ANGELFIRE, NM Just finished out this weekend in New Mexico with my 11th US pro national championship title, 3rd one in Downhill. Happy to have the usa flag sleeve back again to represent the stars n bars worldwide.
Anyway, yesterday's DH final was pretty exciting.
Think most people expected Gwin to win the men's title, but Bitchin Binggeli and Mitchypoo put in awesome efforts, matching Gwin's quail time. Unfortunately for them though Gwin bettered his time by like 9 seconds?. Logan had the run of his life going, crossing in 2nd with no chain. Word is that he lost it in the rock garden, but I can't confirm that, just saw the speed tuck at the end. Anyway, Kevin Aiello was 4th on the 650b khs, with a mega wheelbase 50+. Cody Warren 5th as a semi retired racer/ soon to be firefighter. His coasting speed was crazy fast as a bigger dude. Almost the entire Warren family was there, even 4 dogs, but Bubbs was sadly missed still camped out in the UK with his team. So bubbs, Neko Mulally, Luke Strobel, Mikey Sylvestri all should have been here :(. Just bad timing I suppose with Mt.St.anne and whistler coming up. Think Downieville was this weekend as well.
Anyway, The moisture in the dirt was about zero till the very last pro man raced, then it just opened up and poured hard for like 20 minutes. Sad part is, whoever wrote up the schedule put the junior men after all the pros, so they had a flash flood experience and raced in downpours and mud. Those who had issues in seeding played the rain game.
Walker Shaw flatted in quali and came out with the Junior title!!. There was a big delay with the lift cause of the approaching storm and lightning. That kind of worked out perfect for me to get through drug testing, pack a bike and then go watch :)
My race was pretty good. I felt like I pushed harder on all the pedalling and nailed the rock garden the best I had all weekend. There was a bit of a head wind, and I had one staill in a flat section which cost some time, but all in all pretty good as it was enought to win by over 30 seconds. Jackie took second with a bit of a mistake and the flu, and Anne 3rd.
Larry Longo was there announcing, which is always awesome. He has been a staple of US racing for as long as I have been in it. Anyway, lot of officials from USA Cycling, who hosted this event. Real nice people, but I think their gravity effort in the US is a bit off the back. Whopping $350 for prize money. "better than nothing" . Anywho, I can't complain too much. Had an awesome weekend. Was glad to see my fellow americans again and race in a place that eats real food for breakfast:) C ya.
Photos Matt Delorme.
Big thanks to Shimano and Daz at Fox for letting me hang out and looking after me:) Also Norco. Aurum hit gold again.
FRIDAY FIRST THOUGHTS
Angelfire, NM Straight off the plane from Europe to Angelfire. This place is so high, think it starts at 10,000 feet and kinda finishes in the 8000 foot range. All good. Bit different terrain here; pine forrest, loose dirt, rocky, etc. the course is fairly mellow, but super blown out now and really high speed. Couple sniper rocks coming out too. Cat 2 and 3 raced already and it's bone dry and hot up here, so thats the real challenge. Course should be in the 5-6 minute range, which is sooo long, but it's pretty fun. There are a few fire road sections to catch your breath and tuck. Lots of natural little hops over rocks n such, one flat rock garden section to try to keep speed in.
Not the most impressive turnout here though. Probably the most bumming national race ive ever been to as far as atmosphere, and fan or rider turnout. The organization and scheduling isn't all that great either. The resort is pretty good though, so that makes up for it. Everyone is spread out. There is no real pit area so it's hard to know who's even here. Glad Shimano, Fox, Wd-40 guys (doing free bike washes :), KHS, Arma Evil, Odi junior team, maybe saw a Sram tent, but no one is n the same zone.
For riders I know Gwin, Binggelli,Aiello, Mitchypoo, C dub, maybe Mikey Sylvestri but haven't seen him, Furbees, Grame Pitts, Magic Mike day, Shaw Bros, Haderer, Condro, Ray, but that's really all i've seen. Aussie Troy Brosnan is just hanging out riding the park, and course sweeper I think:)
For slalom, Barry Nobles and Mikey Day killed it in Quali, Maybe Luca Shaw in 3rd or Blake Carney. The course is not my favorite, I would say it's really bad actually and really blown out. sigh, I was pumped and then depressed after 2 laps. It's the old 4x track from the world cup split into two, but nothing technical, not much skill, tiny jumps, lots of hiking to the top, and lame shaped turns with 3 inches of powder. I really hope it gets a facelift. The slalom course in North Carolina for nationals a couple years ago was 4000 times better. Overall moral from pro riders was wayyy down on the slalom front, but there are still titles to be had.
Only 2 girls including myself signed up. Mens there may have been 14 pro men maybe?. Mitch didn't race cause he's a sissy. Hope he sees this:).
Anyway, Dh quali tomorrow and slalom finals. Here's a shot from my go pro.