Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Crested Butte Wildflower Rush
Its almost time! State champs is this weekend and I'm extremely excited to get out there and ride to the highest of my ability and get a good result which will hopefully be State Champ! I've had my eye on this title after a rough outing last year where rain, lightning and slick rocks ended my chances for the title. I feel stronger and faster than I did last year and I'm on a new bike, so I'm looking to give everyone a good run this year. Keep checking back for daily updates and my thoughts during this weekend!
Photo Caption: Yeehaw!!!
Saturday Evening Update:
First off, let me extend a big ol Happy Fathers day to the big man! Dad ,without your constant love and support non of this would be possible, THANKS YOU!!!!
Its amazing how fast you can go from being on the top of the world, everything seems to be going your way, and then it all comes crashing down on top of you! Well, today I experienced this exact feeling, and it made me sick to my stomach! Before I start explaining myself, let me give you all the full weekend update.
Arrived Thursday evening and secured an awesome pit spot right next to RPM, Roy gets mad props for helping with the setup, good work Roy!!!
Friday: Early morning sunshine brought about a beautiful day! Things started crackin when we met our good friend Bergin Parks, our Mechanic for the weekend. Registration went smoothly, then all of us loaded the lift to do a full DH run inspection. The lift lines were out of control, took 30 minutes to get through the line ride to the lift. The course is pretty nice for a National Forest approved trail, a little lame in spots, slow and hard to maintain good momentum! There are 3 sections that pretty much divide up the track, all with different terrain, flow and speed. Bergin was an awesome help as he dialed in all of the kids bikes and ours too. Feels good to have a mechanic, definitely allows us to focus on ourselves more for a change. 4X track is new and was really fun, short but fun. A bit of everything mixed in, lots of wide passing opportunities, grass turns, good rhythm section to the finish. Got in as much practice as we could muster until we both started to get light headed. Rest of the day was full of working on bikes, hanging out with friends and making delicious food before an early bed!
Saturday: Woke up to an overcast sky and cool temps. Made a proper breakfast full of eggs, sausage, beans and toast! Early DH practice ensued and about a minute in I got to know the dirt on the inside of a berm real well, took a bit of a soil sample, wacked my hands and tore my jersey(which was brand new). It was a good rest of the run as I was looking at lines. 2nd run took a top to bottom, I'd say about 80%, not too much peddling and got down to the bottom with a 3:55. I predict the winning time will be a 3:39 depending on the trail conditions. Qualifying is going to be interesting, I'm going to go hard and try to simulate a race run, peddle hard and put up a good time. Top 5 is the qualifying goal, top 10 is reasonable too, but only if I don't have a good run. Finished off the day with two more fun Dh runs, fallowed and discovered more lines and started to find my speed in various sections of trail. Bergdog is doing an awesome job, he is keeping my bike in good shape, nice and clean. Next up was 4X.
4X dialed in the lines, had fun interacting with the crowd and friends. SMBA/EMSC Athletes Grant and Ross Ellwood were here cheering me on and giving me good impute on my runs. The rain,drizzle started to come down as qualifying got underway. I opted to watch riders take their runs hoping the course would get tacky, however that was not the case. It rained hard for long enough to make the course slowing and slick. I qualified 8th with a conservative run. The rain picked back up and Michael and I went back to the pits and switched to mud spikes for the finals.
Race: Round of 32. Gated my way into first and cruised the rest of the way down advancing, Michael would do the same. Round 16: Me and Tommy T gated everyone, T made a very aggressive move forcing me inside, the rest is a bit of a mystery, but the next thing I knew I was on my back and my bike off the course. Definitely a huge disappointment as I was feeling and looking good out there. The day wasn't so sour as Michael made it to the final and ended up on the podium in 4th. The mountain cross was really fun and the mud made for some awesome racing. Props to the kids as they killed it today too: Roy 3rd, Bobbo 4th, Alec 7th, Tyler and Tanner also did well, but I forgot their places. It was Tanner's birthday today too! A lot of things went wrong for a lot of racers today, I'm happy Michael capitalized and kept up the moral leading into tomorrows DH race. Note: After I got back on my bike, I won the unofficial flat turn contest with a full out moto style drift in the mud, so at least I got that going for me. I"m stoked and pumped to get after it tomorrow on the downhill course especially after today's result! Might need to find some extra strength for tomorrow as today was very tiring! I'm determined though, so lets hope things work out. I need to sleep!!! Buenos Noches :) Pictures and video to come!
Weekend thoughts: Thoughts on
DH course: An improvement and a step in the right direction. I think they did a good job of creating a fun race worthy National Forest approved public trail. I know many, especially the locals would agree upon this, it is a fantasy of mine and I hope it comes true, that someday we are going to have a race in Crested Butte, the cradle of mountain biking, that will use all of the terrain and potential this mountain has to offer. Favorite part of the course would definitely have to be the ski jump above the finish arena, the spectators were so loud!
4x course: This course was well thought out start to finish! There were a ton of things that I liked about it, it definitely made up for the course length: variation of terrain, flat and bermed turns, wide open, line choices, passing lanes, grass(I would like to see more of this), rhythm. Suited all riding styles but the mud added a degree of difficulty making things fun and interesting. To do well being fast wasn't going to be enough, riding smart and assertive was the name of the game. Short but very sweet!
Qualifying Run: I felt great after my qualifying run! Ran cut spikes on the front and swamp things on the rear so I wasn't too weary of the greasy spots on the track, but I still kept it pretty conservative. I wanted to simulate a race run in a way so I peddled a good amount just to gauge how hard I should go in the finals in order to have enough fuel in the tank all the way to the end. I went about 85% and finished with plenty of strength, or maybe I was just so stoked on the biggest bar hump I've ever done in my life on the ski jump that I didn't notice the pain. I was just stoked to hear I came down number one!
Final Run Plan: Pretty much emulate my qualifier run minus the bar hump. I took what I learned from my qualifier, to peddle hard and keep good momentum all the way throughout a faster tackier track then we had for qualifiers. One thing that I did not plan for was an epically gnarly headwind going into the bottom jumps! I was psyched to be the last man down the mountain with a goal of running a 3:39.
Final Run thoughts: I would like to congratulate Chris Boice first on his run, because he had a great final run plan and pinned it to perfection. I had a good run and as I came through the finish line I thought that it might have been a winning time but I would have to get lucky as it wasn't great. I went to hard up top and should have chilled out a little more, I didn't take any time on the course to open up my lungs, I was straight sprinting every time peddling was necessary. I botched a few key turns where exit speed was important and had to stay on the gas hard to make up for it. I toned it down through the bottom single track aspen tree section, but when it came time to sprint and squash the table tops I felt sluggish and could not pump the landings very well, so I only maintained speed instead of accelerating down the transition. If you watched Greg Minnaar's run in Fort William you could see how important pressing and sprinting those jumps were and how much time he made up on Sam Hill in 30 seconds. I was immediately disappointed because I failed to achieve my goal but Chris was the faster rider and deserves top spot and I'm definitely more than happy to be standing beside him in 2nd as this years DH race was extremely competitive with a lot fast riders all gunning for the top spot. Also, I thought 1st place would be a great fathers day gift to my dad!
I would like to thank: My parents and family, my brother/teammate michael, my mechanic Bergin Parks, Team Geronimo and all of the junior riders/ parents for their enthusiasm and support, Ace Lane @ Bonsai Communities, Willy Warren @ Kona Bicycles, Gene Hamilton @ Betterride.net, Mark @ Rockgardn, Basalt Bike and Ski, Smith Optics, Ergon Grips, Sram, and everyone else who has supported me throughout!
Next time we'll be on the top of the box :)
Sunday: 1st Place Qualifying run: