This last weekend was the 3rd stop of the 2015 NWcup race series at my personal favorite track, Ski Bowl @ Mt Hood!! This track is, and always will be, “a mans track!” A single grueling top to bottom run will leave you dazed and confused as to why you came to this place for a bike race? That is if you aren’t manly enough… But if you are, hold on tight because it’s still gonna be a wild ride that will leave a shit eating grin on your face, make your hands more sore than ever before, and probably claim a piece of your bike and or flesh… Did I mention that I love this place?
A couple buddies and myself loaded up after work Friday after work and made the drive to beautiful Mt Hood. We made camp in the ski bowl parking lot at dusk, started a fire, cracked a few cold ones, and had our selves a great start to the weekend. Saturday morning started early with registration and course walking while Dillon and Charlie practiced there Cat2 race course. At 2pm it was my turn to practice. The first run down was good. I took a slow cruiser run to check things out and get a feel for the course. This was the loosest I had seen “the bowl” in many years. The next few runs at speed revealed that my suspension settings were all wrong (mostly because I haven’t ridden the new bike on a real DH course yet) so back to the pits I went to make to necessary adjustment. Now the bike feels better and I’m starting to get my lines squared away. Second to last run of the day I decided to blast my shoulder off of a tree mid rock garden, luckily I wasn’t hurt! and by my final run I felt like I had the track pretty well tamed! After practice we headed up into government camp for some dinner at Ratskellars, and then back to camp. I turned in early to ensure I got plenty of rest before the big day.
Sunday morning came and it was time to get mentally prepare for the race. I took a half lap practice run, and then headed straight back to the top for my qualifying run. I was the first Pro down the track and kept it smooth and relaxed. I didn’t push real hard as I wanted to solidify my lines for the race. A few small mistakes and with relatively little effort I managed a 16th place qualifying time out of just shy of 40 riders.
My race time was posted for 2:45 in the afternoon on Sunday the 21st of June. I started my race run off like a cannon blasting through the top ridge like I haven’t ever done before, I was feeling exceptionally good on the bike and was letting it all hang out. Until my derailleur. decided it didn’t want to stay on my bike anymore… This taking away my ability to pedal… But hey Aaron Gwin won a World Cup just last weekend with no chain… If he can do it so can I! Well maybe I can’t.. But I sure did give it hell! I laid it all on the line in the places where I could just trying to make up time. I hit all my lines with control and confidence! Checkers or wreckers I kept telling myself as I was waiting for my swinging Der. to get caught in my wheel, but it never did! I made it to the bottom coasting into the finish area with a time of 4:03, only 7 seconds slower than my qualifying time. Landing me (unofficially) in 25th ish place out of roughly 38 riders. (I left before the real results were posted.) All in all it was a great weekend, but I’ll be back in July for redemption!