Butte 100 Race Report Part 1 of 2

4 Aug

I just got back last night and haven’t been able to sit down long enough to write up anything.  You see, my ass just stopped oozing pus late this afternoon and only now can I sit without worry of any seepage.

We, and by we I mean Tasha, the girls and myself,  arrived in Butte Friday evening and registered at the Outdoorsman.  That’s correct, I registered for a 100 mile mountain bike race the night before.  Where can you do that anymore?  Montana, duh.

We drove out to Basin Creek campground and set up shop, about 7 miles outside of town.  We were lucky enough to park next to Pete Behrens, last years 2nd place finisher, who I would end up riding a good portion of the race with.  I also finally met Bill Martin, super crazy enduro junkie, that just finished the 24 hour world championships in Canmore the weekend before and here he was about to do a 100 miler 6 days later.  They grow them a little crazy in Montana.


When it comes to pomp and circumstance the Butte 100 is the polar opposite of the Leadville 100.  No day before racers meeting, no medical check-in, no before dinner, no red carpet at the finish line, no start canon, no fully stocked aide stations, no personalized hoodie with your name and time, no long drawn out day after race awards ceremony and no Ken Chlouber.

What does the Butte 100 offer?  None of the above but hands down the greatest mountain biking trails of any hundred miler out there.  I have never ridden such fantastic trails whether it was a 100 miler or not at a race venue in the last 18 years.  It’s that good.  I must have ridden 100 switchbacks both up and down the course.  Roots, rocks, swoopy downhills, technical treacherous downhills and lots of really buff single track.  If you want a mountain bike race on a mountain bike trail the Butte 100 can’t be beat.

The race started out kind of like Leadville with some gravel road that turned to climbing and then to a barely legible single track climb and eventually down to some pavement for a few miles.  We then hit some more trail and lots of climbing that eventually spit us out on some more pavement for about 5 miles.

At about mile 20 any similarity to Leadville ended abruptly.  For the next 80 miles it was non-stop climbing and descending some of the roughest and buffest trail I’ve ever ridden.  I started to get nervous every time there was a nice descent because I knew I would soon pay for it with an immediate uphill.  The climbs were frequent and relentless.  Switchback after switchback and mostly single track.

Pete and I rode together for the first 20 miles or so and then I wouldn’t see him again until mile 75 because he took off and I didn’t.  I don’t know what happened but I was bonking.  After just a couple hours I was hurting pretty bad and feeling like there was no way I could ride another 80 miles.  I wrestled with thoughts of dropping out but would always re-focus after realizing how far my family and I had come for this race and I couldn’t quit.

I took my time at the 40 mile aid station to eat and drink and think.  That was the turning point for me and while I suffered at times over the remainder of the race I never felt as bad as I did between miles 20 and 40.

The finest moment of the day came at mile 70.  As I passed mile 60 one of the volunteers mentioned there were a bunch of crazy people screaming and cheering all the racers on at mile 70.  As I approached mile 70 I could hear the screams and cheers and it got me pumped up.  Turns out the only people there were Tasha and my girls but it was like an entire schools pep squad.


I got toweled off by Tasha and cheered on by the girls and all of a sudden I felt like super man.  Within a few minutes after leaving the family I caught and passed 6th 7th and 8th place riders to settle into what I thought was 5th place overall.  I flew by them on the climbs so fast that I felt like I needed to apologize.  I was on fire and could not be contained.  I just can’t understand how a person can go from almost completely bonked after a couple hours of racing to feeling invincible some 5 hours later, must be the CarboRocket.

That was all about to change as I ran across some Kryptonite at mile 97.  More about that tomorrow.

25 Responses to “Butte 100 Race Report Part 1 of 2”

  1. Bill Martin August 5, 2009 at 7:26 am #

    Wow, nice comments … thanks. I know what is in installment 2 of this story 🙂 I cant wait for next year because I feel this trail got my number this time around.

  2. Jon Lambrert August 5, 2009 at 8:01 am #

    Great write-up. You can’t leave me hangin until tomorrow…

  3. KanyonKris August 5, 2009 at 9:18 am #

    I enjoyed reading your report. Sounds like an outstanding race. Nice cliffhanger for part 2.

  4. evilbanks August 5, 2009 at 10:08 am #

    Great write up……..looking forward to the ending.

  5. aaron August 5, 2009 at 10:24 am #

    Now that sound like a race I could get excited about. Except for the 100 mile part.

    • KanyonKris August 5, 2009 at 2:27 pm #

      Pfft. Yeah, you’re so unfit.

    • brkeyes7 August 7, 2009 at 3:15 pm #

      Whatever Aaron.

  6. Rich Shattuck August 5, 2009 at 10:40 am #

    Great blog post! We all thank you for the exposure you have brought to this great race. Thanks for coming to Montana to suffer with the rest of us!

    • brkeyes7 August 7, 2009 at 3:17 pm #

      Rich, good meeting you. Looking forward to some more Montana visits.

  7. Brandon S. August 5, 2009 at 11:01 am #

    I like your camping setup. What do you call that anyway?

    • brkeyes7 August 7, 2009 at 3:17 pm #

      Eezi-awn. Its from South Africa and is worth more than the car.

  8. Gina E. August 5, 2009 at 1:10 pm #

    It was a pleasure having you race in the Butte 100. Thanks for all the great comments. Each year we at Triplering learn a lot and appreciate each and every racer. I enjoyed meeting your family. Catching up with life and my real job. Left message w my bud Jay at Blackbottoms told him how small a world it is!


    • brkeyes7 August 7, 2009 at 3:18 pm #

      Gina, good meeting you too. I had a blast and will be back for sure with more Utahns.

  9. Doug August 5, 2009 at 3:23 pm #

    The tent is cool. Do you freeze when it gets cold? I can see major benefits if it rains.

    • brkeyes7 August 7, 2009 at 3:18 pm #

      No, its cozy.

  10. Bob Waggoner August 5, 2009 at 3:33 pm #

    Thanks Brad, people like you makes us only want to get better at putting this race on. We don’t want to put you through the getting lost parts ever again.

    Bob Waggoner

    • brkeyes7 August 7, 2009 at 3:19 pm #

      Great race up there in Montana. Destined to be a must do classic.

  11. tp August 5, 2009 at 5:14 pm #

    Suspense, drama, ooze! Can’t wait to hear how it ends. Oh wait, Bob Waggoner just spilled the beans.

  12. oilcanracer August 5, 2009 at 9:11 pm #

    great job on finishing brad. family is the best secret racing tip ever…..can’t wait to hear what sore ending(pun intended) happened on mile 97…

  13. Kendra August 6, 2009 at 3:41 pm #

    Tasha is so great. She seems to always think of the little extras. I love that she and the girls were there cheering you on. I can’t wait to read the rest of the details of the race.

  14. Rich August 6, 2009 at 6:37 pm #

    How were the Kipper Snacks?

    • brkeyes7 August 7, 2009 at 3:20 pm #

      Delish and oh so satisfying.

  15. Rick S. August 7, 2009 at 8:38 am #

    Come on…..you can’t do that. You can’t leave us hanging like that. I’ll be sitting here at my computer waiting for you to finish your post.

  16. fremont mike j August 7, 2009 at 2:52 pm #

    What is that camping setup? Is it a Wilder Nest?


    My buddy has one and did a tour of Idaho and Montana and loves it.



  1. Cycle the Earth - October 1, 2011

    […] 2009 Butte 100 by Brad Keyes […]

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