Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Dog River Super D (Fluidride Enduro Round 1)

If we were going to drive three hours down to Hood River, David figured that we might as well get in as much riding as possible. He planned a sweet weekend of sampling some of Hood River's signature riding areas - Post Canyon on Friday, race Dog River on Saturday and Sunday, Syncline on Monday - and he rented a four "bedroom" house in White Salmon for GL6 post-ride shenanigans. The staging area for this race was a sea of GL6 jerseys; Todd, Lee, Kerry, Courtney, Rachel, Dave, Trey, Matt, Matthieu, Kyle and myself made the trek. John didn't race but took some sweet photos.
Unfortunately, my work schedule didn't comply with David's plan and Friday afternoon found me not perched on the saddle of my Norco Fluid, but teaching Macbeth to tenth graders. As I slogged through act 3 scene 4, Lee, Kerry, Rachel, Dave and Courtney were out ripping it up at Post Canyon. Having packed the night before, I left for Hood River straight from work, arriving just in time to meet the girls for the post-ride beer and dinner at Big Horse Brewing Co. I spent most of my day envisioning the trails I could be shredding while encased in my classroom with no windows, but after I heard the ride report from Post Canyon my jealousy faded slightly. Apparently, the shuttle ride turned out to be a debacle full of wrong turns, hike-a-bike climbs, map checks, and repeats of that telltale phrase of every doomed ride: "don't worry, I think it's around the next bend." And of course, said the ladies, what else was to blame but the mixture of male (over)confidence and a poorly drawn map? Just kidding guys =) The drive to our rental house was almost as adventurous; after three U-turns and twice pulling off the road to check the directions, we finally made it to our home for the next few days, where we discovered the fourth bedroom was actually a converted shed with twin beds set a little ways apart from the main house. Courtney and I stayed in this fourth "bedroom," which thankfully had heat.

Saturday was the first round of the Dog River Enduro Super D. After a delicious breakfast of french toast and strawberries a la Lee, we loaded the vans with bikes and dogs, and headed out the Dog River trailhead. It had rained overnight, but thankfully the skies cleared somewhat as we approached the trailhead. We arrived in time for most of us squeeze in two practice runs before the race began. The course was fantastic! With the exception of a tricky rock garden in the first mile and some sharp, challenging switchbacks, the trail was smooth and FAST. It was 5.5 miles of daring yourself not to touch the brakes. The shuttle dropped riders off about a mile away from that starting gate, giving the the course a built-in warm up. Out of the gate, riders followed a section of gravel road which ended in singletrack. About 500 yards down the trail was a tricky rock garden that led up to a switchback, both without much room for error. After this, riders navigated a couple other switchbacks, then the course ripped along the hillside through the pines. Three more switchbacks greeted riders near the end of the course. By the time the race began, the course was fairly blown out from all the practice runs, the brake bumps, ruts and blown turns adding some difficulty. The day ended with Lee and Matthieu nearly tied for third place (among several others), and Courtney, Kyle, and Matt also in contention for a podium spot. Our post-race celebrations started at Full Sail Brewing in Hood River, but ended at a much cooler locale, The Thirsty Woman, located in a small community just east of Hood River. It looked as if someone had knocked down a few walls and converted their living room into a small bar populated with locals and an eccentric selection of beer. Not able to find an open supermarket, we stocked up on breakfast food at a 7-11 and headed home. Surprisingly, a 7-11 can provide for all your breakfast burrito makings. Who knew?

Courtney cooked our 7-11 Reser's brand treasure into delicious breakfast burritos to fuel us up for the second round of the Dog River Super D. The weather was sunnier this morning, but it was hard for us to get our race mojo going. We spent the morning drinking coffee and munching egg and bacon stuffed burritos instead of getting in another round of practice runs. Thankfully our morning lethargy didn't show up in the results for the day; nearly everyone shaved 20 seconds or more off their time. Unfortunately, the battle between Lee and Matthieu for third place ended in a flat tire for Lee and crash for Matthieu, knocking them both down in the overall rankings. GL6 was still a still presence on the podium; Matt took 2nd in Cat I Mens 30-39, Kyle took 1st place in Cat II Mens 16-18, Kerry took 2nd in Cat II Open Women, and Courtney took 2nd in Cat III Open Women. After the race, we stopped at Double Mountain Brewery, where we ordered six pizzas and somehow ate all of them. This place left Full Sail in the dust; it was the best food and beer we had the whole trip! Once again, work called me away from the trails, so I headed home with a growler of Double Mountain IRA and a belly full of pizza. Dave, Rachel, Todd, Trey and Courtney stayed one more day to ride Syncline before making the trek back up north.

Cat I Men 30-39
Matt Jagger, 2nd

Cat II Men 16-18
Kyle Curtin, 1st

Cat II Men 30-39
Matthieu Denuelle, 5th
Lee Peterson, 6th

Cat II Men 40-49
Trey Clay, 4th
Todd Davidson, 5th

Cat II Men 50+
David Snyder, 1st

Cat II Open Women
Kerry Tarullo, 2nd
Rachel Delateur, 5th
Erin Roe, 6th

Cat III Open Women
Courtney Anderson, 2nd

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