What can I say…they are so rad. They are where I want to be.
These two World Cups were my first two World Cups….I went to Worlds as a junior awhile back- I was in way over my head but it lit a fire inside me and helped drive me to where I am today. I have been wanting to do World Cups for so long but I have been reluctant because they are the real deal and I don’t want to be a filler…I want to be competitive, I have been working really hard and I am pretty confident that I can be up there with those girls consistently in the near future.
This year has been a big year for me in the learning department. Lots of highs and lows.The lows are just temporary but its hard when you put in so much time and love what you are doing so much and make mistakes. Lots of hard learning. But good learning. At first those moments- they hurt so bad, I have definently shed a lot tears this year- but you are supposed to take those moments, study them, learn from them and conquer them. I had high goals for myself going into the World Cups and I think that I have even higher goals for myself after experiencing them for the first time. I am leaving them with so much drive. Racing is so difficult but I think that puzzle is finally starting to come to together for me…trial by error…
I can say straight up I went into Monte Sainte Anne with the wrong mindset. I failed before I even started practice. I let it all get the best of me- nerves, confidence, competitors…I was way too concerned with everything and everyone…so I messed up, big deal. I had like six days between MSA and Bromont to work it all out and I thought I had. I had a fresh and confident head going into Bromont, I felt like the course was made for me. I started practice pinned- I think my first couple laps were probably my fastest laps all weekend.- I just went for it, I was feeling so confident and just having a good time ripping on my bike. As practice progressed I let that self doubt creep right in. I didn’t really realize it at the time but as soon as I let that creep back in, it was pretty much game over. I was still riding well but I wasn’t riding with my usual confidence and I just started to make loads of mistakes- not because I was riding beyond my ability but because I was lacking the confidence. Hesitation means devastation.
lesson learned. the pieces are coming together….
Photo: Rufusdesign www.rufusphoto.com
So National Champs have come and gone.
I hate to write a negative blog and bag on a bike park but I hated Sol Vista. My first impression of the place was ewwwww. There has been so much hype about Sol Vista and I was pretty bummed after I walked the track. All of the attention was put into building three big jumps (more on that later) and they just forgot about the rest of the track…
My impression never changed over the course of the weekend…I mean the scene was good, the pits were great, there were loads of people but in general the place is flat and boring….It is not the kind of park that gets me stoked on riding. At most bike parks you cant keep me off the other bike park trails when practice is over but I had little interest in riding the park at Sol Vista.
As far as racing is concerned, I was definitely out of my element on the race course…it was flat, dusty, straight and jumpy. As much as I hated the place, I learned loads and I am definitely a better rider coming out of it. I got loose in the sand, plowed some rocks, pedaled and redefined my preconceptions about big jumps. I never felt fast the whole weekend…just didn’t feel the mojo. I struggled on the course every day in practice, I just could not get my flow. I tried my best because I think that being a well rounded rider and being able to perform at a high level on any track is so important and even through I didn’t come out on top I am happy with how the weekend went.
So our track was a Pro Only course…the upper bit of the course was sandy with little rocks littered about, there was a sandbox to sandbox step-down (looked like the beach), a sandbox to sandbox hip (the beach again?) and then a little road gap and then it was on to the big jumps. They were the biggest mountain bike jumps on a DH course I have ever seen…fucking massive. Three doubles all in the 40 ft. range. You pedal at them as hard as you can at about 30 mph and just go for it. I have never jumped a jump and had time to be like whoa the landing is a long way away. I was pretty scared of them, I mean I have never jumped doubles that size before. Lots of the boys were struggling with them. Lisa Myklak, the DJ queen, led the way and set the bar for the ladies being the first to jump them. I think It is so crazy how focused I was going into those jumps…100% focused, 100% committed, 100% confident. I don’t know if I have ever been that focused on my bike…especially in a race. . I pedaled harder then I have ever pedaled before…If you crashed on those things…it would not be good. I only hit 2 of the 3 but I was super stoked on it. Only 2 girls hit all 3 (Lisa Myklak and Jackie Harmony) and I think that maybe 3 or 4 girls hit two. The 3rd one was just under 50 feet (with the option to go up to 90 ft…pretty massive!. Yah so the jumps were cool and I think it boosted the level of riding for the women…I don’t think most people thought the women would try and jump them. It was pretty cool to see that progression just in one weekend.
Yah so anyway, in terms of learning it was a great weekend. I managed to squeeze onto the box with a 5th place finish. Considering how slow I felt on the course its not so bad…I knew I wasn’t riding well.
I am in the middle of Nebraska on my way to Quebec for the next two World Cups (Monte Saint Anne and Bromont), so freaking excited. Everyone has been telling me how sick the courses are and how they are totally my style so I am looking forward to it. I am feeling strong, confident and ready to shred…
Congrats to our new DH national champs Aaron Gwin and Melissa Buhl & our new 4X national champs Jill Kintner and Mitch Repletto!
So we rocked up to Colorado Springs in the wee hours of monday morning after a big trek from Santa Cruz through , California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah and finally Colorado. We were having some car troubles on the flats and then we almost didn’t make it over the passes of Colorado…the turbo on the van went bad so getting up those passes was a mission and a half. Anyway, we made it and managed to get a couple of hours of sleep in at the Bangart residence.
Monday was spent hanging at SRAM with Mr. Blackbox i.e. Jon Cancellier. SRAM was pretty cool, pretty sweet to see where all the magic happens. ha. The compound was rad- they even have a makeshift basketball court in the main warehouse.
We spent most of Tuesday trying to fix the van. We drove all around Colorado Springs until we found a place that could fix the Turbo. We were car-less and bikeles so we just spent the better half of a day killing time…the courtesy car dropped us at the most ghetto mall ever, we hit up Barnes and Noble, raced up a concrete support wall, got a boob job and played dodgeball at the dollar store, spun till we (I mean I) could hardly walk at Office Depot, went to the most ghetto moto and pawn shops, lobbed beanbags at baseball board in the dealership and Keene unsuccessfully tried to talk the car salesmen into driving a Corvette.
The afternoon was sick. We went back up to SRAM and met some of the guys for a sweet XC ride at Garden of the Gods. It was a pretty solid climb up a fireroad followed by some sick singletrack and a badass Mexican dinner in Manitou Springs.
So I am embarking on a mega road trip with my friends Mr. Amado Stachensield and Mr. Curtis Keene. Whistler to Seattle, Settle to Santa Cruz. Santa Cruz to Colorado Springs. Colorado Springs to Sol Vista. Sol Vista to Monte Sainte Anne,. Monte Sainte Anne to Bromont. Bromont to Whistler! Mega time…
So we have our regular Phat Wednesday series here in Whistler which is meant to be on a progression of trails, the goal being to ease people into racing who may have never done it before. B-Line is a pretty basic trail for someone to race on when they are just starting out (although we go nuts over it, ha!). Anyway, racing on the easy trails is fun but there is nothing like racing on gnar. Since Phat Wednesdays are all about progression we usually don’t race anything technical to well into the summer. So, in addition to the regular Phat Wednesdays, we now have PhaSt Wednesdays in the mix…PhaSt Wednesdays are all about the gnar and last night was the first ever PhaSt Wednesday! Schleyer to Canadian Open to Detroit Rock! Can I get a hell yah…such a sick trail combo.
Mr. Tyler Morland smoked the boys by like 4 seconds. Kenny Smith was 2nd. Elliot (not sure his last name) was 3rd. Paul “Paulito” Stevens was 4th and Amado Stachenfeld was 5th. There was 80+ guys.
Obviously I started the day on a mission to win but that didn’t quite work out. Oh well. I had a pretty conservative run as I felt good on the course and didn’t feel the need to push it with some big races coming up. Anyway, I caught 2 people and went over the handlebars and was only 1.02 sec off the win. I have no idea what happened in my crash I wasn’t pinned or anything but something just caught me and before I knew it I was on my face with my bike on top of me. When I tried to get up, I fell off this wooden ledge supporting the trail and down the bank. Kinda funny actually. I would have laughed if I saw it. If I knew I was only a second off I would not have dilly-dallyed after my crash and I would have pinned it. Lesson learned. It’s not over till it’s over. I think that is definitely a valuable lesson to learn especially before I head out to National Champs and the World Cups! I mean 2nd sucks but I think that I learned a good lesson last night so I am pretty excited on that.
I have the day off today so I am going to go shred with the boys. It is a gorgeous day….Garbo here I come!
The Question (the local newspaper) contacted me last week after B-Line and they wrote up an article about the first Phat Wednseday of the year. Check it out…. http://www.whistlerquestion.com/article/20090701/WHISTLER02/307019842/-1/WHISTLER9901/phat-wednesdays-back-in-business