I thought I'd share my experience racing downhill for the first time in the Pacific Northwest.
I've raced out at Fontana and at Woodward West in California. That's the extent of my downhill racing experience, which is not very extensive to say the least. It's been a couple of years since I've tried racing DH again. An opportunity came up to race at the NW Cup Race #5 which was held at Skibowl in Mt. Hood, Oregon. I thought I'd give it a shot.
Saturday's practice day was bright and sunny, a welcome sight around these parts. Dirt was in perfect shape since it had rained the night before. Skibowl has a chair lift, which was separated into two lifts in order to get all the way to the top.
Course Marshall report? What the heck? This is a slightly different perspective on an age old tradition of ride reports and race recaps, the "Course Marshall Report."
The Path Bike Shop was the featured bike shop at the June 19th Over the Hump Race: an hour long lactic acid sufferfest and all around good time!
Matt Wenger and crew put on a great race and encourage a strong family atmosphere with kids races, music, and good food: oh yeah, the adult races are well put together too! The Path Bike Shop had: 1) racers (shop regulars, employees, and race team members) in virtually all categories (Experts, Super Sports, and Sports), 2) a tent with fruit platters, special edition water bottles, and mechanics, and 3) a small army of volunteers to help with course marshaling the race.
So I got back from a week and a half shindig in Hawaii a couple days before the Idyllwild Spring Challenge May 5th. I new it was going to be a painful race after a week and a half of sun and gluttony so my plan was to ride my own race and not get caught up in the hype of a world cup start, blow my load, and try to recover over the rest of the 25 miles of dirt and pavement. I wore a Camelback filled with my delicious blueberry pomegranate sports drink, confident enough that I would stay hydrated and I wouldn't need a feed. I normally would bottle feed, but an unfortunate injury to my FEED thumb told me otherwise...by the end of the race I was shifting with my palm. I had my Gu's and my tools and even got in a decent warm up.
I was ready to race, but within about 40 minutes I would find out that I wasn't prepared.
Aliso Woods Wilderness Park has been one of the best places to ride your mountain bike in Orange County for a very long time. Park authorities have never allowed a mountain bike race in the park until this past Saturday!
Team Trials Alliance made an appearance this past weekend at the Enduro Stuff Challenge mountain bike race at the Caspers Wilderness Park in San Juan Capistrano, CA. The event featured 200 registered riders enduring two challenging loops within the park. Team Trials Alliance members Monica Thompson, Shaun Goldman, Joshua Barney and Scott Thompson performed observed bicycle trials demos after the event wrapped up and entertained those waiting for the race awards.
Members would like to thank race promoter Ron Sawicki and The Path Bike Shop for allowing trials to be at the venue and gaining needed support and visibility for the sport. Check out Facebook.com/TrialsAlliance for pictures of Team Trials Alliance members in action at the event and www.TrialsAlliance.com for the latest on the crew.-Team Trials Alliance
Once again, DW, the Prime Minister of Pain, ushered in spring with a day of back-country racing of unrivaled difficulty. The route through the Santa Anas remained the same as last year: Upper San Juan Loop, Chiquito, Blue Jay, The Wall, Bell Ridge, Yeager Mesa, Trabuco, Los Pinos, San Juan, Chiquito.
A big congrats to all the participants of the 2011 Southridge Winter Series! Five races total for the series that spanned from January through to March. The last race of the series was last Sunday March 6th. Way to go Path team!
Southridge Winter Series 2011 Overall Standings
Team Matias from ChileThe Path Bike Shop is represented all the way in Chile!
Team Matias members:
These guys have been longtime customers of The Path Bike Shop, and now they're sponsored riders. Major riding talent in this crew. They took part in the Valparaiso Cerro Abajo Race this past February, with such elite world-class riders as Cedric Gracia, Filip Polc, and Christopher Van Dine.
by Carla Bray, staff member at The Path Bike Shop
Representing The Path Bike Shop at Woodward West: Carla, Mark, & Eric. Photo: Six3Events, Mike Lord
Eric and I were unable to practice the course the Saturday before, so we were there first thing in the morning on Sunday to run the course. Mark had gone to practice on Sunday, so he guided us through the course for our first run. The dirt was perfect; it had snowed a few days before the weekend, so the melted snow had soaked in and made the dirt nice and tacky. There was some mud in a few low spots, but otherwise it was completely "hero dirt" throughout the entire course. Weather was great with temps in the low 70s.
Mark was racing in the Expert Men class, Eric was in the Sport Men class, and I was racing in the Sport Women class.
Race report by Leslie Williams, The Path Bike Shop race team member
Last year at this time, I was much larger, watching Erik come in from the Counting Coup, with baby due in just a few weeks. Since then, I have replaced long endurance miles with long endurance night feedings, and the only intervals I have done have been up the stairs for diaper
Two weeks ago, however, someone wanted to sell their spot in the Coup, so I tentatively took it. I miss the long hours in the dirt. What I don’t miss, as I was reminded of this morning, is getting up at 3:45 am. So two weeks ago, my training began with Blackstar to the Motorway. Then the following weekend I added the paved part of Maple. Perfect.
“This all seemed like a good idea back in January.”
That’s all I could think as the eternity of push climbing and small-ring suffering on Los Pinos trail conspired to wholly crush my spirit for racing in such brutal and unforgiving terrain. But what else should I have expected from our friends at the Laguna Rads?
This had all started more than four hours earlier at the National Forest parking area at the Upper San Juan Loop trailhead. Race Director DW began the day by offering the route (Upper San Juan Loop, Chiquito, Blue Jay, The Wall, Bell Ridge, Yeager Mesa, Trabuco, Los Pinos, San Juan, Chiquito). His speech included the notion that we couldn’t cheat by riding down the easy way to hit Chiquito. Instead, he said, we would drop out of the back side of the lot “into the steep, rocky shit and that after that all the shortcuts were fair game.” And with those gloriously sincere and informal words he began to pedal. Apparently, it was on.