Double race weekend at Blue Mtn.
What a weekend of racing on the slopes at Blue Mountain ski area. Blue Mountain was hosting a double race weekend with a SuperD on Saturday and an Enduro Race on Sunday. For those of you not familiar I’ll explain the difference. A SuperD race is basically 80-90% downhill with some climbing, and cross country terrain added. It’s similar to a downhill race but requires a bike with less travel, a strong set of legs, and good bike handling skills. An Enduro race is basically a few stages of SuperD type courses with accumulative times equaling your result. Saturday gave racers a long day of practice with the first racers not going off until 3:00pm. I entered the race in the Pro class and we would not start until 4:00pm, which is really late to me. I’m so used to racing early and typically packing up by 4:00. My biggest fear with racing so late would be riding to much in the morning and afternoon and wearing myself down before my race run. So I took my time and paced my riding throughout the day. I would be the third rider in our class to go, and that made me very happy. I was very excited and wanted to get my run over with. The course was a little over 2 miles long and had a substantial amount of climbing in it. It started at the top of the mountain with a gravel road sprint that dove into the woods for some serious high speed single track action. This short section of woods was filled with dirt rollers, berms, and some small jumps. Exiting the shadows of the woods you were back out on the ski slopes and now had to climb up to the mountains second peak. After you reached the peak the course dove back into the woods for some more single track filled with body pounding rocks and roots. Blue Mountain is notorious for large, sharp, square edged rocks that were responsible for countless flats from racers throughout the weekend. So after about another 100 yards of trail you exited the woods back onto slopes for the second climb. At this point your body is in full go mode with your heart pounding out of your chest and sweat running down your face, and yet the race isn’t even half over with. Reentering the woods the trail points downhill again and gives you a few moments to try and catch your breath and composure. The trails seem to blend into one another as the corners, and terrain are all so similar. I continue my way down the mountain successfully completing each section making sure to pedal every second I can. You may think pedaling would be easy but there is so much chatter from large rocks, roots, and undulating terrain that you can only get 3 to 4 pedal stokes in before setting up for another obstacle or corner. I exit the woods for the last time and am greeted by the sun. The home stretch is wide open and definitely the fastest section of the course. There is one obstacle left on the course and it’s a long jump about 30 feet long. I hit it as fast as possible and try to stay low. (See pic) From here to the end its time to put the hammer down and go for the gold as I sprint my way to the finish line. I’m happy with my run, but now all I can do is wait to see how everyone else’s run goes. Theirs is some very stiff completion here including the 2013 Super D national champion. The moment of truth comes as results are posted. I managed to pull off the win by a couple of seconds and am filled with joy and relief. Hard training always pays off. The Enduro event is 5 races on 5 different trails. So, just imagine my story above 5 times over for 5 different trails. My race run on each trail went pretty well, with my only regret being that I didn’t race my bike with more suspension travel. These courses were a little more aggressive overall than the SuperD and more travel would have been better. I ended the day in 3rd and was happy with a podium finish. It’s was an intense weekend with some great racing surrounded by friends, family, and smiles.