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.

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