I avoid Lake Fair like the plague, every year when it come to town I turn into a hermit, locking myself away in the forest with my bicycle and dog and weather the storm that blows through down town for the week. There is nothing that can convince me that it's worth braving the crowds and the mess and the smell..... EXCEPT the annual old bike ride to the fire works. Every year our very own Fresh Trout unpacks the old schwinns, loads up on the glow sticks, and we parade our way down to the lake, vintage schwinns, cruisers, swing bikes.. you name it. As long as it's old it's welcome.
Safety first. Lights go on and STAY on! All. Night. Long.
My bars for the evening.
After a solid result at Mt. Hood I headed down to Mammoth, California for National Champs. The track and terrain were completely different from anything I had ridden in the past. There was not dirt, it was all rock ranging in size from pea gravel to larger boulders. The small loose rock caused constant changes on course making it tough to trust. The larger rock gardens stayed the same but were just as hard to figure out.
Once I got used to the track conditions I felt I could start to pick up some speed figure out where to push. The first two days of practice went great. Friday we had a short practice before seeding. I had a pretty bad crash in the upper rock garden that left me scrambling to get the bike fixed before seeding. That crash left me a little nervous but it was just seeding and I didn't have to push to qualify. My seeding run went well until I had another big crash further down the course that put me into 52nd place.
I came into race day feeling very soar and not super confident. I took two slow laps to build my confidence back up during practice that morning and started feeling at pace again. Having such a bad seeding the day before I was one of the first to drop. My run was much better than the day before and got myself moved up 19 places into 33rd. I still felt a little conservative in my race run but made it out of the weekend in one piece and I am pumped for the next GRT.
From Angel Fire I had a few weeks at home and then headed down to Mt. Hood for the fifth round of the NW Cup at Ski Bowl. This is always a race I look forward to with the track being so fast all the way down. The weather was very wet and cool for July. It rained all of Friday night and then much of Saturday and Sunday too. The dirt up there handled the moisture well making the only muddy part through the lower woods.
I seeded 5th on Sunday morning and was gunning for 5th or better in finals to make my first pro podium! My finals run was going well until a little mistake in the woods cost me some valuable time. I ended the race with a 10th place finish, not quite what I was looking for but knew I had the speed to make it happen.
Now it was time to pack up for 8 weeks on the road, headed to Nationals, Mammoth, California and then over East for the remainder of the Pro GRT’s. Thanks to Joy Ride Bikes and Fly Racing for keeping my bike and gear in tip-top shape!
Stay tuned for a report from Nationals!
For the third stop of the Pro GRT series we headed down to Angel Fire, New Mexico. Its located about an hour North of Taos. The base of the resort is at 8,000 feet with the top of the course being at 10,600. Needless to say it was quite the change coming from sea level. We flew in on Wednesday and got everything set up and the course walked on Thursday. There were a few changes to the course since I had last raced it and they all looked like they were for the better.
I made the most of practice on both Friday and Saturday with the lift being shut down for most of our allotted practice times due to lightening. I was struggling to get up to the pace that I knew I should have been at. Being a lighter weight rider on the semi flat/high speed track it was not as easy for me to carry speed through sections. With only one lap on Saturday I wasn't able to get my lines sorted the way I wanted so decided to try I few new one during qualifying. Unfortunately most of the new lines didn't work out, putting me in the back of the pack and qualifying 39th.
Sunday forecasted even worse weather than what Saturdays had been with some heavy storms rolling in around 1:00 PM, right when our practice and race was supposed to start. During the riders meeting on Saturday the event organizers decided to give everyone open practice earlier on Sunday to ensure that everyone was able to practice that day.
During Sundays practice I was able to work on a few areas where I was struggling but still wasn't feeling like I had the speed. Just as the forecast had predicted, a big storm rolled right when the pro practiced started. There was a good hour of heavy rain and hail and then another hour of lighter rain as the cloud passed above. We sat around for a couple hours until the officials made the call to get everyone up the hill at once during a break in the storm. Race run would be the first time anyone would ride the track in the mud.
I finished the race in 32nd, seven places better than qualies and a second faster with the track running a bit slower than the day before. Huge thanks to Joy Ride Bikes for helping me get down here! Excited to get back for a round of the NW Cup down at Mt Hood and then it is off to National Champs in Mammoth California.
Musings and ramblings from the Joy Ride Staff and local riders
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