much ground.
“This is a great way to start the season against some really strong competitors, it’s a good way to get those first-race jitters out of the way,” Meierbachtol said after his victory. “I just had to focus on keeping the bike upright, keeping it smooth.”
Herzig powered past Morgan with with about 15 minutes remaining and continued his assault on Meierbachtol’s lead, but couldn’t make up all of the lost time.
“I really got in a good groove and when I started to catch people, I got some ambition,” Herzig said. “I didn’t want to go too hard, but I had a lot of time to make up. All-in-all, it was a pretty good day.”
While Meierbachtol won the Cat 1/2 division, 15-year-old Beckner was the Cat 3 champ ahead of Shaun Radley. Helena’s Aubrey Curtis won Cat 4, Jeff Brooks won Master A, Blair Fisher won Master B and Henry Coppolillo claimed the junior crown.
On the women’s side, Missoula’s Ingrid Lovett, a Cat 3 rider, was the only competitor in the Cat 1/2/3 race, but looked strong throughout the ride. Angela Watsche won Cat 4 and Mariah Morgan claimed the junior title.
Most of the riders are expected to return to action next Sunday at the Copper Mountain Cyclocross in Butte. For a complete list of races this fall, visit
Last Chance Cyclocross
Beattie Street Trailhead
Men’s Cat 1/2
1. Toby Meierbachtol, 2. Scott Herzig, 3. Brad Morgan, 4. Geoff Proctor, 5. Jamul Hahn, 6. Alexandre Lussier, 7. Douglas Shryock, 8. Elliott Bassett
Men’s Cat 3
1. Landen Beckner, 2. Shaun Radley, 3. Mark Brooke, 4. Jason Mills (dnf)
Men’s Master A
1. Jeff Brooks
Women’s Cat 1/2/3.
1. Ingrid Lovitt (Cat 3)
Men’s Cat 4.
1. Aubrey Curtis, 2. Don Cole, 3. Scott Urban, 4. Jason Delmue, 5. Ed Warner, 6. Russell Griggs, 7. Michael Furlong, 8. Jesus Salazar
Mens Master B.
1. Blair Fischer, 2. Jim Nallick, 3. Will Snider, 4. Tom Owen, 5. Byron DeFord, 6. Hal Stanley, 7. Dave Dalthorp, 8. Mark Adler
Womens Cat 4.
1. Angela Watsche, 2. Wendy Brooke, 3. Jennifer Griggs, 4. Jacquie Spoon, 5. Melinda Barnes
Junior Men 1.
Henry Coppolillo, 2. Silas Rae, 3. Aidan Reel, 4. Benjamin Nallick
1. Mariah Morgan, 2. Emma Beaver, 3. Grace Lawlor