PORT ANGELES, WAAny DH riding before 9am is just a little too early, but that's what was on the schedule this morning. Nice day, sun was out, conditions were primo. Practice finished @ 10am. Cat 1, 2, and 3 riders had their race runs first, pros after that. Hundreds of riders rode these tracks over the weekend, got pretty tore up, but nothing unexpected in the finals.
Anyway, I can't tell you how rad it was in the Pro Women's class to have Top World Cup riders; Rachel Atherton, Tracy Mosley, Mellissa Buhl, ect., in attendance. 16 Women in all, which is a really good turnout. I couldn't see any of the other girls' run,,, but my run was pretty good, couple stalls, but decent. Can't expect perfection in Downhill. I had so much fun riding the track it didn't matter. Anyway, Tracy is riding strong on a rough track like this and took the big W with a 2:50, Rachel had a 2:53 with a bruised up hand, and I was pretty close with a 2:56. Not bad...I was really excited to get to race these girls, I respect them a lot. Good to know I'm somewhat in the mix for DH:).
Fans were doing their part. Could hear cowbells and cheers, but really had no idea that many people were watching and cheering till Strand and I walked back up to the big step down section for the men's races.
To make things even better, Bryn took the Pro men's victory, by over a second!!! Perfect weekend, qualfier and Final!!!. Nice to be close to home (Seattle-3hrs) and have so much local support, even if he is an import. Transition Bikes are working really well for us:) so happy. No surprise really that Fox riders were 1-6 on the men's podium. The testing was really effective for getting the bikes tuned. 1-3 in the ladies podium too.
In what appeared to be a one line-ish track, set up for certain sections and maintaining momentum were key. I thought there was a bunch of pedaling, but Stevie Smith snapped a chain coming into the first turn and was still on a 2:41, 9 sec off pace. Suppose if you know you have to keep your speed without pealling, you would be a little more careful as to how you brake and what you do. Knowing the flow of the course and being comfortable with the terrain were pretty important as well. Bryn said he had a pretty flowy smooth run, and when he came into the section I saw, he defiantly had a nice smooth set up with fast exit speed. I have some sweet footage of the top 7 or 8 guys. Fans had different chants for everyone, it was good energy in the woods.
As for the other riders, Dunno if the syndicate guys were feeling it so much. They liked the track, but Josh took a bit of a digger on the first day and had a nasty cut right on his knee cap, no where to do sweet whips either:), and Minnaar looked smooth and effortless, but was just off the pace a bit. The story of his accident this past offseason, and the scar on his leg were insane. He is lucky to be riding. He is the best racer head in the biz, shouldn't slow him down too much. Yeti boys looked fast in practice, didn't talk to any of em, but heard Joey clipped his crank/ chainring on the last jump and flipped onto the landing. Trek team all had stellar results. Luke Strobel is riding really well, has raced here a bunch, and got the bronze- local hero.
Nice work to Casey and Scott of N-Dub productions for running one of the best national rounds I have ever been to!! Next round is in NY...
Thx to Lars, n Scotty, TR, Red Bull, Oakley, Fox, Crankbrothers, Shimano, Maxxis, Dakine, Kore, Jaguire, The, ODI, e.13, 5.1o, freelap, cane creek, cadence works, park tool, e soles.