Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Giants Ridge DH race

Giants Ridge Down Hill race was this last weekend, 10/13/12, and it might very well be the last Jolly Rogers Series race ever and the last race put on by Midwest Freeride Community (MFC), which is sad but I understand how difficult these things are to continue. Buck and Tony poured their hearts and souls, time and money into these events over the last half decade and really helped progress and grow the sport in the Midwest. It is unfortunate that they are bowing out right now as the sport is finally starting to get traction and grow in popularity here in MN but I understand as we age our priorities change.
The race was awesome, the course was phenomenal and hands down the gnarliest course I’ve ridden in the Midwest and maybe anywhere… the black hills might still have it, but it was a real test. It was truthfully the first time that I felt out gunned and that my skills might out way the bike. It probably wasn’t so, I probably didn’t reach the limit of the bike but more my limit on that bike. Which is awesome, that can only lead to growth as a rider. The venue was sweet and the people were amazing as usual. I just love being with 40 like minded people talking bikes and having a good time.
The race started at 12pm (noon), I woke up at 4:25am and got ready, I was packed the night before, and headed out the door to Trevor’s house by 4:45am. We loaded his car and were on the road, headed north by 5:15am. We arrived in Biwabick around 8:30am. Put the bikes together and were on the first shuttle heading up the mountain by 9:30am. The first run down was clean and slow. I was just trying to get my legs under me and check out the course. I had never been there before and never ridden that course so I wanted to feel it out.

To be honest the course kicked my ass for the next 4 practice runs. I either crashed or flatted every run down so I wasn’t feeling too confident going into the race. On top of that I was a little flustered as it took almost 30 mins to change my tube in on my new rims. It was pretty embarrassing actually. Those new Stan’s rims are awesome to ride but horrible to put a tire on or take off as they have a very shallow valley in the middle of the rim. I broke my tire lever trying to put it on and actually Tony was the one that finally got the tire on, thanks Tony! Haha.
The race finally got going, since it was my first downhill race and I wasn’t left too confident after the practice runs I chose to race Cat 3 (beginner) I knew that might be playing it on the safe side and I might get some shit if I actually pulled it together but who knows… 95% of the guys racing Cat 1-2 (open) were on full DH rigs, so I was definitely out gunned on my 150mm Giant Reign, heck most the dudes in the beginner category were on DH rigs!

I crashed first run, just a minor slide out and then rode through some tall grass after coming out of a corner wide, so that really killed my time, or so I thought. I put up a 2:18 and was in the lead, the next fastest was 2:28. Now I really felt like a sand bagger, haha and I was already hearing it from my buddies, haha. The next run I decided to just put it together run conservatively where I knew I might have trouble and pedal my ass off where I could. I wanted 1 freaking clean race run!
Viola, I did it I cleaned the tricky stuff at the top and was feeling pretty good. I pedaled my ass of in the flats and put down 2:08, which was good enough for first in the beginner category. However I would have only placed 3rd in the juniors category! A couple of those groms were quick! I would have been in the top 15 I believe in open but nowhere near the top. Top 4 were all under 2 minutes.

Thor won with a 1:45, Paul second with 1:49, Jed third with like 1:54 and Pete forth with 1:57 I believe. The official results aren’t up yet. Either way it was an awesome Saturday. I had a great time, I got to do my first DH race and I can’t wait to do another. I won a sweet sword as my trophy and also took home some swag, a new set of green Chromag handlebars, a set of DMR pedals and some stickers and all the Red Bull I could drink (thanks Buck).
The future is looking bright for gravity riding in the Midwest, Copper Harbor has plans to add a new double black diamond DH trail next summer, Spirit has 2 DH trails with plans to have many more and Mont Du Lac has few trails now open and plans to continue to build! I can’t wait for next summer!

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