2023 was a nice, mostly smoke-free year for the Morganzo. Thirty-three riders lined up for cool morning start to the 12th annual Morganzo. I think there may even have been a couple more that headed out earlier. There were some racers present and a small pack broke away pretty quickly with the usual groups interspersing out along the route with some folks going fast and some following up at a party-pace.
The Morganzo is a self-supported ride with participants responsible for their own well being, food, water, and tools. This means there are no aid stations on course. But in 2023 there was a rider who had injured themselves earlier in the season and wasn’t riding who took it upon themselves to set up a mid-ride “Fun Station” at the corner of Dry Creek and Bremer Creek roads. what a treat that was to round the corner and find!
Fortunately the legendary Snake Bear that lives on Bremer Creek Road has a fun spirit and didn’t attack any of the riders making use of the tasty treats being handed out at the Fun Station.
Riders came in hot to the end and spread out with their arrival for a goodly amount of time. Everyone the race director saw come through had a smile on their face – albeit a dirty one. Gravel isn’t for people who like clean white gloves and prefer their smiles earned.
To the riders of the 2023 Morganzo 55: Double Nickels on the Grime I say, “thank you”.
Sam H., Directeur Sportif and Chief Instigator of the Morganzo 55.
With right around 25 riders this year’s Morganzo was about as well-attended as the event has ever been. And the riders this year were treated to some of the most sublime gravel conditions the route ever sees. SW Montana experienced a very wet Spring with the foothills remaining green a good month or two longer than usual. Perhaps it was the extra moisture or perhaps the County’s grading schedule lined up just right with the ride. Whatever it was the roads were all time.
The attendance was, as always, also all-time. Friendly faces both familiar and new at the beginning put a big smile on the face of Sam H. the directeur sportif and chief Morganzo instigator. We briefly chatted about being polite road users, how to be safe and not get lost out in the dirt, took a group photo, and rolled rubber a few minutes after 8am.
2022 Morganzo riders starting up the gravel
Temperatures were quite mild, traffic was low, and riders fell into the typical groups of fast-paced, relaxed pace, and party pace. A highlight for Sam was coming out of Bremer Creek road (unfortunately with no sight of the legendary Snake Bear) and finding a vehicle with what appeared to be spectators piled up outside!
The Morgan Family
One of the Morgan families from whom the race takes part of it’s name had found out about the ride through a friend and they loaded up the truck to come wave hello. Sam took a few minutes to thank them for their efforts in keeping the landscape so beautiful and for letting us throw a little dust around on a Saturday morning every year.
Still tons of epic gravel out in the shadow of the Bridgers
Gallatin County continues to grow and 2022 was the first year a not insignificant portion of the Morganzo route has been paved. Riders who enjoy these roads year round noticed work being done on Reese Creek Road and soon thereafter it had a layer of pavement applied to it. It’s a very rough pavement and to be perfectly honest it’s actually not a bad way to come into the final five or so mile stretch at race end rather than the loose, washboard hell that was there previously!
Thanks to everyone who enjoys the Morganzo 55 Double Nickels on the Grime. Here’s to a wonderful 2022 Winter and all the enjoyment it provides. See you in 2023 – – hopefully at the corner of Dry Creek and Thiesen roads sometime in late August.
The 2021 Morganzo was a great success. The temperature was perfect, the smoke was at a minimum, and gravel conditions were all time! Sixteen riders toed the line for the 8am departure on Sunday, July 26th, 2021. A small group of around four riders decided to beat the heat and showed up at 7am and another group of around four or five arrived at the start point a bit late bringing the total ridership to around 24 or 25. This is probably the largest showing the Morganzo has seen.
Although the Morganzo isn’t a race (there’s no registration, no support, and no prizes) there was a group of three riders who headed out with purpose and according to their times recorded to Strava the course record was broken.
As usual the group broke into distinct groups with fast riders fighting their way together to the finish and smaller groups forming up along the route with intent to ride whatever pace suited them whether it be three and a half hours or five and a half hours.