After watching fireworks and spending the evening with my family in Orondo on the Columbia River, I embarked the next day for Sun Valley, Idaho and the USA Cycling XC Mountain Bike Nationals. The Honda was driving poorly, stalling on the hills, so I was feeling a little uneasy as I got myself further away from home. I think it must have just been bad gas from Arco, though, because things improved after I filled up in Oregon. Not the first time I have noticed problems after buying Arco gas...
Matt Luhn, the Sun Valley legend, was incredibly accommodating and let me take over his house for almost a week and a half. It was the perfect basecamp for a mountain bike vacation. Everyday we watched the Tour in HD then rode our bikes around in the mountains.
|Basecamp. The creek was lower this year but also colder.|
|Up the death climb 6 times we went. I was glad to have some passing clouds and shade. |
|Descending the rock waterfall. Photo: MTBMike.com|
|Finished the race off in 22nd place. Hey look, it was over 2 hours! None of that sub 1.5 hour UCI crap.|
Photo: Lori Brazel
|Backside of Baldy, descending Warm Springs. Keep an eye on Aaron Bradford, 3rd from right.|
|Looking back towards Sun Valley, Baldy in far center.|
|Evidence of forest fires is not surprising in such a dry place.|
|Andy, the other Sun Valley legend, pushing up to Mars Ridge. This is granny gear and hike-a-bike country.|
|Mars Ridge. Evening cumulous clouds rolling in.|
|The trusty steed begging for more singletrack.|
|Matt, with 10k+ foot Baker Peak in the background.|
|Warm Springs High Ridge Trail at about 9500 feet elevation.|
|Another one from Warm Springs Ridge. Our bikes went where few bikes go.|
In Missoula I raced the Pro XCT race, part of the national series. It was right up there with the most fun races I have ever done. Hundreds of beer drinking spectators, technical descents, and jumps. It was so much fun. My legs were feeling all the Sun Valley riding though, and I was pretty slow on the climbs. Not my best race, but whatever, I got to hit jumps through tunnels of partying drunk people! Local hero Sam Schultz took the win after winning nationals the week before. Looks like a changing of the guard at the top level of the sport in the US.
|A-line jump. Photo: Myke Hersmeyer|
|Huck yer meat! Photo: Spoken Chain|