ROTORUA, NEW ZEALAND
First event of the year in NZ was a nice sunny change to the dreary wet winter back home in Washington. I am happy to report that I won 3 of my events!!!!!! and did the whip-off on the biggest jump ever. Bryn also won in the Deep Summer Photo Challenge with photographer Simeon Patience. So yeah, an unbelievable way to kick off the year!! Thanks Crankworx for a good time. This was stop 1 of 3, so Les Gets and Whistler are still to come......
WHIP OFF: Whip was kind of a participation fun event for me. I am still working on my style on big jumps, spent a few too many years in pencil mode keeping it straight:). The roll in to the whip jump was no joke and the actual jump was like hitting a blind wall. For sure pretty scary, new, and crazy but it meant a lot to hit is and face the fear. Casey Brown has such a rad whip, something to aspire towards:) R dog won the men's whip with a mean almost past 90 degree whip. Tyler McCaul was rad, Bernerd has a nice one too, Blenki 3rd.
Speed and Style should really just be slalom, but having to hit the wooden freestyle kickers was fun. For the women it was the first time ever to hold a women's Speed and Style contest. A few other ladies showed up for practice but didn't end up racing, bit windy, few crashes, crazy ramps, so it was just Casey Browntown and I in the end. We were competing just for speed, but the boys had to tricks with speed. Kyle Strait was the winner in my eyes with speed, and then a double tail whip at the end, but Slavik won with speed only.
PUMPTRACK: Pumptrack is my jam, love doing it, but these courses could be a little more challenging I think. Racing under lights at night reminds me of the ol 4x days and sets a cool vibe. The area for this was all set with seating built into the hillside and grandstands all around the low spots. Mini stadium. It was super cold that night with the arctic wind, but a good event none the less. Anneke finished 2nd, tracy was 3rd. The boys had some heated battles, with a few fresh faces in the mix from slopestyle Thomas Lemoine, and a new kid who was 16 from Rotorua. Pro tracks haven't been made yet, but hopefully France has some good consecutive turns and good combos:).
DOWNHILL: Downhill was the most challenging event, with such talented competitors and a world class track that was fast dry and loose. I kinda pulled an upset here taking the win in seeding and finals, but I felt good and was happy it was dry. This course had everything, lots of natural terrain, big jumps, steep sections, fast, rough, loose, etc....
End result was that I won 3 of 3 races, participated in the Whip, bryn won the Deep Summer Photo Challenge, and we had a good time. It's awesome to have events like this, cause it's rare to just have a clean sweep like that, feels good.
I brought in a mechanic, our homie Tris from Cairns. He used to work for Pump and pedals, and NS Dynamics, etc. So managing three bikes all week, he was dialed and great support. Big thanks to him!!!..
Slopestyle was the biggest draw, and the level of tricks now is insane. Semenuk is the smoothest, most tech rider and I love to watch him own it, but he's got some worth competitors on his heels, with new tricks being thrown, and the bar being raised every time. Not so easy to get into anymore for scraggly little dirt jump kids.
Shout out to Crankworx for running awesome events, maybe the best in the world as far as coverage , prize money, and good times. Next event on the world tour is in Les Gets France, which is a lovely spot. Can't wait.