Thursday, July 7, 2011

Oregon Super D Series #2: Bend

4th of July in Bend
After its inaugural race last year, the Bend Super D is now the second race in the Oregon Super D series, which attracts riders from not just Oregon and Washington, but over the west coast.  What better way to spend the 4th of July weekend that with some Super D racing?  GL6 racers Theresa, Jamey, Matthieu, Todd and myself joined fellow Washington DHers Pete Jelinek and sons, Kathy Malvern (of Sturdy Bitch Racing) and Greg and Janine Sutterfield for three days of Bend riding and racing.

Jamey rippin it up
After a practice run on Friday evening and couple more on Saturday, we were ready to rock the race course Sunday morning.  The course began at the Wanoga Sno-Park, when down a connector trail to Funner, then down Storm King to the finish 8 miles later.  Though I wasn't at Hood River, I've heard a lot about it, and this course was apparently the exact opposite of the HR course; smooth, sandy trails, minimal technical sections, and lots of pedaling.  Though there was only 150 feet of elevation gain, much of the course demanded constant pedaling to keep speed, and there were several dusty, sandy corners that called up riders' best cornering skills in order to maintain momentum.  There were a few rocky sections and three or so rock drops (thankfully for me, they were all rollable) and some optional skinnies, but for the most part, the course was classic Bend; smooth, dusty, flowy.  The lack of technical features and amount of pedaling frustrated some riders, but I still thought the course was fun and flowy (which makes sense considering that this was my 2nd SD other than the CF classic) even though I was treated to a...well, less than stellar time.

Matthieu off to a strong start
Though none of us saw the podium, Todd, Jamey, and Matthieu all finished within a minute of each other (despite Jamey crashing early on), and Todd was one of two people racing the course on a hardtail single speed.  Once we were shuttled back up to the top, we were treated to beer from 10 Barrel Brewing and some delicious burritos.  Even though there was no podium or awesome raffle swag in the mix for us, it was still an excellent weekend of Bend riding and hanging out with cool people!  I'll be back in Bend for the 24 hour race in September, but I hope to return before then and continue exploring the amazing riding area.

Jamey Poelker, 18th, Cat II Men 30-39
Matthieu Denuelle, 13th, Cat II Men 40+
Todd Davidson, 14th, Cat II Men 40+
Erin Roe, 13th, Cat II Women under 35
Matthew Seeman, 9th, Cat II Jr. Men 13-18

Indie Series #3: Methow Valley

Relaxing after the race

Last year, Courtney and I were the sole representation of GL6 at the Methow Valley Cycle and Sport Mountain Challenge, but this year GL6 and friends swarmed the Loup Loup campground for the event and for a few days of excellent Methow Valley riding.  The Methow Valley is one of my favorite places, so much so that I came out a day earlier than everyone else to secure us some good spots at the Loup Loup campground and get some riding in before the race.  I opted to ride the Twisp River trail instead of pre-riding the course, mostly because I knew the pain and suffering that awaited me on race day and had no desire to experience it more than once when there were so many other awesome riding options.  Even though the ride involved some unexpected washouts, I'm still glad that I did it, and when I got back, everyone else had shown up and was setting up camp.  We headed down to the Twisp River Pub for a pre-race meal, ate some s'mores, and settled in for a chilly night; it's cold at 4020 feet at night!

Reuben smoking the competition
We woke up on race day to a cloudy sky and mild temperatures - perfect conditions for a race with lots of exposed steep climbs.  The climbs began at the start line and barely relented for 3-4 miles.  Occasionally, riders were teased with a short downhill only to round a corner and look up, up, up to see another string of lung-busting dusty switchbacks.  My favorite section of the course was the Bear Mountain trail, a few miles of rocky, sometimes steep, singletrack that kept riders on their toes going up and down.  This dumped out onto a long section of fire road that connected back to the trail with another climb, then a white-knuckle descent down XC ski trails and fire road.  While not technical, the gravelly doubletrack threatened a washout around each turn; it was like riding on ball bearings.  After crossing the road the course shot back up to the ski area and thankfully, the finish line.  Despite being only 13 miles (for the sport class) this is definitely one of the more challenging XC races.  Lee and Kyle had to do another lap, and on single speeds no less!!  Unfortunately, Theresa had a bad crash near the top of the climb, breaking her helmet in three places, giving her a concussion, and ending her race.  And she didn't even get to enjoy the fun parts of the trail  =(
Theresa's broken helmet

GL6 was a presence on the podium at this race, with me taking 3rd place in the Sport Women 19-34 category (and shaving a full 19 minutes off last year's time) and Reuben scoring a second 2nd place podium in the competitive Sport Men 19-34.  He was only 22 seconds out of first and probably would have had the top spot if his cleat hadn't come loose halfway through the race.  We went back to camp and enjoyed an epic campfire cookout that lasted well into the night, and somehow found the energy the next morning to ride the ultra-scenic Buck Mountain trail.  If you haven't been to the Methow Valley, I highly recommend checking it out!!!

Reuben on the podium
Erin on the podium
Reuben Andrews, 2nd, Sport Men 19-34
Erin Roe, 3rd, Sport Women 19-34
Kyle Curtin, 5th, Expert Singlespeed
Lee Peterson, 7th, Expert Singlespeed
John Curtin, 9th, Sport Men 45+
Lito Alamazora, 10th, Sport Men 45+
Nancy Gilbert, 5th, Beginner Women 19+
Theresa Nation, DNF (crash)

post-race campfire

NW Cup #3: Mt. Hood

Jamey Poelker, 2nd, Cat II Men 30-39
Matthieu Denuelle, 4th, Cat II Men 40-49
Rachel Delateur, 7th, Cat II Women Open
Edward Vergara, 18th Cat II Men 30-39

Echo Valley 30/60 Miler

One week after the Bavarian Bike and Brew, a handful of GL6ers once again found themselves on the dry side of the mountains for the second race the NW Epic Series, Echo Valley.  This area is not known too well in mountain bike circles, so not only did none of us know what to expect, but we didn't have anyone to fill us in on the course details.  We pulled into the onsite camping at 11 pm, with the surrounding terrain veiled in darkness, but as the sun rose the next morning, we were treated to some of the views we would see on the course; folding hillsides dotted with pine trees, expansive views of the cascades, and the promise of dry trails.

Lee sports his hardware and matching farmer tan
The course couldn't have been any more different from it's predecessor, Stottlemeyer; Stotty was full of flat-ish, technical and slippery root sections that snaked dizzily through dense forest, but Echo Valley was dry, smooth, included climbs and descents throughout the course, and the most technical challenges were maintaining traction on the descents and not being distracted by the expansive views.  Such a fast course made it difficult to regulate speed and know when to push or back off; all of us had the desire to push it the entire time.  As a result, I burned out after the first lap and let the woman I was chasing (and ahead of going into lap two) gain a full eight minutes on me, and Kyle decided to get intimate with a tree.  Real intimate.  As I crossed through the lap transition, I him standing on the sidelines with blood in his beard.  Apparently he smacked head first into a tree on one of the descents and was treated to a concussion.  Luckily he was talked out of finishing the race by some of the other passing racers and finally by his own good sense.  The carnage didn't stop there; Lee sliced his leg open on his seemingly blunt pedal while running up a steep loose section and had to go the ER to get stitches.  That didn't stop him from smoking the competition and earning 3rd place in the Men's singlespeed category and 12th place overall out of over 100 racers!

30 Miler Results
Lee Peterson, 3rd, Singlespeed Men, 12th overall
Brian Mitchell, 25th Open Men, 57th overaall
Erin Roe, 12th Open Women, 63rd overall
John Curtin, 26th Masters Men, 88th overall
Michael Scholl, DNF (injury)
Kyle Curtin, DNF (crash)

Oregon Super D Series #1: Hood River

Rachel and Matthew ready to rock the Hood River SD
Rachel on the urban dual slalom course

Rachel Delateur, 14th, Cat I/II Women 35+
Matthiew Denuelle, 5th, Cat II Men 40-49
Edward Vergara, 49th, Cat II Men 30-39
Matthew Seeman, 9th, Cat II Jr. Men 13-18