Ahhhh the great northwest. Full of mountains, trees, fresh air, and some of the best mountain bike racing you’ll find in the northern hemisphere!! This weekend was the final stop of the NWcup race in Port Angeles Washington. Known for it’s technical yet flowy courses and usually wet weather, mixed with the best heckling in the sport, this place never disappoints.
The weather forecast showed no rain, and the trails were already super dry. I immediately knew this place was gonna be fast on this particular weekend… I was right!! Fridays practice definitely was an eye opener of how fast the course was really going to be. The course was blistering and extremely loose in parts. The course is also fairly one lined so there is very little room for error. By the end of Fridays practice I was feeling pretty alright on the course, and had my lines pretty well sorted out.
Saturday morning was the Cat II and Cat III practice so Austin Lancaster and I decided to go for a course walk before our practice started at noon. The course had not changed much, just some big holes in the course and a lot more loose dirt. Practice started off well, I changed a few lines and adjusted for the slippery conditions. I went down once in a corner near the bottom, but hey, if you aren’t crashing every now and then you aren’t trying hard enough, right?
Saturday afternoon was seeding runs for Jr men, pro women, and pro men. I decided to try and keep my run fairly mellow and not blowy self up before Sundays race. My run didn’t go quite like I planned but that’s racing. I seeded 21st with room for some much needed improvement. We then headed back to the house where we cooked up a big dinner and relaxed in the hot tub with a cold beer.
Sunday morning… My nerves are always going crazy, my mind is wandering, I have one practice run left to make any changes before it all comes down to one last run.
I took my practice run slow in some areas to scope out some changing lines, and let it run in others. I felt confident after practice and headed to the truck to relax before watching some of the other classes race before heading up for my own run.
The time before my race run is always different, my mind is totally blank, I’m not nervous anymore, I’m just ready to get in the start gate and go. At 12:46.30 I would leave the top of Dry Hill, and 2 minutes and 45 seconds later I would cross the finish line! My run was pretty decent, a few small mistakes cost me some time, so I tried to just hit my lines as best I could. The fans here are amazing!! They definitely keep you motivated during your race run with their outrageous chants and track side shenanigans. So I let it all hang out near the bottom where everyone was watching. My overall result was not what I wanted, 19th place is never anything to brag about. But considering I had not ridden my bike in 2 months (I work a lot) and was still able to mix it up with these guys left me in pretty high spirits.
None of this would be possible without the support I have received from the guys at Unreal Cycles. Peter for his amazing connections, Lewis for keeping things running smoothly, and Derek for always making sure my bike is dialed in!! And a big thanks to the Lancasters for allowing me to tag along with them.
Until next time!