Well, it was back last weekend, but pix just got posted yesterday and last night, so I was holding off on the report until there was proof .
This is a brand new venue on some private forest land, built by Kyle T. and a couple of his friends (some of you may remember Kyle from his Drop In “Be a Dirtbag Contest” entry last year). It’s pretty freshly-cut into some deep cedar forest with steep fall-lines, closely-spaced trees, tricky off-cambers and a step-up that gave everyone fits cleaning all weekend. With 40 racers chewing it up for two days, you can imagine how it started exposing roots, creating deep holes and down-slope slumping berms. It also had a nice rock-roll that I swear is the steepest one I’ve ever done. Spooky; felt like I was going to endo every time I went down it. I heard later that that some of the younger guys decided to attempt the step-up and rock roll after watching me do it - - figuring “if the old guy can do it, I should be able to” .
So much that we typically race is more wide-open, high-speed pine forest runs, that this was a treat to get into some deep-woods racing. Anyway, this was bare, grassroots racing at its best. It would have been worth the $20 entry fee for the two days of shuttling, let alone that we got to race too. Just three classes: Women, Juniors and Men; so I was up against all the young bucks. In fact, I’m pretty sure I was the only racer there over about 25.
As far as how I did - - well, I held my own. My seeding run of 3:22 put me in 17th (pros were into the sub-3:00s), so that put me mid start-order for my timed run. On my timed run, the chewed up course took its toll on me I guess: went over the bars on a loose, tight off-camber and wasn’t carrying speed as well in some of the slower sections. The consolation was that I nearly got both wheels on top of the step-up and cleaned the roll-down faster than I had all weekend. Still, my 3:35 dumped me back to 25th. Ah well, that’s racing.
The whole weekend was a blast. I got to hang out with my long-lost moto-riding buddy Dave - - and his son (the one I got into DHing) - - and enjoyed good times around the fire, plus good food & malt refreshment. There’s promise of more races there next year, which should just get better and better as the trail wears in. Kyle, Mike and the gang did a tremendous job of organizing, timing, etc. and really deserve big props for making it happen.
Some shots (plus more here: http://mikerider.pinkbike.com/album/Arms-Race-2008/):
Finish line, courtesy of . . .
On the final stretch: