It was a long Winter, the snow was deep and good, but all I could think about was going racing and riding my bike. I have been looking forward to racing since December and was eager to see where I would stack up for my first pro DH race.
Our track was extremely fun to ride, and had a good mix of everything. You can see the track preview here. The top 1/3 was a trail that we had ridden a ton before, but never raced. It is a tight loamy PNW classic trail. It had natural doubles, steeps, roots, and amazing corners. the bottom 2/3 we had raced many times before and is usually in the track for the first race. I really enjoy racing the bottom 2/3, it is mostly high speed and rewards you for the more effort and energy you put into pumping and jumping the track.
The week leading up to the race was 80 degrees and sunny in Seattle. We were getting pretty spoiled with weather and awesome riding conditions, but that wasn’t going to be the case for the race weekend. We got lucky and were able to have a dry pro practice to get comfortable with the track. I was struggling to come to terms with the top 1/3 of the track. It was extremely hard to push on. The bottom 2/3 were amazing, though. They were better than ever and with some new trail additions, even more fun to push on.
After a decent amount of rain and the Cat 1’s practicing on the track, it had gotten pretty rutted and torn up. It was extremely loose and easy to slide on. However, it made for extremely fun riding conditions. We had a short hour and a half to practice before seeding. After walking the track and picking some new lines I was eager to see if they helped on the top 1/3. The first two runs were spent attempting the new lines and a slower speed and dialing in the compression on the rear shock to grip more in the wet conditions. My third run was amazing, the V-10 was tracking so well with the new DH X2 and felt amazing. My new lines enabled me to push a little harder up top and be more comfortable. After four runs I went back up for seeding. My seeding run went well, I didn’t push hard and didn’t pedal anywhere. I ended up seeding mid pack in 23/40. I was quite happy with that and looking forward to opening it up more on Sunday.
It had continued to rain lightly throughout the night, but had actually made the track better. The slippery and loose soil on top was now gone and had turned into more traditional PNW mud. I was very eager and nervous for my race run, wanting to see what I could put together for hopefully a top 20. As I sat in the gate breathing deeply, clearing my mind and waiting to hear the beeps of the timing system, I couldn’t help but smile and think to myself “its great to be back racing”. After the third beep I cranked out of the gate, and hit the first corner and road gap faster than I had all weekend, thinking to myself “fuck yeah!”. Then, at the second corner, that came to a halt. as I turned into the second corner, the bike started to slide and off the trail I was going. I grabbed a fist full of brake to not go through the tape. I came to a complete stop with the front end of my bike under the tape. I pedaled hard to get back up to speed and then continued to push extremely hard through the run. Aside from that mistake, it was a good run. I had improved my seeding time by .2 seconds, but didn’t improve my placing, I ended up 28th/40. I was pretty bummed to not have had a clean run, but was happy with that time due to my mistake.
I’m looking forward to the Pro GRT at Port Angeles in 2 weekend, hopefully I can get some redemption then.