Sunday, August 10, 2008

സ്നോവ്മസ് ൩ Report

Here's my chaotic race report... I raced stages 1 and 2, but not 3. I had only 1 practice run for stage 1's course before I raced it, have a little damage to the DH bike, but had a great time in Aspen!

Practice day (friday)
here's the deal -
Stage Race style
DH course 1 on Sat
Super D on Sat
DH Course 2 on Sun

got to practice 2 runs on DH course 2
Got to do 1 Full run on DH course 1 (behind Aaron Gwin)

did a second run on Course 1 behind Gwin and other yeti riders (felt closer to their speed this time), and tried jumping a section that was kicking most everyone around ( it was super wet, off camber, and wooped out with moto bumps)
I jumped the whole section (maybe 40 feet at about 40 miles and hour??) - but landed on a stump and flat spotted my rim so bad it wouldn't hold a tire. The flat spot was maybe 5 inches deep?
Had to re-build my wheel in my hotel room Friday night.... Lots of Fun!

The end of the course has a section that's got to be close to 3/4 of a mile that's SUPER fast... seriously - I pedaled out of my top gear and didn't touch my brakes for any of the corners for the ENTIRE 3/4 mile. Top gear for my Aspen setup is 40/11. I don't know how fast that is... 42mph at full pedal? I wish a brought a 42 tooth ring!

Race day (sat)
I got excited because of the rain the Mud - I grew up racing out east in the mud and always get great results in the mud!
But then, apparently, I forgot how to race. We'll get to that in a minute...

It was nasty mud (that slick snot like mud), so I felt like I had a chance to podium. I practiced with the pro's the morning of, and was ripping.
and oh yea - Aaron Gwin is the most impressive rider I've ever seen in my life. He's only been racing for like 7 months and he rides on rails. Seriously - he's that smooth. he'll be up there with peat, minnar, atherton and hill next year.
I did a couple of runs with him and he never looked like he was looking for traction. Even in the deepest of the moto-whoops and the crazy nasty mud it looked like he was riding on a sidewalk.

Downhill -
The top of the course was wide open flat turns in the mud. - I ripped this section
The middle of the course was off camber turns in deep mud - I ripped this section (i don't know how, but I railed the deep mud off camber stuff)
Late middle section was a pedally, grassy, muddy bog - i did pretty good here, but was getting tired
Lower section was SUPER moto-whooped and crazy choppy with nasty mud and rocks - very very fast section, and then opens up into an even faster smooth, but turny section. Lots of pedaling - but SUPER fast.
I crashed on the entrance to the lower section - I was drifting an off camber left hand corner (I was drifting early and sliding into a burm before I pedaled out during practice), and the berm I was using at the end of the drift wasn't there anymore. My wheels sunk into deep mud and I got ejected - like a cartoon. I ended up in some trees and brush - had to go find my bike (literally).

I think that I had a 12th place finish (would have gotten 12th in semi pro too with that time)... but I should have had a podium - I was riding really fast.

Props -
Kenda KOD tires were key here - it made a huge difference and gave me the confidence to say that I thought I was going to podium. Rider error was at fault here, not the gear.
WTB wheels helped me accelerate out of the corners faster than the other guys - props to WTB for light DH wheels that are still strong!
Everyone had problems with their goggles int he mixed conditions - but my Smith Goggles were perfect
With back to back races, tons of practice, and the very physical nature of the courses - The Endurox and Accelerade came into play for sure! I could tell that I was fresh for longer periods of time than my comptetition.
I'll be heading to John's Auto Care and Lotus Message for some post race recovery (both my car and body are suffering!!!)
And you know I had the Avery Brew flowing! Best Belgian Style brews on this side fo the big pond!!

Super -D

This wasn't a super-d, it was a DH that was called Super-D.
I have no idea how I did -but I was one of 2 people in expert not riding a DH bike (it was basically a DH course). I didn't even ride with DH tires - I had a kenda nevegal up front and a small block 8 in the rear (and yea - it was muddy). DH bikes had a huge advantage - but I was able to out pedal everyone, so it probably evened out.
This race was SOOOOO much FUN!! The race entailed going elbow to elbow with 20 other DH'ers on a DH course. Tons of passing, tons of crashes, tons of mud, SUPER FAST- it ended on the 4x course, so I go to show off on the jumps and berms... it was the funnest thing I've done on a bike in a really long time. I don't care how I did - it was great.
I did run into some guy that fell in front of me in a rutted out corner.. I hit him REALLY hard... I got passed by like 4-5 people, then I passed like 4-5 in the next corner - this continued for about 8 more corners. Crashes, passing, and sprinting all makes for a good time!
In the last section of trail before the 4x course merge (end of the course), there was a stream crossing... if you had speed, you could jump the whole thing (alternative line with a rock lip) - I was 3rd going into this jump, the guy in 1st crashed when he landed (way too much mud on the lander), the guy in 2nd landed on 1st place's bike, and I ran into the back of 2nd place when I landed (we were all like 6 inches apart on the trail).... then we all got passed by a huge group behind us while we were slipping in the mud trying to get back on the trail.

All in all - the Super D was awesome, tons of fun! The DH course was pretty good - really fast!!
I made a huge mistake during my dh run - but that's racing!!
The guys who win don't make mistakes!

So here' the props again -
Even though I should have used mud tires - my nevegal's and small block 8's got the job done impressivly!
WTB for making Wheels that should have collapsed but didn't - i don't know how those wheels stay true - but they do!!!!
Accelerade for keeping me fresh! Everyone was worked after Early morning practice, A DH race, and then Afternoon practice. I was definetly riding strong where other's couldn't
Commencal - Damn! They make the best bikes in the world!!!
Smith - Super clear, Super detailed, no fog goggles!
Avery - For the post ride brew!!!

Race Day (sunday)
With my Dh bike in disrepair from the race run and stump, I didn't get to race on sunday
No Stage 3 for me!!

I learned some valuable lessons and look forward to next year, and have a result that reflects my potential.
Thanks to all of our sponsors for having such great products!


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