This is the 10th anniversary of Unravel the Scratchgravels. Race day saw bright sunshine, warm temperatures, and dry conditions after a VERY long winter. This is my second year of Unravel the Scratchgravels. It is also the first year in which I'm taking racing seriously. In previous years, I would simply sign up for events and go ride them for fun. I didn't have a plan to compete or improve. I simply went out and did my best, and while I had a great time, I was never in any danger of doing well. I decided that I no longer wanted to just complete. I wanted to compete. In February, I hired Joe Hamilton, Helena United Cycling Vice President, and USAC certified coach, and we got to work. I lost 40lbs over the next four months and between time on the bike, and time in the gym, I improved my strength, endurance, and speed. I still have a long way to go, but at this year's Unravel the Scratchgravels, the work I've put in, paid off. Last year, I finished off the back in 9th place. This year, I stepped onto my first podium holding a third place medal! Another reason I wanted to really compete was the great examples set by other riders here in Helena. Racers like Ira Miller, another Helena United Cycling member. In a much tougher and more numerous field of competitors, his dedication to training landed him a second place finish in Men's Category 2 at Unravel the Scratchgravels. This, just one week after an impressive time at the Whiskey 50 race in Arizona. I also rode this year proudly wearing my new Helena United Cycling kit. Helena United Cycling has been a welcoming organization to amateur riders like myself, as well as seasoned race veterans. Helena United Cycling is also the reason we continue to have Unravel the Scratchgravels and other cycling events in the Helena area. I want to say thank you to them for welcoming me, for putting on these events, and for advocating for the great sport of cycling we all enjoy.
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