Sunday, July 24, 2011


After missing out on the Missoula Pro XCT race this weekend, I decided to race the Padden Pedal, a Northwest classic. Mark Peterson of the WHIMPS always puts on a top notch event and is a super active leader in the mtb community as well.

I knew my form was good, since I was aiming to peak for my Sun Valley-Missoula double header. Other than some soreness from my crash on wednesday, I felt great today. I took the 100 dollar holeshot for the first time ever and lead halfway up the climb until Russell Stevenson came flying around me. I couldn't match the acceleration, but tried to minimize the damage. Patrick Means also came around me and was riding super strong up the climb. Over the top Russ had about a ten second gap ahead of Patrick and me. I lead ahead of Patrick on the descent and started bringing Russ back(definately helps to live in Bham and know the trails). As I closed in on Russ, he clipped a pedal and went down. Turns out he twisted his chain a little in the wreck, causing some shifting issues.

Gotta love the northwest forest! Credit: Jeff McConaughy

Now with some space behind me, I settled into a rhythm. Canadian Ricky Federau caught me on the third lap and put in some really big digs on the climb. I sucked down a clif shot and barely hung on. Fourth lap and I countered his efforts and pulled away. Fifth and sixth laps I was solo, but Ricky and Russ were close enough to make the suffering continue. Ricky came within 30 seconds on the last lap, but I had enough of a gap to hold on for the win.

Padden is notoriously challenging.

I should give props to Ricky for racing so strong, especially considering he had raced the Gearjammer in Squamish the day before! I'm sure it would have been a great 3-way battle, had Russ not had a mechanical. The Noble F4's were out in force today as well. It really is the perfect bike for that course. Lots of flowy, punchy sections with some technical climbing and descending too. So much fun!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Sun Valley Nationals

Having previously spent time riding incredible trails in Sun Valley, Idaho, I was super excited when USA Cycling announced that the town would be hosting the 2011 xc mountain bike nationals.

The cross-country race was incredibly hard. The course designers thought it would be a good idea to send us straight up the ski slope on a loose service road. To say it was steep would be an understatement. I managed to successfully ride the climb only two of the six painful laps. The rest of the course was better, with a long gradual singletrack descent and short flat loop around the village that included a challenging machine-built rock garden.

Looking down the course towards the start/finish area.

The race felt more like survival than racing. I fought hard and finished 27th, one of the last to avoid being pulled as a lapped rider. I knew I was capable of a better result, but sometimes things just don't work out the way you hope.

The super-d event bright and early the next morning turned out to be a lot of fun. I raced downhill as a junior back in the day, but had never raced super-d before. Check out the video to see a lot of the course. I surprised myself and finished 14th in Pro on my standard xc-setup F4. Definitely want to do some more super-d/enduro type events in the future.

Sunday through tuesday after the races, local brothers Matt and Andy Luhn took me on some world-class rides. The riding possibilities in this area are endless. I have never been anywhere else where you can (legally) ride all over the place deep in the heart of rugged mountains.

Pioneer Cabin at 9500 feet.

Wednesday morning I loaded up the honda and hit the road for Missoula, Montana. The drive north was so beautiful!

8701 foot Galena Summit.

Sawtooths above the town of Stanley, Idaho.

My plan for Missoula was to race the weekly wednesday night race series, ride with my buddy Brian on thursday and friday, then race the Pro XCT final race on saturday.

Lots of racers at the weekly beer series!

The weekly race was a ton of fun, but unfortunately I crashed really hard on the wooden fly-over ramp. Turns out I should have pre-ridden a little more and not hit the ramp with that much speed. I wasn't seriously injured, but there was enough damage done that I decided to head back to Washington so I could heal up. The course was such a blast and there were so many people out racing already! Looking forward to coming back next year.